In anticipation of our jam packed traveling schedule next year, I started dabbling into homeschooling. Once or twice a week, CJ would skip school and we would take the classroom outside. It’s been so easy with this fabulous extended summer but now that fall has rolled around, I’m in panic mode on how I’m going to spark curiosity while keep this super active boy entertained indoors.
It’s been a lot of trial and error and I’ve had to hack a few of these to make it age appropriate for a preschooler but here are some cool STEM toys and activities that gets CJ excited about learning…
Have you seen the Operation Smile commercial on TV? It happened to be airing in the background when CJ (at 1.5 years old) pointed and made a bunch of inquisitive sounds. He watched with fascination as I explained that ‘doctors heal people including sick kids’, and since then he’s been saying he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. (Mom can definitely get on board with that haha!) So even though this Human Body Kit is rated for ages 8+, I bought it anyway and he loves it! One time he even sat for 25 mins as I read him the lab guide!
It includes 12 bones that fit together like a puzzle in a clear skeleton shell and 9 squishy organs that feel like gummies. It’s actually a really cool toy that I enjoy playing with as well. Of course, I’m trying to get him to clean up after each ‘operation’ he performs as the pieces are quite small and it’ll really suck to lose an organ! $30
A math teacher introduced me to Blokus. There is just one rule to this game — each piece you play must touch at least one other piece of the same colour, but only at the corners! . CJ is still too young to understand the concept so we created our own rules. He’s big into mazes so we try to make one on the board. Another way to hack it is to see if you can place all 84 piece on the board. The pieces are small so it’s great for fine tuning those fine motor skills and getting little hands to turn the shapes until they fit. $25
We are spending part of the winter in Costa Rica so this National Geographic Kit is a fun way to introduce him to volcanos. It comes with everything you need to create one and make it erupt. It’s a wonderful arts & crafts project too since you have to make the volcano in a mould and paint it. CJ then decorated it with his dinosaur collection (not included). My only complaint about this kit is that the volcano is only 4 inches so the eruption is quite tiny. $13
I didn’t think this Mighty Mind shapes game was going to hold CJ’s attention but he really got into it and can finish anywhere between 8-15 cards in one sitting. There are 30 in this set and they build on each other so I expect that as he starts learning more about geometric shapes, he’ll be able to complete more cards. It’s combat so this is definitely one we are going to bring with us on our travels. $35
When CJ turned two, we received a wooden train set for his birthday that he STILL plays with almost every day! The only other toy that has come close to rivalling Thomas and his friends is this Resources set. It’s endless creativity for budding architects and engineers as they build and stack these 72 abstract pieces that are inspired by real-world natural resources (stones, bricks, metal, wood, sand, water and trees). $35
The Ontario Science Centre is also featuring a hands-on learning space called Inventorium. Mixing art + design with science, technology, engineering and math, we spent a rainy afternoon playing and learning about 3D printing, electricity and magnets, robotics and more.
What other STEM activities or techy products do you recommend for a 3-4 year old?