Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes

I have a confession to make: I was, am, and will always be, a gigantic nerd. Growing up, I loved learning and (at least for the most part) loved school. I think the type of education I received deserves a lot of credit for how much I enjoyed it. I was fortunate to have access to learning programs that held my attention and challenged me while allowing me to learn at my own pace.

I was a Montessori kid from the age of two through sixth grade, so I’m no stranger to hands-on learning, which is especially helpful in STEM fields. Scientists and engineers may spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and writing about their theories, but eventually, they need to test them out.

That’s why STEM toy subscription boxes are such an excellent introduction to STEM for kids (and even kids at heart!) STEM studies are becoming even more critical in our technology-driven world, and STEM toy kits are a fun, hands-on way for kids to learn these concepts. STEM subscription boxes make learning fun, hold children’s interest, and give them the satisfaction of seeing the end result of their project or experiment! Below are my picks for the best STEM toy subscription boxes.

stem toys

Bottom Line Up Front

The right STEM subscription box for your child will depend on their age, interests, and the way that they learn and play, but my favorite is KiwiCo. I like how well-rounded their offerings are—they cover a lot of subjects for all ages. I also like how many of the projects are still useful and fun to play with after you’ve finished putting them together.

What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education emphasizes hands-on learning experiences that foster innovation, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. STEM education aims to prepare children with the knowledge, skills, and mindset needed to address complex real-world challenges and to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven world.

What’s the Difference between STEM and STEAM?

The main difference between STEM and STEAM is the inclusion of the arts (represented by the A in STEAM). Including the arts in STEAM is essential because it enhances creativity and fosters interdisciplinary connections. It’s also an excellent way to introduce kids to the design aspects of traditional STEM practices.

Selection Criteria

In order to even be considered for this list, I made sure boxes met a specific set of criteria:

  1. At least the majority of the projects shipped in a subscription must be in a STEM or STEAM subject.
  2. There had to be some sort of hands-on learning component.
  3. The company had to offer recurring subscriptions for their kits/toys.
  4. The kits had to consider age/developmental level.
  5. Many STEM toy subscriptions aren’t just toys—they’re kits. In other words, you have to build the toy yourself. Since most of these kits are about the journey rather than the product, I focused on the experience of building (or experimenting, or coding) rather than the “toy” you’ll end up with. That said, bonus points were awarded to kits that resulted in a useful, reusable product. (And second-place bonuses to kits that resulted in disposable/consumable products that wouldn’t linger around the house as untouched clutter!)

The Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes

Below are my picks for the best STEM toy subscription boxes.


kiwico Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Month: $23.95 for most boxes
  • Ages: 0 to Adult

KiwiCo offers nine different subscription boxes catering to different age groups and interests. Each box contains one to three themed hands-on projects, along with all the materials and instructions needed to complete them. The projects cover subjects like science, art, engineering, robotics, and biology. You can also purchase standalone kits in their online store.

One of my favorite things about KiwiCo is the variety of subscription lines they offer. It allows kids to seamlessly graduate from one subscription to another as they age or if their interests change. There’s also a short quiz on their website that will help steer you toward the right subscription line if you’re having trouble choosing one. Below are their different subscription lines:

  • Panda Crate (0-36 Months): Panda Crate was designed to nurture a baby’s curiosity and help develop their motor skills. When you sign up for this line, KiwiCo will send you developmentally appropriate toys for their age in months (you enter your due date or the baby’s birthday at sign-up).
  • Koala Crate (Ages 3-4): This line is stocked with hands-on projects, crafts, and building kits for preschool-aged kids.
  • Kiwi Crate (Ages 5-8): This line offers a variety of slightly more complex STEAM projects aimed at slightly older children. It’s the perfect step up if your child has outgrown the Koala Crate.
  • Atlas Crate (Ages 6-11): Atlas Crate is still stocked with STEAM projects, but each box (after the first introductory box) focuses on a different world culture.
  • Yummy Crate (Ages 6-14): The Yummy Crate offers a STEAM-based approach to the science of cooking. Each box contains recipes, kitchen activities, and a shopping list of grocery items you’ll need.
  • Doodle Crate (Ages 9-16): This line focuses on art and creativity-building projects. Despite the name, it’s not limited to drawing projects. Some of the kits include crafting handmade soap and making a succulent garden out of felt.
  • Tinker Crate (Ages 9-14): Tinker Crate is an engineering-heavy line meant to foster children’s problem-solving skills and creativity. This is probably your best bet if you’re looking for the next step up from Kiwi Crate.
  • Maker Crate (Ages 14-100): This crate for older kids focuses more on the creative and artistic side of STEAM rather than engineering or tech. It’s a more craft-focused box.
  • Eureka Crate (Ages 12-100): This is the engineering/STEAM-focused box for older kids. I would consider this the next step after Tinker Crate.

