Best in STEM 2021

Best in STEM 2021

Meet the toymakers and brands who are lending a helping hand to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Asked to imagine an inventor, most people probably picture alone genius toiling in solitude: Einstein working out physics formulae or Edison in his pat­ent office or Steve Jobs in his garage. But some of the most creative and dedi­cated inventors are surrounded by other—often much younger, smaller—peo­ple. They're educators—a category that includes parents. They're working to raise the next generation of scientists and engineers by providing new ways of learning.

Behind these parents and teachers is an army of tinkerers, toy­makers and entrepreneurs who continue to innovate, providing fun ways for students of all ages to internalize the science, technology, engineering and math skills they will need. And with many of our children being schooled from home these days, it's more important than ever for families to know which resources they can rely on. We're proud that Newsweek partnered with to highlight the toymakers and brands that help strengthen STEM education. We wish a happy and engaging time to all the innovators out there, large and small.

Andrew B. Raupp, Founder & Executive Director at Educational Research™

Click here for more on the STEM Toy Evolution

Under_$20Sassy BabyStacks of CirclesStacking rings has never been more fun with the Stacks of Circles! The center of each ring is the same size, allowing it to be stacked in any direction for frustration-free play. The Stacks of Circles promotes early STEM learning by teaching a child about sorting, size, sequencing and building.0+$9.99
Under_$20Top Secret Toys, LLCDissect-ItDissect-It Frog Lab is the first science toy to use a unique eco-friendly gelatin-like material to simulate the experience of dissection without the use of a real frog.6+$12.99
Under_$20Pix Brix1500 Piece Mixed Color SeriesPix Brix is a revolutionary pixel art puzzle brick that utilizes a unique patented connection system. This simple 1 piece slide + stack system allows the user to create 2d pixel art and 3d builds by connecting vertically, horizontally, and even diagonally. SHOP NOW6+$14.95
Under_$20Moody Goat, Inc.Moody Goat Terrarium KitLet your child discover the beauty of nature by creating their own beautiful terrarium with this all-inclusive craft kit. 6+$14.99
Under_$20SHAmorySHAmorySHAmory is the first and only STEM Authenticated Bitcoin themed card game. Kids and adults will have a blast playing while being exposed to key features that have kept the Bitcoin blockchain secure over the past decade.5+$14.99
Under_$20Home 4UPlay 22 Toy Rocket LauncherKids will have a blast while blasting off with this fantastically fun foam toy rocket launcher. Durably designed and reliably built to withstand endless hours of jumping, stomping and playtime!3+$16.99
Under_$20UGearsSTEM LAB CounterThe «Counter» model registers repetitive actions. It is an integral part of a device called an “Odometer”. The model has three cylinder gears with numbers from 0 to 9 and a Geneva Drive.SHOP NOW8+$19.90
Under_$20BrickMatesStack By Numbers – RocketTHE IDEAL CREATIVE TOY TO DEVELOP IMAGINATION, PROBLEM-SOLVING & MOTOR SKILLS IN KIDS 6 & UP: Fun, educational and helps boys & girls quickly reach age-appropriate milestones such as Cognitive Educational, Emotional & Physical Skills.6+$19.99
Under_$20Smart WallabySTEM Bolts & Nuts Building SetIlluminate a passion for creativity and education with the 101-piece building toys for boys and girls! Kids can let their imaginations soar, discovering and building whatever they can think of!3+$19.99
Under_$20Helio Productions, Inc.Helio Base LED ProjectorHelio is a children’s educational night light projector. Through a series of interchangeable discs, different imagery can be projected on the children’s wall or ceilings as they go to bed.2+$19.99
Under_$20Merge Labs, Inc.Merge CubeThe Merge Cube lets you hold virtual 3D objects, enabling an entirely new way to learn and interact with the digital world.10+$19.99
Under_$30NAVADealAnt Farm Castle 2.0Step into the realm of biology and discover a complex ant society. Fascinating and educational, take your learning to the next level with NAVAdeal Ant Castle.6+$21.99
Under_$30JEM GamesBullseye Math Game 2nd EditionBullseye and Fraction Traction Bullseye 2nd editions are proud members of the Educational Product Line. Jem Games is in the business of creating fun and engaging math games that promote number sense and fluency.7+$22.50
Under_$30Adventerra GamesRecycle RallyAdventerra Games makes sustainable games that through game play teach children and families better strategies for protecting our planet and conserving resources. They make learning about the environment fun!7+$24.95
