The 10 Best STEM Toys for 2-Year-Olds in 2020

Now that your baby has turned 2-year-old, it’s time to make play more productive and educational. What are the best STEM toys for 2-year-olds that both suit their intelligence level and their interests?

“Hey, honey! Look at this book Jennifer has posted on her Instagram. Quantum Physics for babies!” My wife handed me her phone. “Wow, that’s insane! I don’t ever want my infant baby to learn Quantum Physics. They are just babies!” I replied.

Kids nowadays are really lucky! The market has provided so many advanced-level resources for them to learn all the big stuff: coding, bitcoins, blockchain… But really? Are they fortunate or the opposite? To me, these are nothing but gimmicks for parents to feel better and for merchants to capitalize on parents’ lack of knowledge.

I agree that as your kid grows, play should be more educational. I also think that STEM toys for 2-year-olds should be age-appropriate. That’s why I rounded up these 10 best STEM toys for 2-year-olds. They are not only fantastic learning toys for your baby’s development, but wonderful tools to bring happiness.

Read More: 10 Brilliant STEM Toys for Your Curious 1-Year-Old

Top 10 STEM Toys for 2-Year-Olds

10 Awesome STEM Toys for 2-Year-Olds You Don’t Want to Miss

1. STEM Jr. Wonder Lab

STEM Learning

This toy introduces many science-related subjects including Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics. All the accessories such as the eyedropper and lab goggles make the lab toy a real deal to kids. They learn to configure the ball slides, experiment with mixtures of different liquids, and connect circuits to activate lights. With a wide range of activities, this is one of the most comprehensive lab-themed STEM toys for 2-year-olds.

Kids’ Response

This toy is a total hit for all kids who tested it. We actually tested this toy with kids ranging from 2- to 7-years-old. Believe it or not, they all loved it! Little kids are mesmerized when they see the chemical reactions of the mixtures. It has many sounds and phrases to make the play experience more lively and entertaining. Older kids are more creative (sometimes in a bad way). In general, it is the most well-received toy among all kids.

The Good

Loaded with activities and sound effects, this STEM lab makes a fun and engaging toy for kids 2 years and plus. It is an investment that can go the distance for years of play. It also encourages coordination between parents and kids. I love how it comes with the experiment cards to help you get the ball rolling. This is a near-perfect toy to introduce STEM subjects to small kids.

The Bad

The toys is recommended for kids who are 2 years or plus. But it requires assistance from adults for smaller kids. So for your 2-year-old, be prepared to spend time with her and play together. If you want something for your child to play on her own, this may not be the best choice.

VTech Drill and Learn Toolbox Amazon Exclusive

2. Drill and Learn Toolbox

STEM Learning

This toy encourages kids to use their hands. It lays a great foundation for later when your kid is old enough to build stuff using real hand tools. The biggest hit of this toy is that the working drill can screw and unscrew. In addition to the bolts and nuts, this toy also comes with a hammer and a wrench.

Kids’ Response

We are impressed with how popular this toolset is among kids of a wide range of ages, especially those around 2 to 3-years. Because it is simple to use, kids feel confident to approach it and try it out. The working drill gives them a sense of accomplishment. This toy doesn’t need parents’ assistance and can keep kids occupied for a fair amount of time. We noticed though the picture cards did not really appeal to kids.

The Good

Simple to use, straight-forward, and portable, that’s why parents love this toolset so much. It motivates kids to “Do-it-yourself” and invites them to use their hands.

The Bad

The tools and accessories cannot fit inside the box. Therefore, storage is a bit frustrating as you can lose some parts. The tool box itself is not very easy to close for small kids.

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3. 2-in-1 Kids’ Tablet

STEM Learning

Parents know how much kids, even infants, like their parents’ electronic gadgets especially phones and laptops. My then 1-year-old daughter loved to “steal” my cellphone. This tablet is not directly related to any STEM subject but it is a great tool for learning two languages: English and Spanish. This toy is a great substitute for screentime.

