All of the museums I've been to have spaces dedicated to babies (Missoula, Montana; Phoenix, Arizona; Mesa, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Ann 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]".
Search the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to find an animal adventure near you. Search here.
Stackadoos are so pick-up-able. Every time I see them in a waiting room they are being used. They stick together beautifully and are easy enough for young children to figure out. These builders offer a unique experience because they can push the boundaries of stacking, shape, balance and gravity. Not to mention the colors and shapes for sorting and matching. The learning opportunities are limitless and grow with the child!
This toy has been loved in our house and coveted by others at the playground. It conveniently packs a rake and shovel onto the sides of the structure. But the real appeal for a preschool engineer is the funnel that feeds water or sand to two subsequent spinning wheels. This tool supports learning about fluid dynamics, volume and circular motion. Plus it is super fun.
Books & Music
Truck Tunes are written by Rob Gardner. They are the first songs with which my son connected. Three volumes of songs are available for you to learn alongside your child.
Jeff and Paige sing about natural and environmental science. Three of their five albums offer stories. Listening to "Mighty Wolf," "Get Outdoors," or "21st Century Superheroes" is like listening to a book on tape/musical. Listeners go on an outdoor adventure with Jeff and Paige and learn about bats, birds and bugs along the way (and more). "Songs from the Trail" and "Rocky Mountain Tunes" are also awesome, and stuffed with STEM info like photosynthesis and energy conservation (turn out the lights).
The third artist that offers STEM music is Brent Holmes. We like Moose Tunes, Bear Tunes, and Sea Tunes. But there are so many more from which to choose! There are good lessons in math and natural science in his songs. Plus some good old-fashioned fun.
Meoow and the Big Box. Here's another book about building and creative energy that will resonate with the youngest engineer. Meoow transforms a cardboard box...and we all know how wonderful an empty box is.
More Gift Ideas
Gear for Outdoor Adventures
STEM Gifts for Babies
STEAM Gifts for Toddlers - One Year Olds
STEAM Gifts for Preschoolers - Three Year Olds