Under_$30Insect LoreButterfly Garden with VoucherLearn about butterfly metamorphosis with Insect Lore’s award-winning, Butterfly Garden® with Voucher. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this fun, engaging, hands-on educational activity as the kit comes with everything you need to learn and explore the ever-changing life cycle of a butterfly.4+$24.99
Under_$30Dan & DarciLight-up Crystal Growing Kit for KidsChildren are introduced into the magical world of crystals as they mix colorful powders with water and watch them grow in a number of colors, in just days. Once the crystals emerge, the illuminating base puts them on display as a bright, elegant, piece of room decor!SHOP NOW8+$24.99
Under_$30TilebloxTileblox Rainbow 20 PieceDiscover the endless possibilities of Tileblox 20Pc set. With the step-by-step idea sheet, create one-of-a-kind masterpieces! 3+$24.99
Under_$30Lalaboom48 Piece Beads And Accessories In Zipper BagDiscover the educational Lalaboom beads for children from 10 months to 36 months and up! By manipulating the beads, your child will develop new motor skills step by step.0+$24.99
Under_$30Europa, LLCEuropa Kids Outdoor Explorer KitOutdoor explorer gear & activities designed to ignite new adventures as kids engage with nature and the outdoors. Develops observation skills and simple outdoor competencies. 3+$26.90
Under_$30AniBlockAniBlock Puzzle Challenger IIIThe AniBlock Puzzle challenger is a STEM educational game for young children in early developmental stages. We offer a simplistic traditional design with a variety of complex challenges for improving cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, reasoning, creativity, and even empathy with the new AR mode.4+$29.95
Under_$30ClicformersSweet Friends 74 Piece SetClicformers sets are compatible with each other and let you build with endless possibilities! Clicformers is perfect for STEM education and when playtime is over, use the clicking mechanism to simply stack and store.4+$29.99
Under_$30Geomagworld SAGeomag - Mechanics - Magnetic Motion 86 Piece Building SetSee your child build moving mechanisms using Geomag Mechanics Megnetic Motion construction platform that combines the force of magnetism with mechanical construction.7+$29.99
Under_$30Tink Digital, Inc.DoodleMatic / Pixicade Interactive Mobile Game Creating Starter KitDoodleMatic/Pixicade enables kids to explore their creativity and unleash their imagination in new and exciting ways by turning handmade images into playable video games! SHOP NOW5+$29.99
Under_$30Dolce ToysPrimo KangarooThis giant Kangaroo is absolutely perfect for cuddling! Children will delight in creating sounds by using the toy’s squeakers and rattles.0+$29.99
Under_$30Janod ToysHuman Body Educational Puzzle - 100 PiecesFour 39" floor puzzles of different body systems. Puzzle comes with detailed educational cards to learn the different parts of the human body in 12 languages.5+$29.99
Under_$30Creation CrateBluetooth SpeakerSubscribe to Creation Crate and receive hands-on projects that progress in difficulty as you unlock skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow. A fun and educational experience for kids and adults!SHOP NOW12+ starting at $29.99
Under_$50Four Pines Publishing, Inc.Galton BoardThe Galton Board is a 7.5” by 4.5” desktop probability machine. This delightful little device brings to life the statistical concept of normal distribution.SHOP NOW8+$34.95
Under_$50SmartstoyMotorized Ferris WheelYour young engineer will learn real-world STEM applications by building a 3D erector set using wooden pieces, motor, and battery pack. It includes everything needed to build a colorful ride that actually moves.6+$39.95
Under_$50Thames & KosmosOoze Labs Chemistry Station“Grab your beakers and test tubes and set up your special laboratory station for some exciting chemistry experiments. See how much fun chemistry can be as you do slimy, fizzy, colorful, and bubbly experiments.6+$39.95
Under_$50Hand2mindMoving Creations with K’nexExplore the fascinating science of pneumatic (air) & hydraulics (water) using included components. STEM building activities teach engineering and science through activity learning.8+$39.99
Under_$50Pix Perfect, LLCPix Perfect Deluxe Pixel Art KitWhether following a pattern or creating an original design, the Deluxe Pixel Art Kit encourages open-ended creative, hands-on-play with simple counting and problem-solving.6+$39.99
Under_$50Gridopolis Games, LLCGridopolisGridopolis is the all new 3D strategy game and system where up to four players build a board, then jump, capture and win! When the game is over, build a new board and play again, or design your own original game with the Gridopolis Game Design Guide. SHOP NOW8+$39.99
