If I’m going to buy a new toy for my 2-year-old, I want it to be educational. I’m looking for something that’ll stimulate his brain and help him reach developmental milestones.
STEM toys fit what I’m looking for as they introduce 2-year-olds to science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.
The best part? My kiddos have NO idea they’re learning because playing with STEM toys is so much fun.
If you’re ready to keep your toddler engaged and teach important skills at the same time, read on to learn about the 25 best STEM toys for 2-year-olds in 2023. There are some new toys I didn’t know about with my first kiddo; toy companies are seriously raising the bar!
What Are STEM Toys?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. According to Southern Illinois University, STEM toys provide “hands-on, problem-based learning.”
A toy that falls under the STEM category doesn’t have to address all four categories – it can focus on just one of these subjects, but it also doesn’t have to feel that complicated.
Here’s what the Administration for Children & Families says about STEM learning for toddlers:
“STEM can refer to the subjects individually or one or more working together, but can also mean a way of doing things that includes solving problems, asking questions, and exploring the world around us.”
Your toddler will start to understand concepts and build on skills that support getting ready for a school setting. Plus, it’s just such a good feeling knowing that when your 2-year-old is stacking blocks, they’re actually soaking up so much education!
Toys in the STEM category can introduce kids to early science concepts, such as engineering, hypothesis forming, and hands-on learning (lookin’ at you Magna-Tiles!).
Other toys highlight technological concepts like coding and challenging kids to think sequentially to solve problems (also lookin’ at you, the Computer Engineering for Babies book!).
Toys that encourage number, shape, and pattern recognition offer introductory math skills that kids can use to solve problems.
Ultimately, the goal of STEM toys is to bridge play with learning, giving kids early insight into concepts like problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, and fine motor skill development that can benefit them in preschool, elementary school, and beyond.
Before you start shopping for the best STEM toys for your 2-year-old, here are a few things to think about:
- Your child’s interests: with so many STEM toy options available, you can choose one that suits your child’s interests, whether they love to build and create, read, or solve puzzles.
- Skill development: perhaps your toddler is great at color recognition but could use some help with numbers. Choose STEM toys that meet their current educational needs to develop the necessary skills for preschool and beyond.
- Toy construction: if choosing eco-friendly toys is important to you, you can find many toys on this list that use recyclable, renewable, and child-safe constructions that you’ll love.
The bottom line is you don’t need all 25 of the toys in this guide, so hopefully, these tips will help you pick and choose which STEM toys are best for your little one.
And the ones you don’t buy straight away? Add them to your Christmas wishlist so your family gets you toys you actually want in your home. 😉
Explore this list of STEM toys for 2-year-olds to give your toy collection an update with educational options that your child will enjoy.
Quite possibly one of our favorite toys of all time is Magna-Tiles. These magnetic shapes allow toddlers (and parents, let’s be honest) to use their imaginations to build castles, buildings, vehicles, and so much more while considering spatial and engineering concepts.
Kids can also practice their hand-eye coordination and dexterity as they fit the magnetic tiles together. This is also a great investment if you plan to have multiple kids.
My 11-month-old loves playing with these, and my 4.5-year-old does, too. This is one of those toys that will be a staple in your house for years.
I know it’s expensive, but you really should opt for the larger, 100-piece set as it’s easier to get creative when you have more pieces to work with. We started out with a much smaller set, and it wasn’t as integral in our house until we expanded our collection and our kiddos could really let their imagination go wild.
That said, you can also start out with a smaller set and expand as birthdays and holidays approach.
I also highly recommend the Magna-Tiles storage bin, which has been a godsend for keeping our living room tidy.
2. Lovevery Block Set
I didn’t plan on putting these STEM toys in order of which ones are our favorites, but I guess I’m on a roll, because the Lovevery Block Set is probably our second favorite toy in our home.
We finally just put it in the closet for a break in our toy rotation, but I’m telling you, those have been firmly on our toy shelf since we bought them in May of 2021.
For those that aren’t familiar with the term “toy rotation,” it’s the concept of only displaying a few toys at a time. We aren’t perfect at this, but I try to put 6-7 toys on my child’s toy shelf, and when they stop playing with one and lose interest, I swap in a different toy from our toy closet.
This keeps their playtime fresh and new without my having to constantly buy new toys.