Kids’ Response

The response of this toy is mixed. For kids who love it, it has become their favorite. There are kids though who get bored within 5 minutes. The most attractive part to kids is that its realistic look resembles those of their parents’. Tha’s why they feel proud to own one. They take it with them and “work on it” as if they are making some important business documents.

The Good

This kid’s tablet looks realistic and has a clean design. The rounded edges both look neat and are safe for small children. With a detachable keyboard, this toy can be used as a laptop or a tablet. Compact and lightweight (it weighs 2 pounds), it is easy for kids to carry around.

The Bad

I agree with some reviews that this toy has limited activities. Kids love it mostly because of its look. The screen doesn’t respond to the keyboard.

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4. 100 Pieces Building Brick Box

STEM Learning

When it comes to STEM toys, building blocks is a mus-have. Building blocks are remarkable open-ended toys that prompt kids to create things using their imagination. This 100 pieces building block set is incredibly well-received by 2-year-olds. It promotes problem-solving, focus, and imagination. This toy set comes in three shapes and seven colors. If 100 pieces are not enough or your kid loves to build something more elaborate, you have the flexibility to buy the 180 pieces set that comes with more parts such as doors, windows, flags, bridges, and a car.

Kids’ Response

After the initial guidance from parents to demonstrate the possibilities of what this toy can do, kids loved it! The blocks have just the right size for 2-year-olds’ little hands to maneuver. This toy keeps 2-year-old quiet and busy for a long period of time. In addition, many parents mentioned that they actually enjoyed building stuff with their children together.

The Good

Comparing to other building block set that are in the 30 and 50 dollars range, this block set is only 20 dollars and work just as well as the other ones. It is also compatible with other major brands such as Lego Duplo. The size of the blocks is not only easy for small hands, but they also make the structures sturdy and stable so that more advanced constructions are possible.

The Bad

To some, 100 pieces and four shapes may not be enough. Especially if you want to build fancy objects. They do have a 180-pieces set that come with more shapes and colors.

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Park and Learn Deluxe Garage

5. VTech Go! Go! Deluxe Garage

STEM Learning

2-year-old kids love to build things. Due to their age limit, they are not yet ready for advanced building toys. Therefore, guided construction toys are more appropriate as they have instructions to follow. This smart garage toy is great for pretend play. It is easy to assemble and is compatible with most other VTech Go! Go! collections. Loaded with sounds and smart points, this interactive toy teaches your child cause and effect. The tracks have sensors so that they activate different sounds as the cars pass through various gates.

Kids’ Response

There are many brilliantly designed components that make this toy attractive to 2-year-old kids. On top of its bright color and fun sound effects, what kids love the most is the interactive smart points as the car passes through. This toy comes with one vehicle, but you can buy additional cars and characters to make it more fun. The material of the toy and accessories are pretty durable to withstand kids’ abuse.

The Good

This smart garage is compatible with other VTech Go! Go! toys so that you can expand it to something more magnificent. In addition to its versatility, cleaning is also a cinch. I just rinse all parts in cold water and let them air dry. All parts are big and lightweight for 2-year-old to grab yet don’t create choking hazards. All in all, it’s a fun toy to keep your child entertained.

The Bad

Once assembled, this toy is bigger than what we expected. It takes up a good amount of floor space. Another frustration is that small kids occasionally lean on it but the construction is not strong enough to hold their body weight. Therefore, it constantly falls apart. But on the flip side, assembling is fairly easy.

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6. Fire & Rescue Waffle Blocks

STEM Learning

Comparing to small block toys that may be dangerous to 2-year-olds, waffle blocks are a good alternative. This Fire & Rescue Waffle Blocks toy set makes a wonderful open-ended STEM toy for small kids. While your child turns her imagination into creative construction objects, she is also practicing her fine motor skills. The real fire sounds and light-up flame make the play experience more realistic.

