Friday, November 6, 2015

STEAM Gifts for Preschoolers - Five Year Olds

Five year olds are ready for more. They can play with more of everything from the list of STEAM Gifts for Three Year Olds and STEAM Gifts for Four Year Olds. They play in increasingly interesting ways with "old" materials. They can also work quieter and longer with something like Perplexus. And they can work with more dangerous things like the catapult. Take a peak below and some ideas for some STEAMy experiences and toys for five year olds.


As young children grow, so can their experience of the world. At four years old, I think they are ready to explore national and state parks with their grown up. Consider buying admission to a park near you. By exploring the outdoors together a five year old and his or her grown will be steeped in all things STEAM.

National Parks Pass. Here is the link to learn about and purchase the American the Beautiful National Park Pass. ($80) Not sure if there is a national park near your Preschool Engineer? Search by state on this page:

Junior Rangers Program. The National Parks Service have a great learning program called "Junior Rangers" wherein the child explores and learns about the national park. It is free of charge, easy to do (even my 3yo did it), and a great way to add to the experience of being outdoors.

State Parks Pass. You will have to do some digging to find your state park. Start here: From there you will have to navigate to your state of interest and hunt around. The passes are often called "Passports." For example, this is what I found for purchase in a handful of states: MichiganColorado, and California.

And if you want to supplement your child's outdoor adventure with some gear then check out my post here.


My favorite STEAMy gift is a family pass to a children's museum. A children's museum is a place where children have practically free reign over the space. There are hands-on activities designed with children in mind. The museums offer variety and novelty that are just unreasonable to expect to offer at home.

All of the museums I've been to have spaces dedicated to babies (Missoula, MontanaPhoenix, ArizonaMesa, ArizonaDenver, ColoradoAnn Arbor, Michigan). The best museums have dedicated baby spaces at every exhibit, like the "Baby Zones" at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. Use the search tool at the Association of Children's Museums website to find your local museum, or just Google "children's museum [name of city]".


Consider finding the local zoo for your little person and buying their family a year's pass. You will open their experience of the world to include exotic animals and their care. Search the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to find an animal adventure near you. Search here.



Some of these toys are recommended for six year olds but I'm not sure why. Please use your discretion.

Perplexus. This is a three dimensional puzzle. A small ball rolls around and the child tilts the large ball this way and that way to keep the ball on a track. Everyone in my circle who has received this gift has loved it. It is like a teeny tiny marble run that M.C. Escher designed. You get to play with gravity and shapes in a new and interesting way.


Catapult. In all honesty, I don't have experience with this toy. But man it looks so awesome.  Just imagine all the physics learning with projectile motion, gravity, and technology!


Safari Binoculars. For seeing far away things, closer. Observation is the first step in doing science. And having a new tool for observing interesting things is a wonderful gift.
Backyard Safari Binoculars

Lego Ninjago Flyer. Listed for six year olds and up, this spinning flier will be a great introduction to the world of LEGO Ninjago. Some preschool engineers are so in love with trucks that they will want to pursue LEGO City and all the trucks available in that series. However, if the interest in trucks lies in the fact that they are mechanically interesting, then Ninjago is a wonderful world to discover. The vehicles that you build with LEGOs are like small Rube Goldberg machines with a lot of moving parts, interlocking gears, rubberband sprung motion, and much much more. The books that accompany the series are pretty good, too...especially the graphic novels.

Ninjago Flyer
Microscope. This microscope is not listed as a toy nor does it have age recommendations. But the price is right and it looks like it gets rave reviews. It is currently on my son's wishlist. When we acquire it I will update this with a brief review.

Beginner's Microscope

More Gift Ideas
Gear for Outdoor Adventures
STEM Gifts for Babies
STEAM Gifts for Toddlers - One Year Olds
STEAM Gifts for Toddlers - Two Year Olds

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