I’ve written a post about 10 reasons why the Lovevery Block Set is worth the price, but here’s the gist: it fosters so much creativity, exploration, and learning. It was made by child development experts and allows kids to categorize, stack, roll, and connect the blocks in many ways (you can even use the wooden storage box to turn the thing into a pull car!).
The age-based activity guide also shows you how to make the most of the set and offers learning opportunities for your 2-year-old.
Plus, the convenient wooden storage box makes cleanup a cinch.
3. Thomas & Friends Wooden Track Set
Another STEM toy we absolutely love in our house is wooden train tracks. We have a mashup of different brands at this point (most will fit together), but the highest quality ones we have are hands-down Thomas & Friends.
If you’re on a budget or want a higher volume of tracks for the price, the next best would be BRIO (in my opinion). Both brands fit together so you can have both (we do).
Here are a few product recs:
- Thomas & Friends Train Track Pack (22 pieces)
- BRIO Train Track Pack (50 pieces)
- Crazy train tracks (these can help you complete your track if you get stuck!)
- Thomas & Friends trains (all of the different trains are on this listing)
- Thomas & Friends Tidmouth Sheds (train station)
- Thomas & Friends Brendam Docks (life & load cargo accessory)
- BRIO Lifting Bridge
- Wooden Train Table (this is the brand we have, and it’s solid wood and very sturdy. I shopped around for hours and this is the highest quality option on the market.)
Note: Make sure to get the wooden tracks and not the plastic ones!
A box of train tracks, a few accessories, and a few trains will keep your 2-year-old busy for hours. It’s also kind of fun for parents and grandparents, too.
Figuring out how to design a train track that closes up neatly is a challenge, and 2-year-olds love it when their family gets on their level and plays with them!
This hands-on toy is sure to challenge your child’s imagination and creativity and help them build their fine motor skills as they move the engine around the track.
4. Blockaroo Blocks
If you’re looking for a STEM toy for bath time, Blockaroo Blocks are it! These foam magnetic blocks click together and float, so you can fill the tub with these easy-to-grab blocks.
My kids are obsessed with these, and I have three that span from ages 11 months to 4.5 years old. This is a STEM toy that’ll last a whole lot longer than just age 2!
Not only are these foam shapes fun to play with, but they allow your toddler to learn about colors and shapes as they bathe.
Kids can stack them in a variety of designs, challenging their creative thinking and building abilities. Good news for parents: These blocks are dishwasher-safe, allowing you to clean them with ease.
5. Computer Engineering for Babies Book
A showstopper STEM toy that focuses on technology is the Computer Engineering for Babies book.
This book actually teaches babies and toddlers the principles of coding.
With two buttons and an LED, the book explores basic computer logic gates, including NOT, OR, AND, XOR, and a Latch. The book uses light sensors to detect which page is open and change the operands accordingly.
Who would’ve thought you can reasonably expose your little ones to this type of tech, in a way they can truly absorb?!
Hats off to this small business! I reached out and they provided me and my readers with code TWOMAMABEARS for 10% off. Doesn’t get better than that.
6. Lovevery Drip Drop Cups
Lovevery sells some of their standalone toys at Target, which is super convenient if you don’t want to subscribe to the full-blown play kits.
Out of the options they have, I highly recommend the Drip Drop Cups. These are one of our most-used and loved Lovevery toys. They are constantly in our toy rotation because they provide so many ways to play.
You can use them in the bathtub, you can stack them, nest them, pour from one to the other, do some color sorting with objects inside the cups… the possibilities are endless.
When stacking, your 2-year-old can develop balance and logic skills. Nesting, pouring, and containing the water in the cups lets kids learn about sizes, shapes, and what fits into what.
7. Find and Match Eggs
These Find and Match eggs mesmerize my kids every time we put them into the toy rotation.
Warning: you may have to hunt down egg halves in your spare time. (My daughter is a hoarder and will hide them all over the house.)
But seriously, this unique shape-matching toy allows your 2-year-old to practice shape and color recognition. She can build her fine motor skills as she learns to open each egg and identify the shape and color inside.
She can also move eggs in and out of the included carton, allowing her to practice counting, addition, and subtraction. This toy rocks, and even though it’s plastic, I still love it and recommend it wholeheartedly!
8. Kinetic Sand and Sandbox
Ahhh, kinetic sand.