Kids’ Response

Kids love waffle blocks as they piece various blocks together and turn them into the building of their imagination. Many kids sit for hours while playing with this toy. Though the theme is fire & rescue, many kids turn the blocks into something more creative, such as houses, roads, containers, so on. They also love to use small characters to play make-believe games and scenarios.

The Good

This toy set comes with a mesh bag for easy storage. It also matches with other waffle blocks so that you can mix and match different toy sets. In terms of quality, these waffle pieces are large and make very sturdy constructions.

The Bad

One common complaint we found is that some pieces can be hard to snap together and separate. Sometimes kids can get frustrated if they are not able to disassemble the parts. You will need to stay nearby to help out when this happens.

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7. SpinAgain Stacking Toy

STEM Learning

At first glance, many parents’ reactions were “What is this? A pole and some gears?” Yep, this toy looks very simple, but once you hand this over to your kiddo, you will be surprised how much they like it. The six gears come in different sizes ranging from small to big. Each piece comes in two colors but you can stack them in a way that two pieces share one color. There are also two types of edges so that you can also stack the gears by the patterns. You kids will learn how to arrange objects by the size or pattern, understand relativity and color range.

Kids’ Response

There is something about this toy that makes kids attracted to it, especially kids from two to four-year-old. As they learn to order the gears either by size, color, or pattern, they practice their cognitive skills and learn to focus. Parents will be happy that this toy keeps their kid quiet and occupied for quite a long time. The interesting thing is that the gears spin in a very satisfying way and even adults can’t help but look as they spin.

The Good

Winning the 2016 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award, this toy is made with coated ABS plastic and is BPA free. It is not only fun for kids to play with but also satisfying for adults to look at. Another benefit is that it doesn’t have any crazy and annoying sound effects. So it is a great choice if you would like a moment of peace at home.

The Bad

Sometimes little kids don’t understand that the pole needs to stand stationary for the spinning to work properly. Since the bottom is not fixed to the floor, the pole can be knocked off or lifted out easily.

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8. Squigz Starter Set

STEM Learning

This Squigz set is another fun and engaging STEM toy by Fat Brain Toys. Though look simple, these small magical pieces are every bit of fun. They can stick to any smooth surface: tables, windows, countertops, floors. If you want to be creative, you can stick it to your forehead or your arms! Kids can also piece them together to make creative objects such as rockets, vehicles, animals. These pieces are flexible so that you can bend your final creation any way you want. It is an amazing toy set for independent play.

Kids’ Response

During our experiments, all kids had a blast playing with this Squigz set! At one point they got so creative that they started sucking these little pieces on their faces, cheeks and knees. They even made a chain and connected three kids together. This toy is fantastic to foster coorporation and team building. In addition, kids made lots of fun objects using these magical pieces. Some of the most creative ones are a necklace, an octopus, and a bridge. The manufacturer recommended this toy for 3 months to 15-years-old kids. We noticed that even bigger kids and adults loved playing with it, too.

The Good

In addition to being BPA-free and latex-free, this toy is a dream to clean because it’s dishwasher safe. Given its ability to stick to any smooth surface, this toy is ideal for road trips, restaurants, of friend visits. They make it extremely easy to keep your child entertained effortlessly. The plastic box comes with it makes storing and organizing easy and quick. If 24 pieces are not enough, you can go with the 50 pieces set.

The Bad

The only drawback is its price. Each piece is approximately 1 dollar. But it’s worth every penny because it brings so much fun to the entire family.

Magnetic Erasable Drawing Pad

9. Magnetic Doodle Board

STEM Learning

Arts are great ways for children to express themselves emotionally. This magnetic doodle board is the easiest and cleanest way for your 2-year-old to practice drawing and writing. In addition to four vibrant colors, the board also has three shapes that your child can use for stamping. You can also use this board to draw and explain things to your kid. One of my favorite ways to use it is to explain math and equations. Comparing to pen and paper, this magnetic board is much safer for small children.

