With so many kids spending so much time indoors now, it’s more important than ever to give them toys that will enrich their minds as they play. While shape sorters, LEGO sets, K’Nex, and classic chemistry kits have always been entertaining ways to introduce kids to STEM concepts, there are plenty more options out there that offer truly unique experiences. Each of the toys below is guaranteed to pull a child’s eyes away from their screens and into a new world of thoughtful playtime.

1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank; $15

Fisher-Price/Amazon

Every kid gets a piggy bank eventually, but before they start saving, it helps if they know how to count first. This cute Fisher-Price piggy bank doesn’t just count the 10 colorful coins it comes with, it also has entertaining sounds and songs about counting and colors to stimulate and educate infant and toddler minds. It's suitable for ages 6 months to 3 years.

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2. Take-Apart Dinosaur Toys; $20

VEARMOAD/Amazon

Young kids are fascinated by taking things apart, but you can’t just hand your kid your toolbox and let them go wild. These fun dinosaur toys are a safe and fun way to let your kid practice with screwdrivers and a working drill. It’s a great way to improve their hand-eye coordination while also providing an introduction to basic engineering concepts. This one is aimed at kids ages 3 and up.

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3. Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Clear Colors Set; $45

Magna-Tiles/Amazon

Wooden blocks are ideal for improving hand-eye coordination, but these Magna-Tiles, for kids 3 and up, go far beyond basic building skills by merging math and science principles in a fascinating way thanks to their magnetic sides. This helps introduce concepts of geometry, magnetism, patterns, fractions, and more.

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4. Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Twist; $35

Fisher-Price/Amazon

Think a kid can’t learn about coding just because they can’t read yet? Think again. This Code-a-Pillar can be programmed in over 1000 different configurations with nothing more than the twist of a dial. Children ages 3 to 6 can learn problem-solving and critical thinking as they consider how to change the caterpillar’s path so it will go where they want.

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5. Tech Will Save Us Electro Dough Kit; $18

Technology Will Save Us/Amazon

There’s no denying that preschoolers are fascinated by electricity—though, that’s not generally something you want them to explore on their own. This Electro Dough Kit is a safe solution that also teaches your kids both chemistry and engineering as they make their own electricity-conducting dough with materials from your kitchen. They can then use their new creations to build simple circuits to set off buzzers and lights. This kit is aimed at kids 4 to 10.

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6. Gears! Gears! Gears! Robots in Motion, Robot Toy; $28

Learning Resources/Amazon

If your kiddo is obsessed with all things robots, they’ll be thrilled to get their hands on this set that lets them build all different styles of robotic sidekicks. The 116 pieces in the kit include interlocking gears, wheels, treads, and more that your little one can use to create the figure of their dreams while their minds absorb a variety of engineering concepts. This set is designed for ages 5 to 8.

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7. Soap & Bath Bomb Lab Science Experiment Kit & Lab; $21

Thames & Kosmos/Amazon

It can be hard to get any 6-year-old to take a bath, but this chemistry set might just be the key to making tub time more enjoyable. That’s because it encourages children to use scientific concepts to create their own bath bombs, infused oils, soap, and more, all while also educating them about the biology of human skin. This set is designed for kids 6 and up and contains 10 different experiments to try.

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8. National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit; $10

National Geographic/Amazon

There are dozens of different dinosaur-digging kits on the market, covering every different age group. But this 8-and-up kit by National Geographic gives your aspiring paleontologist the opportunity to dig up three real dinosaur fossils: a dinosaur bone segment, a mosasaur tooth, and even some dino poop, which actually plays a critical role in letting scientists learn more about dinosaur eating habits.

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9. Weird Slime Goo Lab; $21

Wild Science/Amazon

It’s a universal truth that kids love slime, and this Wild! Slime Goo Lab goes a step beyond most sets by letting kids take part in some fascinating experiments to create truly unique slime substances at home. Kids will love the chance to make gross creations like boogers, guts, gizzards, slime balls, blood clots, leech soup, gooey tadpoles, jelly worms, and more. This one is aimed at kids 8 and up who don't mind getting their hands a bit sticky and gross (all in the name of science, of course).

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10. Sillbird STEM 4-in-1 Solar Science Robot kit; $27

Sillibird/Amazon

While the previously mentioned Robots in Motion kit is fun for younger kids interested in robots, eventually children will recognize that a toy’s functionality is more important than its appearance. That’s when you’ll want to introduce the 8-and-up crowd to this Sillbird 4-in-1 Solar Science Robot kit. This one lets them build four different space bots and vehicles that move using either solar or battery power. Aside from engineering, the kit can also educate and interest kids in space exploration.

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11. Clockwork Dreams - Little Red Riding Hood Automaton; $60

Clockwork Dreams/Amazon

Just as your little builder begins to outgrow fairytales, here’s a great way to invoke a little nostalgia for a classic bedtime story. This unique building set teaches kids new construction and engineering concepts as they learn to craft a beautiful automaton from balsa wood without the use of any glue or metal fasteners. Once built, you can turn the gears to make the set spring into action. This set is a bit more advanced, targeting kids 12 and up.

Buy it: Amazon

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