You either love it or you hate it, but one thing’s for sure: it’s so interesting to play with. This sand is coated with poly(dimethylsiloxane), which gives it this super unique texture. The sand sticks to itself for super easy cleanup – it doesn’t create the massive mess of typical sand.
As an adult, I can sit there with my kids and play with the kinetic sand, too; it’s so relaxing!
It doesn’t get the kids’ hands messy, and it’s totally open-ended, allowing kids to get creative with imaginative play.
This set comes with sand-raking tools and molds, which challenge toddlers’ abilities to use their hands.
I honestly recommend getting the kinetic sand that isn’t dyed in fun colors, because the blue one (and I imagine other colors, too) will stain your kiddo’s hands.
9. Clixo Play Pack
So this is a STEM toy we don’t have yet, but it’s firmly on our Christmas wishlist for the future! Clixo makes these really uniquely-shaped pieces that can fit together to build a variety of 3D shapes.
The Clixo Designer Pack delivers plenty of tactile fun for curious 2-year-olds. It’s marketed for all ages, so this is another toy that’ll stick around and grow with your family.
The pieces are lightweight and easy for little hands to pick up and manipulate. Plus, they stack together for easy storage, something I appreciate more and more as the years go by…
Like other building blocks, the Clixo Play Pack helps toddlers and kids learn early concepts of engineering and develop their hand-eye coordination skills.
10. Problem-Solving Set
It’s never too early to start building problem-solving skills, and this set from Monti Kids helps your toddler to learn how to do just that.
The Problem Solving Set is for 28 months and up, and it includes a sequence planning box, peg maze, and fabric winder. Together, these toys let your child develop fine motor skills, learn about cause and effect, and set and achieve goals.
The self-correcting toys provide feedback if your child did something not quite right, which expands their learning and teaches them to keep trying.
I cannot vouch for Monti Kids toys enough – they are the highest quality toys we have in our home. If you want to invest in toys that will be passed down from generation to generation, these are the ones to get. Or, you can sell them when you’re done for around half of what you paid (I have!).
Squigz, made by Fat Brain Toys, is another toy that introduces early STEM concepts to 2-year-olds.
These suction cup pieces come in many shapes and sizes that are easy for little hands to manipulate. Kids can develop early building skills and discover how to problem solve, figuring out the best ways to connect these pieces to construct and create.
These are honestly so fun, and you can also use them in the bath. They’re easy to clean and are open-ended, meaning you can basically do anything your imagination can think up!
12. Marble Run and Art Easel
This Marble Run and Art Easel from KiwiCo is a 2-in-1 toy that offers many opportunities for creativity. The marble run side of the easel includes 35 track pieces and spinners that allow your child to build, use their hands, and develop those fine motor skills.
The other side includes a chalkboard that encourages creation and imagination.
This is such a fun twist on a regular easel, but do note that it’s marketed for ages 3+, though I think it’s perfect for age 2! Just be mindful of the marbles if your little one still likes to put everything in their mouth.
13. Geometry Puzzle
Introduce early math concepts to your toddler with this geometry puzzle from Montessori Services.
It includes six wooden pieces and a double-sided wooden board. You can work with your 2-year-old to identify the shape, name its color, and then place it in the correct space.
On the opposite side of the board, kids can practice combining shapes to make new ones. This puzzle is very similar to the Lovevery one, which we love (though you have to subscribe to the play kits to get it).
14. Bristle Blocks
Bristle Blocks are lightweight and soft, making them a perfect set for toddlers. Plus, they stick together with ease, which means your child can build without any frustration.
These blocks offer endless opportunities to create, challenging your youngster to think critically as they build different structures. The set even includes wheels, which allow kids to move their masterpieces across the floor or table.
If you’re building up a collection of open-ended toys with an emphasis on engineering skills, I’d definitely take a look at Bristle Blocks!
Do note that this doesn’t come with any kind of storage, so I’d recommend adding a storage bin to make sure you don’t go crazy hunting down bristle blocks all over your house.
15. Shape Sorter
This Wooden Story Shape Sorter, available from Maisonette, lets toddlers explore different shapes and use their hands to fit the shapes in the appropriate cutout.
These types of toys have always been so popular with my kids – they love the posting aspect, and the fact that they’re learning about shapes, too? Slam dunk.
Plus, all of the pieces in this set are made with all-natural beeswax, botanical oils, and eco-certified paints, which makes them an environmentally friendly choice for your toy collection.
