Hottest Educational Toys of 2019

In children’s education in the 21st century, the biggest buzzword has been “STEM.” That’s an acronym standing for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” and everybody wants kids to pick that educational path. The Western world is transitioning from an industrial economy to an informational one.

What that breaks down to is that blue collar work is going away, because machines can usually do it better, while career fields open up for white collar work, something even the best A.I. is light-years from taking over. Top career recommendations this year include technicians, software developers, and analysts.

So where do these toys fit in? They’re the best kind of toys for a certain kind of kid who would rather let their imagination run wild and build something, rather than just accept a pre-designed toy handed down from an entertainment enterprise. These are the kinds of toys belonging to the next generation’s Elon Musk, Richard Feynman, or Linus Torvalds. Granted, that’s a lofty role model, but there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the top talent, since even if you don’t prove out to be the company founder, you can still ride to success based on being that company’s valued early team-mate.

So visit with us the top toys in the STEM education genre. These are the cool kits which can take you from a science fair to an engineering degree to an anchor position at a Silicon Valley start-up. Why not, it’s how Elon Musk started – and hey, those Tesla Roadsters aren’t going to launch themselves into space!

Avengers Hero Inventor Kit – Kids 8+ Build & Customize Electronic Super Hero Gear

Avengers Hero Inventor Kit - Kids 8+ Build & Customize Electronic Super Hero Gear

$149.95  in stock
3 new from $148.82
26 used from $ 78.04
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • Code your gauntlet to unleash 10 authentic Avengers sound effects or record your own hero battlecry.
  • Includes everything kids need to build and customize an interactive electronic Super hero gauntlet: electronic building blocks, LED Matrix, authentic Marvel sound effects bit, plastic pieces, stickers and battery.
  • Unlock hours and hours of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) learning with over 18 activities for Super hero kids to build, play and code.
  • Creative kids bring their imagination to life by personalizing their interactive Super hero gear with included sticker sheets and household items.
  • No grown-ups necessary: in-app step by step video instructions and troubleshooting guide kids through fun missions like stealth mode, speed Tracker, Super hero voice, and animator creator.

Is there anywhere that Thanos and the Avengers won’t show up lately? We’re waiting for the opera about now. This kit lets you build a custom gauntlet which you can then program, using block-based visual coding, to play custom sounds. Step by step instructions make it easy, and you get to engineer some Marvel Avengers’ fun while you’re at it. No word yet on whether this impresses Mistress Death though.

Anki Cozmo, A Fun, Educational Toy Robot for Kids

Anki Cozmo, A Fun, Educational Toy Robot for Kids

$179.99
$159.00  in stock
18 new from $159.00
3 used from $ 138.57
Free shipping
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as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • Cozmo is a real-life robot like you've only seen in the movies and he's ready to be your loyal sidekick
  • Challenge Cozmo to games or use Explorer Mode to see things from his perspective
  • With a beginner-friendly interface, Cozmo is the perfect educational robot for kids and adults to learn to creatively code
  • Easier than you'd think and tougher than he looks, this toy robot is tested for durability and security
  • Cozmo by Anki requirements: a compatible iOS or Android device and the free Cozmo app

This is the latest thing in build-your-own robot kits. This friendly feller is programmable to loop through simple tasks, and has a drone-cam mode so you can capture video from its point of view. We expect plenty of older siblings will be annoyed when little brother’s spybot surveils their room. Not that we’re planting ideas…

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit – Build a Wand. Learn To Code. Make Magic.

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit – Build a Wand. Learn To Code. Make Magic.

$99.99
$96.43  in stock
10 new from $96.43
1 used from $ 73.76
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • Build a Wand that responds to your movements. Comes with wand parts, PCB with Codeable LED, button, batteries, step-by-step book, stickers, poster, and free Kano app. Tablet not included.
  • Learn to code with 70+ step-by-step creative challenges. Make feathers fly, goblets multiply, fire flow, pumpkins grow, and more.
  • Wave your wand and see instant effects on screen. Create with creatures, sweets, spells, 200+ exclusive sounds, music, and wizarding artefacts.
  • Endless play with Kano world. Remix art, games, and music made by a creative community.
  • No coding experience necessary. Includes Lifetime care and 1 year Warranty. Ages 6+.

STEM career experts are already referred to as “wizards,” so why not apply that metaphor in the most literal way? No invitation to Hogwarts necessary here, this kit lets you program Harry Potter’s wand to direct animations on the computer screen. The wand can be programmed to respond to movements, which are then orchestrated onscreen with the kit’s custom software. Even Dumbledore wants to know where these cool toys were when he was a kid.