Kids’ Response

During our experiments with kids, we had kids who loved it so much that they even refused to share. Some kids prefer to use it alone while others enjoy working together in a team. It definitely helps reduce their desire to doodle on the wall or furniture.

The Good

The most obvious benefits for parents is how easy, clean, and mass-free it is. On top of that, the board is deisgned with rounded edges and curves to ensure safety. Since it’s completely magnetic, you don’t need to worry about your kids biting or getting chemicals in their mouths. It’s super lightweight so that your kiddo can carry it anywhere they want.

The Bad

Like all magnetic boards, you cannot clean only one spot but the entire vertical line. There are times the slider doesn’t clean all drawings in one shot so that you need to “wipe” it multiple times.

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10. Suction Kupz

STEM Learning

This Suction Kupz toy set is another great open-ended toy from Fat Brain Toys. The cup-shaped design makes the toy as versatile as it is attractive. There are so many ways to play with it: rolling, stacking, and sticking. With the suction cup at the bottom, they can stick to any smooth surface and make creative patterns and shapes. The cups are also made with food-grade material so that your child can drink from it. That’s why it also makes a great toy for pretended play.

Kids’ Response

This toy is wonderful for so many locations and occasions that kids like to bring it everywhere. They play with it in bathtubs, on high chairs, in hotel rooms, in cars… you name it. Some kids use these little cups to make shapes such as square and triangle on glass doors. Some like to pretend that they are drinking from teacups. The greatest benefit is that they help keep kids busy and quiet even for flights and road trips.

The Good

This toy is made of 100% food-safe silicone and it is BPA-free. When kids stack the cups together and if the stacking tower falls, you don’t need to worry about them hurting your child. They are dishwasher safe so that cleaning is a breeze.

The Bad

Like many Fat brain Toys, this toy set is also not cheap. Each piece is around 2 dollars.

How We Select The Best STEM Toys for 2-Year-Olds?

We searched for STEM toys for 2-year-olds across many different online retailers and social media platforms. The evaluation process includes 1) online analysis: analyzing the manufacturer’s description and users’ reviews, 2) experts’ opinion: evaluations by colleagues who work in STEM fields and are also parents, 3) testing: Quality testing by 2-year-old kids, 4) feedback collection: collecting users’ feedback and rank the top 10 winners.

Factors To Consider For The Best STEM Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Is it STEM-related?

As I mentioned in the Ultimate Guide to STEM Toys, kids around 5-years-old and above will benefit the most from STEM toys. Your 2-year-old can only learn so much about STEM-specific knowledge through toys. At this age, STEM toys are to introduce a concept. Therefore, rather than evaluating against the seven factors of what makes a good STEM toy, we are only considering if the toy is related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, or Maths, as well as if it encourages open-ended play.

Is it age-appropriate for 2-year-olds?

The toy must be appropriate to 2-year-old kids given their physical and intellectual abilities. Too advanced toys will only frustrate your kiddo. From a cognitive skills standpoint, your 2-year-old is able to name objects, play make-believe games, say sentences, and think on her own (watch out for her defiant behaviors parents!).

Is it fun?

Being fun and engaging is one of the most important factors when it comes to toys of any age. Sometimes you think something is fun, but they just dismiss it in two seconds. Beware of all the Amazon reviews when it comes to how fun a toy is. My personal experience is that if you rely on that only, you may end up with one toy that you baby really likes, and five toys that she shows absolutely no interest. I know whether something is fun or not can be personal, but there are well-designed toys that are universally loved by 2-year-old kiddos.

Is it safe?

Do these toys contain small objects that can be a choking hazard? Do they contain electrical components that can cause burn and electrical shocks? Are they constructed sturdily to prevent fall injury?… On one hand, you must read the labels and instructions for all toys before you give them to your child, on the other hand, some hidden dangers are not spelled out in the manuals and only experienced users will know. Therefore, we have highlighted the critical ones. You can also read on the Toy Safety Tips by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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