What I like about KiwiCo: I love the variety they offer, and I especially love that a lot of the kits make things that kids will actually use after the project is complete—like a claw game, a pencil sharpener, or a robot piggy bank.


  • They offer subscriptions for all age groups—from infants to teenagers.
  • They have a vast selection of kits available for one-time purchase.
  • You can choose boxes based on different interests.
  • They cover subjects beyond (but adjacent to) those traditionally associated with STEM or STEAM, like cooking and design.


  • Each subscription is really only designed with one child in mind. Kids could probably share, but if you have different-aged siblings with their own individual subscriptions, those projects (and the clutter) might start to add up.
  • While the baseline cost for most subscriptions is on par with a lot of their competitors, some of the projects and toys available in their shop are pretty expensive.


bitsbox Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Month: Starting at $16.95/month for digital, $24.95/month for a physical subscription
  • Ages: 6 to 12

BitsBox focuses specifically on coding, starting at a younger age than many other coding for kids projects. They teach kids to code Javascript/HTML5 through copying and repetition, allowing them to customize their code as they go. I almost didn’t include this one on the list because it’s not a “toy,” per se. Each month, kids receive a box full of about a dozen “projects” to choose from, but each of those projects is just a card directing them to an online coding project.

If we’re thinking of toys as physical objects that kids can play with, this wouldn’t quite make the cut, but I think the STEM philosophy and appeal for kids is there, and in the digital age, not all toys need to be physical. I could wax poetic about the subcategories of video games that kids can play with like toys rather than through like games, but that’s not why we’re here right now.

What I like about BitsBox: It teaches kids how to write real code from a young age.


  • BitsBox makes coding easy to learn for kids as young as six.
  • The project cards are fun and colorful with a lot of variety.
  • No physical “toy” means less clutter!
  • Siblings can each make their own account online, so they can each take a turn with projects.
  • They offer a digital subscription for downloads only. Your kid won’t get a box in the mail each month, but it’s more affordable and more eco-friendly.
  • You can purchase the Everything at Once pack (starting at $299.95) and just get a massive box of projects all in one go rather than a subscription.


  • BitsBox only does coding projects, so there’s no variety of subjects like other subscriptions.
  • If you’re looking for a physical project or toy, this won’t be the right subscription for you.
  • You need a computer to use BitsBox. According to their website, it’s possible to use a tablet, but they recommend a machine with a physical keyboard.

Creation Crate

creation crate Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Month: Starting at $34.99 to $39.99, depending on the kit
  • Ages: 10+

Creation Crate’s monthly subscription boxes focus on electronics, chemistry, and coding for kids. They offer two subscriptions, one that’s tech-focused and one science-focused, plus a one-time, three-project engineering kit. They also sell advanced projects (not made for beginners) for one-time purchase. The advanced projects are all designed to create a functional product, like a digital clock or Bluetooth speaker, that can be used after the kit is finished.

While Creation Crate’s kits (except the Electronics Advanced kits) are meant to be suitable for beginners in the recommended age range, these kits aren’t as beginner-friendly as some of the others on this list—but I think that’s a good thing. Creation Crate is ideal for patient, detail-oriented kids who want to learn more about science and technology. I think that this is a great option for kids who have already expressed an interest in or aptitude for STEM rather than those looking for an introduction to STEM.

What I like about Creation Crate: Creation Crate feels like a more serious subscription for older children who might want to pursue STEM.