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Fun Robot Building Set and Educational Coding Kit for Kids, Award-Winning STEM Learning Toy (847 Pieces)

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Fun Robot Building Set and Educational Coding Kit for Kids, Award-Winning STEM Learning Toy (847 Pieces)

$159.99
$159.95  in stock
7 new from $140.00
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • Who doesn't love robots? Introduce kids to the creative world of coding with the best educational STEM toys to foster their curiosities. Building, learning, and programming robots has never been more fun!
  • Includes 847 LEGO pieces that kids can build and rebuild into 5 cool multifunctional models. The best and most popular robotics toys for 7-12 year old boys and girls who love to tinker and learn about science. Use the latest tech like color, distance and tilt sensors.
  • Construct and code Vernie the Robot to dance, rock out on the Guitar4000, foster Frankie the Cat, interact with the Autobuilder, or explore a new discovery with the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4). The IQ-boosting activities are endless!
  • Award-winning toy and the perfect gift for kids and teenagers. Instructions for all 5 models are included with the free LEGO BOOST app. Download in the Amazon Appstore: amazon.com/dp/B075LL7KGB. Requires 6x AAA 1.5V batteries (not included).
  • Vernie the Robot stands over 10" (27cm) tall, Guitar4000 over 1" (5cm) high, 16" (42cm) long and 5" (15cm) wide, Frankie the Cat over 6" (17cm) tall, AutoBuilder over 10" (27cm) high, M.T.R.4 over 4" (12cm) high, 9" (23cm) long and 5" (14cm) wide.

Lego is a brand name you should have expected to come up in a post like this. Introducing a full-on programmable robot in Lego Boost – build it brick by brick, then program your minion to follow your orders. With any luck, you can get it to self-replicate by ordering another kit and building a copy of itself. Hey, it has hands, tractor treads, and vaguely resembled #5 from the 1980s film Short Circuit.

Piper Computer Kit (2018 Edition) – Teach Kids to Code – STEM Learning Toy with Minecraft: Raspberry Pi

Piper Computer Kit (2018 Edition) - Teach Kids to Code - STEM Learning Toy with Minecraft: Raspberry Pi

$249.00
$199.00  in stock
1 new from $199.00
1 used from $ 195.02
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • D.I.Y. computer-building kit where kids build hardware to work their way through a thrilling Minecraft: Raspberry Pi Edition video game
  • Encourages engineering, design, circuitry, programming, hardware building, motor skills, problem solving, and more
  • Give your young maker a head start on the technology of the 21st century!
  • Build the computer from the inside out and progress through a series of ah-ha momentse
  • Learn about buttons, switches, parallel circuitry, bread-boarding, LED light, outputs, inputs, sound outputs, polarity, and more

Now we’re getting into the more advanced curve! This kit works with a Raspberry PI, the single-board hobbyist computer already established as the world-wide favorite gadget-tinkerer’s toy. And then we bring in Minecraft, certainly one of the most popular video games of all time – and itself also a favorite of STEM-focused playtime. It’s like the intersection of everything great about modern geekery in one place.

Osmo Genius Kit for iPad

Osmo Genius Kit for iPad

$99.99
$79.99  in stock
4 new from $79.99
9 used from $ 56.31
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • Five award-winning games that transform your iPad into a hands-on learning tool
  • Turns core subjects, like math (numbers) and spelling (words), into fearless fun
  • Encourages visual thinking (Tangram), problem solving (Newton), and creative drawing skills (masterpiece)
  • Designed to adjust to kids aged 5-12 skill level. Toy-of-the-year-2015|time-best-inventions-of-2014
  • Genius kit comes with the Osmo iPad base (stand & reflector), game playing pieces (including upper and lower case words tiles) and stackable storage containers. Requires iPad to play.

For the younger grade-school child starting out, who also happens to own an Apple product, this is a software package of games with hands-on toy pieces included. Solve popular puzzles like Tangrams at the direction of the computer.

littleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit – Build, Customize, & Play Your Own Educational & Fun High-Tech Instruments!

littleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit - Build, Customize, & Play Your Own Educational & Fun High-Tech Instruments!

$99.99
$88.02  in stock
7 new from $69.99
4 used from $ 36.05
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • An educational gift for every kid on your holiday list - especially aspiring musicians!
  • What you get: build, customize, and play an electric synth guitar, then transform it into new custom electronic instruments!
  • Hours of in-app play and activities: in-app activities and step-by-step instructions guide kids through building and rocking out to their own electronic instruments.
  • Everything included: from the 9V battery to Tech sensors, keyboard, oscillator, paper templates, stickers, and free inventor app.
  • Hands-on creativity: rockin' activities help kids unleash their creativity by customizing their electronic instruments or leveling up their skills to build their own

If you’ve heard of Guitar Hero, this is a couple notches above that. This is a programmable guitar that comes with software for building and customizing modules to play sounds and effects. Since modern music is mostly done through technology, this actually fits what a sound engineer is likely to be doing this century.

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

$99.95
$63.48  in stock
55 new from $56.49
13 used from $ 37.87
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of February 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Features

  • Now with coding! kids learn how to control electronics with code in 6+ new Block-Based coding missions.
  • Award-winning: winner of 50+ toy awards and gift guides, including creative toy of the year, good housekeeping & ttpm.
  • Missions & challenges: now with 22+ missions in the app so kids can teach their Droid new skills.
  • Customizable: missions help kids get creative, inventing new Droids & giving them personality.
  • Requires Smart device: either iPhone (iOS 10.0 or later) or Android (kitkat 4.4 or later with Bluetooth 4.0 or later and an accelerometer) is required to build and control your Droid. Amazon devices not compatible at this time.

Alright, we probably had you at “own your very own Star Wars R2-D2 droid replica.” We’re not done, though. This is a programmable R2-D2, mobile, following directions from the app on your tablet or phone. The app includes some 22 missions, and then you can go free-style after that. Make it your butler, have it answer the door, have it attend scifi conventions with you. We can’t think of a Star Wars fan, young or old, who doesn’t want this.