Under_$50Mythic LabSTEM Epic Heroes Collector's EditionSTEM Epic Heroes is a fun, simple, and fast-paced card game for 2-4 players where you team up with the greatest minds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in an epic race to make discoveries.14+$39.99
Under_$50BrackitzPulley 77 Piece SetThe Brackitz Pulley Set is a kid toy that allows you to build complex structures like the Archimedes crane, a moving drawbridge, or a 4-foot flying zip line and more.5+$39.99
Under_$50E-Blox, Inc.Circuit Blox 120 - E-Blox Circuit Board Building Blocks Toys for KidsDiscover how lights, alarms, motors, switches and more work all while building fun projects. Build 120 different projects.8+$39.99
Under_$50MakedoDISCOVERMakedo is a system of tools designed to make cardboard construction safe and easy for kids (and adults!). With 126 reusable pieces in the DISCOVER kit, there are enough parts for multiple makers to collaborate and build costumes, vehicles, forts, creatures and just about anything else with cardboard - hello pile of Amazon boxes!SHOP NOW4+$40.00
Under_$50Power Your FunFun Forts Glow in the Dark 81 Piece Building SetUltimate STEM toy helps kids master basic engineering skills as they build simple to complex fort structures from igloos to rocket ships - if you can imagine it, you can build it!4+$49.99
Under_$50DM Media, Inc.EESpeaks The Entrepreneur GameThe Entrepreneur Game by EESpeaks; the World's 1st and only STEM Authenticated Entrepreneur Board Game. Teaching 21st Century skills in a 21st Century world.12+$49.99
Under_$70Educational InsightsCircuit Explorer Deluxe Base StationThe Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station lets future astronauts build a space station with lights, battery powered rovers, and a voice synthesizer. Learning is twofold as kids learn about construction and circuitry to make the imaginative gadgets turn on and off.6+$59.99
Under_$70Luki LabGujo Adventure Mission Mars RocketGujo Adventure is a STEM authenticated line of building sets that will improve kids' problem-solving skills and narrative abilities, while enjoying a fun-filled play experience. The Mars Rocket is a staggering 2.5 feet tall with multiple levels, including a flight deck to explore, and it delivers huge play while making a statement in any house.SHOP NOW6+$59.99
Under_$70Rubik’s CubeRubik’s Connected CubeRubik’s Connected - The smartest, most innovative version of the Rubik’s Cube is an app-enabled speed Cube that adds so much fun and value to screen time!8+$59.99
Under_$70The Atom Brick, Inc.U-505The Atom Brick U-505 Submarine building set uniquely highlights interior and exterior details of the historic engineering marvel using "mini bricks" that are 3/4 the size of standard building bricks.14+$59.99
Under_$703Doodler3Doodler Start "Learn from Home" Pen SetPerfect for STEM learning, the 3Doodler Start "Learn From Home" Pen Set inspires creativity, design, planning, building, and spatial understanding.6+$59.99
Under_$70Lux BloxLux Blox STEAM Inventor with Accessories Rainbow SetThe Lux Blox STEAM Inventor provides families hours of fun creating models and machines that move, bend and fold, with Lux Blox's patented linking-hinge design.6+$64.99
Under_$70HUEHUE Animation StudioHUE Animation Studio contains everything that you need to create your own stop motion animation videos. For use at home or for school projects, this is a creative and educational pastime that can be enjoyed by the whole family.7+$69.95
Under_$70Turing Tumble, LLCTuring TumbleTuring Tumble is a new type of game where players build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. 8+$69.95
Under_$70Tech Will Save UsArcade CoderThe Arcade Coder is an educational toy that teaches kids aged 6-12 about coding, video games design, creativity, collaborative play and animation. With the Arcade Coder kids learn how games are created, the technology behind them and how to create their very own games.6+$69.99
Under_$70SmartivityChain ReactionBuild the game modules and then trigger a chain reaction. Introduces kids to fundamental STEM concepts like domino effect, force, momentum, gravity, elasticity, and trajectories.5+$69.99
Under_$70Elenco ElectronicsMyHomeBuild a house or tower with real, working circuits and learn how electricity works in your home. Designed to inspire kids of all backgrounds. Your home, your power, know how it works!8+$69.99
Under_$70MagformersMagformers Backyard Adventure 61 PieceClick! Connect Create! With Magformers Backyard Adventure 61Pc Set. Build magnetic houses and invite all your friends to the party! 3+$69.99
Under_$100Oribel Pte LtdCrayon Edition: Triple Fun Set of 3 – VertiPlay STEM Marble RunDiscover a whole new way to play and learn with VertiPlay STEM Marble Run. This educational toy doesn’t take floor space and makes the walls come alive.5+$79.99
Under_$100Toaster Party, Inc.Toaster Pets Cartoons Studio KitThis all-new animation studio will capture imagination and expand creativity. Record your Toaster Pets coming to life, give them a voice, and customize everything to make your story unique!5+$79.99
Under_$100Learning ResourcesBotley 2.0 Meet Botley 2.0 the Coding Robot, the next generation of our award-winning Botley the Coding Robot! Botley 2.0 brings all-new functions to the world of screen-free coding, and is ready to help kids explore coding challenges right out of the box5+$84.99
Under_$100BAKOBABAKOBA PioneerBAKOBA is an award winning Danish educational toy. Made from a durable and safe foam material, the BAKOBA blocks can be turned into anything imaginable, complete with rods and connectors for even more opportunities to be creative.3+$99.99
Under_$100Oregon ScientificOregon Scientific SG268R Smart Globe Adventure ARUse the included smart pen to explore the world or activate the interactive AR features using your smart device with the included app. Take pictures of yourself next to famous landmarks and share it with your friends on social media!5+$99.99
Under_$100KontuSTEM Blocks 50 Piece KitThese magnetic blocks provide fun and playful learning to children of many ages. As your child grows, the blocks support them at the different stages of their cognitive development.SHOP NOW3+$99.99
Over_$100MGA Entertainment, Inc.STEM Jr.™ Wonder Lab™Ignite your preschooler's curiosity through hands-on play with Wonder Lab by Little Tikes. Cultivate curiosity through hands on play with the Wonder Lab, featuring 20 fun experiments, 40+ playful lab sounds and 20 lab accessories!2+$119.99
Over_$100Science ExplorersSTEM@Home Kits 5-packThis hands-on STEM kit by Science Explorers comes full of experiments that you can do on your own with detailed instructions OR by using the included link to pre-recorded videos that guide you through the activities.6+$129.00
Over_$100Modular RoboticsCubelets Discovery SetCubelets® are the world's first robot blocks. A unique blend of hardware and software, Cubelets make it easier than ever to explore robotics, coding, and other big ideas.4+$139.00
Over_$100Unit BricksMini Unit Beams BridgesBuild Multiple Bridges with 1 kit! Unit Bricks has stepped beyond blocks to equip children with the tools they need to build the world they want. The latest in dynamic modelling systems, our NEW Mini Unit Beams Bridge Builder set provides a rich and rewarding STEM environment.8+$139.99
Over_$100ThinkPlay, LTD / MorphunThinkPlay Gears ExtremeBuild more than 70 models and explore fundamental physics and simple machines with ThinkPlay Gears Extreme. Each extra-large tub contains 488 pieces that include gears, chains, pulleys, and complete instructionsSHOP NOW5+$159.99
Over_$100Mimetics, Inc.Jade RobotDesigned for homes and classrooms for everybody who wants to learn more about STEM.  Interesting and engaging girls in STEMDesigned for homes and classrooms for everybody who wants to learn more about STEM.10+$224.95
Over_$100Piper, Inc.Piper Computer KitThe Piper Computer Kit includes everything needed to introduce students to computer science, electronics, and coding. Build your own fully functional computer and explore STEAM through Piper's StoryMode using the Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft, and PiperCode using Google's Blockly.8+$249.00
Over_$100KanoKano PCA Windows laptop and tablet perfect for the living room and classroom. Our Software Studio teaches design, science, coding, and creativity in simple and fun ways.6+$299.00
Over_$100Square Panda, Inc.Square Panda Literacy SystemSquare Panda reinvents reading with technology that transforms screen time into interactive, multisensory learning. The award-winning, research-based learning system guides children on a personalized journey from learning letters to reading independently.2+$49.50 + $17.95/month


Compared to traditional toy award and product evaluation strategies with relatively high pay-to-play approval percentages (95%+), Educational ResearchTM (SER) has taken into consideration 2,311 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-designated products from Q1 2015 - Q3 2020, abiding by its own proprietary 100-point scoring rubric —considered by many of the top brands as the industry standard. Interested parties can submit their items regardless of financial status on an ongoing basis and trust that SER does not financially benefit from the sale of any product bought or sold. The organization has issued its authentication to 68.2% or 1,577 out of 2,311. The top 65 or 4% of those items authenticated (2.8% total) have made this year's Newsweek Best In STEM list.