  • Their boxes are more advanced than many other STEM subscriptions.
  • This is an excellent option for older kids who may have begun to lose interest in some of the other kits on this list.
  • The kits all use durable, high-quality components. Many of the electronic kits result in a cool object that kids can use around the house.


  • Most Creation Crate subscriptions are recommended for children ten or 12+. They could work for a child around 8 or 9 with a parent’s help, but the projects most likely won’t be suitable for younger children.
  • They don’t offer as wide a variety as some other subscriptions.

Girls Can! Crate

Girls Can Crate Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Month: $27.95 to $29.95, depending on how many months you pre-pay for
  • Ages: 6 to 10

Girls Can! Crate is a monthly subscription box themed around historical women in STEAM. Each box will include information about a woman in STEAM (like Marie Curie or Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut), along with two or three projects related to that woman’s field. While I love that each kit includes a history lesson, many of the activities are less involved than other subscriptions on this list. Girls Can! Crate also has a handful of kits and merch available for one-time sale in their online store.

Girls Can! Crate is an excellent way to inspire girls and teach them about famous women in STEM, but the projects in the kits won’t hone their STEM skills the way some of the other subscriptions on this list might. I think this is a great way to build confidence and introduce girls to STEM concepts and careers, but you might want to consider switching them to a different subscription later on to further expand their skills.

What I like about Girls Can! Crate: Women currently make up around 30% of the STEM workforce. I think this is an awesome way to empower girls and get them excited about STEM and STEAM.


  • Representation matters! I love that they use real women to inspire kids.
  • Kids (and let’s be honest, their parents, too) will get a history lesson in each box alongside their STEAM activities.
  • They offer an option to subscribe to crates for multiple children, which includes double the project materials!


  • There’s nothing that says that boys can’t enjoy—and learn from—this kit, too, but it is very heavily targeted at girls.
  • Some of the projects aren’t as challenging as others on this list.
  • Some kits focus more heavily on the lesson about the historical woman than the actual science, art, or engineering projects in the kit.

Crunch Labs Build Box

crunch labs build box Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Month: $24.95 to $29.95, depending on how many months you pre-pay for
  • Ages: 8 to 12+

The Build Box from Crunch Labs leans heavily on the engineering side of STEM. Each month, you’ll receive a kit to build one toy, along with games and challenges to play with the toy when you’re finished building. I think that Crunch Labs is right up there with KiwiCo and Creation Crate when it comes to kits that result in a functional, reusable toy, so if that’s what you’re looking for, this is a great option.

While most of these subscriptions are about the journey—learning and developing skills while working on the project—I have to say the end products you make with these Crunch Labs Build Boxes are just super fun. The kinetic toys your child will make (like a catapult or compressed air rocket launcher) are more fun to play with than many mass-market toys, and they’ll learn about physics and engineering while playing with them. Plus, they’re made with quality components that will actually last.

Crunch Labs also gets bonus points in my book because it was created by former NASA engineer Mark Rober. I’ve been a fan since I first discovered his extremely entertaining Glitter Bomb vs. Porch Pirates YouTube series. What can I say—the man knows how to make STEM fun!

What I like about Crunch Labs Build Box: I like that the kits are just as fun to use after you’re done building as they are to build. Your child will end up with a toy like a disc launcher, drawing machine, or strobe light that they built themselves.


  • Kits result in surprisingly durable toys that are actually fun to play with.
  • While the resulting toy is durable and made with quality materials, they aren’t so high-quality that you’ll feel the need to keep them around forever if your child loses interest and clutter starts to build.
  • Their kits are as eco-friendly as possible. They mainly use wood for the toy components and package everything in compostable cardboard.


  • They only offer one type of subscription box.
  • They don’t cater to as wide a range of ages as other boxes.
  • They don’t currently have an option to purchase individual boxes.

Green Kid Crafts

green kid craft Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Month: $33.95
  • Ages: 3 to 10+

Green Kid Crafts provides subscriptions to eco-friendly, themed STEAM kits. Many of the boxes lean toward ecological themes, like Green Energy, Arctic Science, and Save Our Oceans. The boxes are packaged using as many sustainable materials as possible, and the company offsets 100% of their carbon emissions. They also plant a tree for every order.

