What makes these STEM or STEAM gifts?
Some gifts provide experiences at science-centered places like zoos and aquariums and national or state parks. Each of these places provide education-opportunity-rich environments for children and their adults to learn about animals, habitats, and stewardship, and the tools and processes for caring for those animals. Other places, like children's museums, offer variety and novelty of toys, tools, and activities that parents and school simply cannot provide because of logistics.
Other gifts are toys that invite children to observe, to experiment, and to learn about fundamental science, technology, engineering, art, or math subjects. Novel materials, like baby paper, encourage observation and curiosity. Variety of building materials including magnets, wooden blocks, rubber suction cups, and interlocking "fingers" allows for children to explore technology available. Building with those materials is some of the first engineering a young child will do. Sorting by material, color, shape, size is fundamental science and math.
I do not list chemistry-style toys because those toys and activities usually require a lot of parent involvement. My focus is on toys that help foster independent STEAM learning.
Gear for Outdoor Adventures
STEM Gifts for Babies
STEAM Gifts for Toddlers - One Year Olds
STEAM Gifts for Toddlers - Two Year Olds