16. STEM Balancing Scale
This STEM Balancing Scale from Monti Kids allows toddlers to learn about measurement. Kids can balance the wooden blocks on each side of the scale to understand the weight and compare the weights of items.
They can expand their learning even more by adding other toys to the scale to see how much they weigh. You can encourage your child to guess which toys will weigh the most, giving them exposure to some early hypothesis development.
The balancing scale we have in our house is from a Lovevery play kit, but I wanted to link a scale that didn’t require you to purchase an entire set of toys. And Monti Kids toys are the highest quality toys we own, so it’s a great investment.
That said, the Lovevery kit is awesome, and I highly recommend it!
17. “Bathtime Mathtime” Book
Bathtime Mathtime by Danica McKellar lets toddlers develop early math skills, but in a really unique and fun way!
Kids can practice counting and simple addition equations when you read this book with them. It’s a sturdy board book that’s durable and easy for 2-year-olds to hold onto.
You can also see if this book is available at your library.
18. Counting Carrots Game
Build your toddler’s math skills with this Counting Carrots Game. This would be a super cute addition to an Easter basket for your 2-year-old!
Your toddler can practice counting, addition, and subtraction with the numbered carrot rings. This sturdy set is crafted with renewable rubberwood and uses nontoxic, water-based paints.
Plus, it’s just so darn cute!
19. “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” Book
Your little one can learn about pioneers in science highlighted in Chris Farrie’s book, Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?.
A twist on the classic “Brown Bear” books, this story focuses on scientists such as Albert Einstein and Marie Curie and explains how they impacted the world.
20. Little Builder Workbench
The Little Builder Workbench from The Tot makes building fun!
Kids can work with their hands and use various play tools, screws, and nails to build their fine motor skills and develop their hand-eye coordination.
Plus, this workbench will leave your youngster feeling like a real builder, which encourages imaginative play. My son is obsessed with any kind of tools – probably because he sees my husband use them all the time – so this particular STEM toy is on our wishlist, for sure!
21. Woodland Lacing Cards
Challenge your toddler’s dexterity and build their fine motor skills with these woodland lacing cards, available from Maisonette.
Your two-year-old can practice weaving the laces through the holes, which can also boost their hand-eye coordination. The hand-illustrated cards are printed on a sturdy board that’s easy for your little one’s hands to grasp.
This is a particularly great toy to have during car rides, church services, or other times when you just need your little one to be occupied for a bit.
22. Monster Math Scale
The Hape Monster Math Scale toy offers plenty of STEM-based learning and fun. The monster weights are numbered, helping with number identification and forming and solving simple equations.
Kids can use their reasoning skills to determine which monster weighs more and then test their hypothesis using the scale. This toy comes with a convenient storage bag, offering easy clean-up that I certainly appreciate.
Hape brand toys are generally of a higher quality – if this particular toy doesn’t seem right for you, I’d definitely browse their other toys. They have some really good ones!
23. The Toddler’s Science Activity Book
The Toddler’s Science Activity Book by Kailan Carr is packed with 100 educational activities for toddlers and their parents to enjoy together.
For example, kids can learn how to build a rock tower or make DIY play dough. Parents can learn how to incorporate core science concepts through play, with each activity including a list of what skills are being taught.
24. Caterpillar Gear Toy
The colorful Caterpillar Gear Toy by Melissa & Doug includes six interchangeable gears in bright colors that can help your toddler with color recognition.
They can maneuver the gears to work on their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, too. As your child turns the gears, they’ll watch as the caterpillar “crawls” along the wooden base, bringing added fun to this creative toy.
25. Interlocking Blocks
This set of Interlocking Blocks, available from Maisonette, is another great option if you’re shopping for STEM toys for 2-year-olds.
It includes 68 interlocking felt blocks in various shapes and sizes. Kids can build their creative problem-solving skills by figuring out how they can connect the blocks to build.
Plus, this toy is an eco-friendly option — the blocks are made out of recycled water bottles! This is definitely an open-ended STEM toy that’s going on our Christmas list.
These cups come with a digital play guide that offers inspiration for ways to play with them that will entertain and enrich your curious toddler. Highly recommend!
With so many STEM toys for 2-year-olds available, you’re sure to find one that your child loves!
Consider picking up a few options from this list to introduce your toddler to various STEM concepts. Your child won’t even know they’re learning and building their STEM skills because they’ll be too busy having fun with their new toys.
Other articles about toys: