Top 12 Montessori STEM Toys for 4-Year-Olds
- The number of STEM occupations and job opportunities is growing faster than any other. Not only that, but people working in STEM industries are also higher earners.
- STEM teaches creative problem-solving. Why is this important? There is simply too much information in today’s education. Furthermore, that information quickly becomes out-of-date with new research. It is much more important to be able to understand facts and find solutions using them than simply remembering 1000 different facts about things that are no longer true.
- Finally, introducing STEM-aligned toys at the youngest age can spark children’s interest in technology. That interest can become a hobby at some point, and we all know at least one hobbyist programmer that’s now living their dream. Interests can become hobbies, and hobbies can become full-time careers.
Does Montessori Teach STEM?
Yes, it does. The Montessori method and STEM learning have so much in common. They both focus on real-world, practical skills, problem-solving, and hands-on learning experiences. Both teaching methods encourage experimenting, a trial-and-error approach, as well as combining different fields of study for a better learning experience.
The same stands for Montessori and STEM toys. So, here are some STEM toys for 4-year-olds that also come with a Montessori twist:
These eggs are a great start to learning the basics of geometry. They’ll introduce your child to various shapes and the concept of “fitting together.” Each egg consists of two halves marked with a specific shape and color. Matching them together will help your child learn how different pieces fit or do not fit together. Finally, they’ll practice sorting and stacking. These geometric eggs are one of the most popular choices around.
Montessori Rainbow focuses on two STEM fields specifically. The first one is creativity, with all its shapes and colors. The rainbow arches can be stacked any way your child chooses. They are also great for drawing or tracing. The second STEM focus is on constructing and balancing. The rainbow pieces can be used to build various objects, but they all require your child’s hands to be precise and careful, developing fine motor skills at the same time.
These wooden stones take inspiration from the old Nordic practice of building stone cairns to mark an important location. Little did they know how much stacking irregular objects can help with problem-solving, balancing, and motor skills. That’s why this toy is an excellent tool to help your child boost their dexterity and focus. They’ll also learn colors and experience different textures. This seemingly simple toy can help your child’s development a lot.
Let’s learn about magnetism—no better way to start than with a toy that blends it perfectly into its gameplay. Using a magnetic pen to pull little magnetic balls through the maze will help your child boost various skills. Fine motor, problem-solving, and hand-eye coordination are just some of them. The design of this toy specifically targets children’s precise hand movements and their focus and attention span.
Four years of age is a good moment to start learning some basic algebra. Start with learning numbers and some simple calculus like, “What’s 3 + 2?” or “What’s 9-7”. On top of that, your kid will also learn about geometric shapes and colors. The best thing is that numbers, shapes, and stacking rings align so they have the same number associated with them. For example, just above the number 3, you’ll see a triangle and three stacked rings. Plus, we have added a magnetic fishing game to make learning math a bit more fun.
Tetris is one of those toys we all loved as kids. It was probably one of the first electronic STEM toys. Nowadays, there are so many variants. However, Tetris with a Montessori twist is really something else. There are no batteries or clickable buttons. The game is played by arranging pieces using only our hands and fingers. This blend really puts emphasis on the hands-on learning experience and problem-solving ability.
This DIY kit is a great introduction to tools, engineering, and construction. Your child can use all of the available pieces to build a chair or just some of them to create various designs. It’s great for boosting problem-solving skills and dexterity. They’ll learn how to combine and fit different parts while working with real wooden materials. This is a great example of a STEM and Montessori design blend.
Now we’re getting into some proper engineering territory. This construction set has numerous pieces and tools your child can use to create various objects and designs. This toy might spark your kid’s interest in building and fixing stuff. In a few years, they might start fixing their bikes, and before you know it, they’re working on the next space shuttle going to space.
This toy focuses on three things. Learning about how magnets work, construction, and creativity. Every aspect of this toy is specially designed to help your kid better understand these concepts and further boost their knowledge and problem-solving skills. The best thing about it is they’ll learn all of it through play, hands-on experience, and a trial-and-error approach. As a bonus, if you order multiple sets, you can combine them all to make even bigger constructions. All parts are interchangeable.
Focus and attention span are the two goals set by this game. Your child can stack and sort pieces however they like or try to replicate designs you set for them. It’s great for developing spatial awareness and fine motor skills. On top of it, the toy is much larger than it seems so that the pieces won’t get lost easily. We have also included a woven bag to keep everything together.
This is where your kid needs to think outside the box to find a solution within the “box.” There are numerous pattern cards that your child needs to replicate while being restrained to movements within the game board. This will really test your child’s problem-solving skills. The great thing about it is that it can be enjoyed by more kids at once.
Finally, the ultimate math learning toy. You know that example when a teacher asks a student, “If you have three apples, and I give you two, how many do you have?” Well, these are the “apples,” or rather monkeys, they’re talking about. This is how math becomes more than just a theory. For example, in order to balance this toy, you either need to put the number “3” on one side and three monkeys on the other side. Or, you can put the number “7” on one side and numbers “3” and “4” on the other. The idea is to showcase how equations work in real scenarios.
If you’re interested in even more toys that combine these two educational methods in one way or the other, then check out our selection of Montessori toys for 4 year olds.
Are Puzzles a STEM Activity?
They absolutely are. Puzzles focus on geometry, spatial awareness, and especially problem-solving. They teach children to pay attention to the bigger picture and help kids develop perseverance, which is an extremely useful trait to have. You can find a great selection of Montessori problem-solving puzzles that align perfectly with STEM philosophy. You’ll also learn how to pick a perfect puzzle and what other benefits puzzles bring.
Lastly, once you have chosen which toys suit you and your child perfectly, you need to think about what’s the best approach to utilize them. Simply allowing your child to play with every single toy they have at the same time won’t do the trick.
Just like in science, technology, engineering, and math, there needs to be balance and order in your child’s playtime as well. That’s why toy rotation is such a great way to achieve that. You’ll allow your child to focus on one task at a time and also help yourself keep your living space clean.
STEM and Montessori work great together. Whichever method you choose, you won’t have to worry you’re missing out on the other one. Their core is problem-solving and practical life skills. Letting your child experience any of them, even better if it’s both together, will set them up for the future.
The best way to see if these approaches fit your child is to start with toys that will serve as an introduction. Once you see that your kid likes them, you can start looking for some kindergartens that incorporate these teaching methods.
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