10 STEM toys to inspire the next generation of engineers and makers

By Marylou Tousignant for The Washington Post

Do you remember in the movie “Toy Story,” when puffed-up superhero Buzz Lightyear finds out what he really is?

“I’m not a Space Ranger,” he tells Woody sadly. “I’m just a toy. A stupid little insignificant toy.”

“Whoa, hey, wait a minute,” Woody says. “Being a toy is a lot better than being a Space Ranger.”

Woody’s right. Being a real toy is better than being a pretend space character. And Buzz would be thrilled to know that space and science toys are superhot right now.

Microscopes, robots, rockets, marble mazes — these are just a few of the latest STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) recommendations from Stephanie Oppenheim, co-founder of the independent Oppenheim Toy Portfolio ratings group.

If you want to become an engineer, scientist or space explorer, you need to be comfortable with math and science, “and that begins by making STEM fun and engaging,” she says, adding: “We love the new crop of toys that engage kids to learn how to code, rather than passively playing a video game. Learning how circuits work or building with blocks — all are hands-on experiences that build problem-solving skills essential for future advances in science.”

To learn more, read "Top STEM toys are hands-on fun" from The Washington Post.