One thing I don’t really love about them is that they only have two different subscriptions: one for ages 3 to 5 and one for 5+. There can be a pretty big gap in a ten-year-old’s interests and abilities vs. a five-year-old. In addition to the subscriptions, you can also buy individual kits in their shop.

What I like about Green Kid Crafts: I love their commitment to the environment and their eco-friendly boxes that teach kids about the planet through STEAM. (My favorite box is the Save the Bees box that has kids create a bee wind chime, engineer a beehive, and plant pollinator-friendly seeds!)


  • Subscription boxes, unfortunately, tend to be wasteful. I love how eco-friendly Green Kid Crafts is.
  • They plant a tree for every box sold.
  • Each box contains four to six themed projects and a STEAM zine.


  • I wish they would offer subscriptions broken down by age a bit more. Most of the 5 to 10+ boxes don’t seem like they’d appeal to a ten-year-old.
  • The boxes run a little craft-heavy, and although they cover STEAM topics, the kits aren’t as engineering- or tech-heavy as some of the others on this list.

The Curiosity Box

curiosity box Best STEM Toy Subscription Boxes
  • Price Per Box: $60 per box (boxes ship every three months)
  • Ages: Adults

Curiosity Box is a STEM toy subscription box that’s really targeted at adults, which I absolutely love. There’s no rule that says that adults have to stop finding learning fun when they hit a certain age, and this is also a great option to keep teenagers who may have outgrown the other boxes on this list interested and engaged. Every three months, you’ll receive a box of science toys, puzzles, books, and gear for adults.

Unlike a lot of the children’s STEM subscription boxes, Curiosity Box is more “toy” heavy rather than “kit” heavy. That’s not to say there won’t be puzzles, projects, and activities in your box, but you’ll also receive already-crafted toys (no assembly required), clothing, and household items.

I don’t have a problem with this, considering the subscription is targeted at adults who may already have an understanding of and interest in STEM. This box is really just for people who think STEM toys are cool. However, if you are looking for something more project-heavy, this might not be the best subscription for you.

What I like about The Curiosity Box: I love that there’s a STEM toy subscription box for adults (and big kids).


  • They develop new boxes every three months, so there’s no risk that you’ll run out of boxes in your subscription.
  • You’ll get a mix of new and classic high-quality science toys aimed at adults.


  • While teenagers interested in STEM will probably love a subscription to Curiosity Box, it’s not really suitable for younger kids.
  • The price per box is more than twice that of many of the children’s boxes on this list, though I don’t personally mind that. I’d rather pay more for adult-quality projects.


Question: When should kids start STEM?

Answer: Children can be exposed to STEM activities and concepts from as early as infancy, with sensory activities and toys that develop motor skills. Preschool-aged children can learn simple engineering principles, fundamental scientific concepts, and early math skills.

Question: Do kids need to have prior knowledge of STEM to use a STEM toy subscription?

Answer: Kids don’t need to have any prior knowledge of STEM before signing up for a subscription to any of these boxes, but pay attention to the recommended ages for each subscription.

Question: Why are STEM toys so expensive?

Answer: STEM toys tend to be more expensive than traditional, mass-produced toys because of how niche they are. Many contain specialized components, like electronics and robotics parts, and most are produced on a smaller scale than other mass-market toys. A lot of extra research and development also goes into making these toys.

Final Thoughts

resourceful kids learning at home by coding robotic cars and electronic circuit board cables in STEM

In my opinion, STEM toys for kids are always a great idea. I’m all for hands-on learning, and I think introducing kids to STEM and STEAM early on is a great way to foster their creativity and problem-solving skills and help prepare them for our technology-driven world.

If you’re searching for the right STEM toy subscription box for your child, the first thing I would consider is their age, then their interests, and finally, their play/learning style. If you’re still having trouble narrowing down the selection above, I would start with KiwiCo simply because of how much variety they offer.

Continue reading:

Latest posts by Lauren Vigdor (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *