These STEM toys will set kids up for success in their science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. More importantly, they're fun - and best-sellers, according to retailers interviewed by TDmonthly.
*No manufacturer paid to be included in this list. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
Contains over 40 parts. 165 experiments can be completed using the kit, like a spinning lighted fan, a small RC car that moves forward and backward, and more. It stimulates the mind and teaches kids about electrical engineering, gears and rations in a fun and educational way. Awards:2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Debut Award
This gigantic marble run features 103 pieces with 12 marbles. Kids can build their structure any way they like, then drop the marbles and watch them race through the run. — In a May 2013 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that marble runs were one of their best-selling construction toys.
Not only are MENTOS® great to eat, but these amazing candies are loaded with wonder. Learn how to create an enormous geyser by combining MENTOS® with soda. The eruption is amazing—up to 25 feet high—and so is the science just beneath the surface. The Geyser Tube™ allows you to load the candies and safely disperse them into the soda bottle. — When asked about their best selling novelty toys in a September 2011 survey, Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly: "We sell lots of the Geyser Tubes from Be Amazing! Toys." — In a Fall 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Be Amazing was a best-selling brand of science toy.
Grow dozens of dazzling crystals and conduct 15 illuminating experiments with this classic science kit. Experiment with four chemically different crystals each with different properties, including potassium alum crystals that form regular octahedrons, rapidly growing sodium sulfate crystals, long needle-shaped sodium acetate crystals, and plaster which is made from gypsum crystals. Mold fun plaster shapes and mix the dyes to grow a rainbow of custom colored crystals. Measure how the crystallization of solids out of a solution, and the dissolution of crystals back into solution, affect the temperature of the solution. Learn about the energy of crystallization. Investigate solutions, crystallization, and the chemistry of crystal growing. Learn about the structures and geometries of different crystal shapes. This kit is thoroughly tested and safe: Over one million units of this kit have sold worldwide. A full-color, 32-page experiment manual guides your experiments in crystal chemistry and Earth science. Launch date: Summer 2012. — Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that kits from Thames & Kosmos are one of their top-2 bestselling educational products. They sell dozens each month. — Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthlyin a March 2014 survey that crystal growing kits were a best-selling products.
Turn this plastic mason-style jar into your own little habitat with real plants and tiny figurines. Set includes a 5” h x 3 ¼” w jar, decorative lid, potting mix, organic chia and wheat grass seeds, garden figurines, decorative sand, river stones and a plant mister. Add dimension to your garden with translucent and glow-in-the-dark stickers – hold it up to the light and watch the fireflies glow. — In a September 2014 survey, three out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that this product was one of their top-two best-selling science & nature toys. — Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in October 2014 that this was one of her store's best-selling jewelry and accessories item. Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award
Snap Circuits allow children to create electronic projects including AM and FM radios, digital voice recorders, burglar alarms, doorbells and more. All pieces are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. This Pro version contains over 75 parts and an illustrated manual for building over 500 experiments. The set uses four AA batteries. — In late summer 2010, six of 43 retailers named Snap Circuits a science and nature best seller. — In August 2010, Jim and Retha Davis, owners of Kid’s Center in Tucson, Ariz., told TDmonthly their store sells “about 100 (Snap Circuits) a month.” — In a late Summer 2012 survey, four out of 12 retailers said that Elenco was one of their best selling Science & Nature toy brands.
Using this science kit, kids will learn the secret of the Giant Test Tube and how to make Touchable Bubbles that don’t pop. They can make a super bouncing ball and 20’ of gooey, slimy worms. Almost everything kids need comes in one clear vinyl bag for easy clean-up. — In a September 2011 survey, Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Brynn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly, "Be Amazing’s Lab in a Bag (any one) does very well here. They have great experiments included and are a good 'birthday present' price." — In a Fall 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Lab in a Bag was one of their best-selling science toys.
Build a fantastic marble run with this brilliantly colored 30 – piece set. Watch the marbles spiral and hop down the various pieces of track. The Marble Run Deluxe is made of PlanWood, a sustainable material made from recycled sawdust. — In a February 2014 survey, Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine, told TDmonthly that Marble Runs were one of their best-selling wooden toys.
Geeks in space! Explore what it would take to set up an extraterrestrial farm on another planet. Experiment with a nutrient gel to grow garden cress in hydroponic tubes without soil. In the greenhouse dome, grow the alien-like succulent Tiger’s Jaws (Faucaria tigrina). Find out what plants need in order to grow and how those things might be provided on another world. Geekstronaut figures tend to your space farm while it grows.
Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author