Empower. Explore. Play.

Two’s Company: Essential STEM Toys For The Second Year Of Life




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

As a parent, I know how important it is to provide engaging and educational toys for my child. That’s why I’m excited to share with you a list of essential STEM toys for the second year of life.

These toys not only stimulate your child’s senses and promote cognitive development, but they also lay the foundation for future learning in science, technology, engineering, and math.

So, if you’re looking to make playtime both fun and educational, keep reading to discover the perfect toys for your little one’s second year.

Key Takeaways

  • STEM learning toys in the second year of life lay the foundation for future learning in science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • These toys promote curiosity, exploration, problem-solving, and analytical thinking skills.
  • They also enhance creativity, innovation, and prepare children for future careers in STEM fields.
  • Water play toys, interactive puzzles and games, stacking and nesting toys, and role-playing toys are examples of toys that support STEM learning in the second year of life.

Sensory Play Toys



You’ll love the sensory play toys that engage your child’s senses and promote their cognitive development. Sensory exploration is a crucial aspect of your child’s growth during their second year of life.

These toys provide a variety of tactile sensations, allowing your little one to explore different textures and materials. From squishy balls to textured blocks, these toys offer endless opportunities for your child to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

As they touch, squeeze, and manipulate these toys, they are also enhancing their sensory processing abilities. Sensory play toys not only provide entertainment but also promote brain development by stimulating multiple senses simultaneously.

Now, let’s move on to the next section and discover the wonders of building blocks and their impact on your child’s cognitive abilities.

Building Blocks

When it comes to building blocks, they’re not just for stacking and knocking down. These versatile toys have been found to foster creativity and problem-solving skills in children.

By encouraging them to think critically and find solutions to challenges, building blocks help develop important cognitive abilities.

Additionally, the manipulation of the blocks while building requires hand-eye coordination, enhancing their motor skills and spatial awareness.

Foster Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills

Get ready to watch your little one’s creativity soar as they tackle fun and engaging puzzles and building blocks. Toys that foster imagination and encourage problem-solving activities are essential for the second year of life. These toys not only provide hours of entertainment, but they also help develop crucial cognitive skills.

One great way to stimulate your child’s imagination is through open-ended play. Building blocks, for example, allow children to create their own structures, encouraging creativity and problem-solving. By experimenting with different combinations and designs, kids learn about cause and effect, spatial awareness, and critical thinking.

Another fantastic option is puzzles. These brain teasers challenge children to think logically and find solutions. Puzzles come in various difficulty levels, so you can gradually increase the complexity as your little one’s problem-solving skills improve.

Incorporating these types of toys into your child’s playtime routine will enhance their creativity and problem-solving abilities. Plus, the benefits extend far beyond childhood, setting a solid foundation for future learning and success.

Next, let’s explore how these toys can also enhance hand-eye coordination.

Enhance Hand-Eye Coordination

To improve your child’s hand-eye coordination, encourage them to play with toys that require precise movements, such as stacking rings or throwing and catching a ball. These activities not only provide hours of fun but also help improve motor skills and enhance spatial awareness.

When children engage in activities that involve hand-eye coordination, they learn to coordinate their movements with what they see, developing a crucial skill for many daily tasks. By practicing these precise movements, children strengthen the connection between their eyes and hands, allowing them to perform tasks with greater accuracy and control.

As they grow, their hand-eye coordination will continue to improve, setting a solid foundation for future physical activities and tasks that require fine motor skills.

Now, let’s explore another set of toys that can further enhance your child’s development – shape sorters and puzzles.

Shape Sorters and Puzzles



You’ll love how shape sorters and puzzles can engage your child’s problem-solving skills and fine motor development. Shape sorters are great toys that help little ones learn about shapes, colors, and spatial awareness. As they manipulate the different shapes and fit them into the corresponding holes, they are developing their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving abilities. Puzzles, on the other hand, challenge children to think critically and figure out how different pieces fit together to form a complete picture. They enhance cognitive skills, spatial reasoning, and logical thinking. Here is a table showcasing the benefits of shape sorters and puzzles:

Shape Sorters Puzzles
Develops fine motor skills Enhances problem-solving abilities
Teaches shapes and colors Stimulates cognitive skills
Improves hand-eye coordination Enhances spatial reasoning
Encourages logical thinking Promotes concentration

Now that your child has mastered shape sorters and puzzles, it’s time to explore the world of musical instruments.

Musical Instruments

Now that you’ve explored shape sorters and puzzles, let’s dive into the world of musical instruments. Musical creativity plays a crucial role in a child’s development, and introducing them to different instruments can enhance their cognitive and motor skills.

Here are five instruments that can foster musical creativity and rhythm development in your little one:

  • Mini keyboard: This portable instrument allows your child to explore different sounds and melodies, sparking their curiosity and imagination.

  • Xylophone: The colorful bars of a xylophone help children recognize different pitches and develop hand-eye coordination as they strike the keys.

  • Drum set: A small drum set provides an opportunity for your child to experiment with rhythm, beats, and motor skills while having fun.

  • Maracas: These handheld percussion instruments allow little ones to explore rhythm and develop their fine motor skills.

  • Tambourine: The jingling sounds produced by a tambourine encourage children to keep a steady beat and develop a sense of timing.

Now, let’s move on to the exciting world of magnet sets!

Magnet Sets

Magnet sets can provide hours of educational fun for children. They can explore the principles of magnetism and engage in hands-on experimentation. With magnet exploration, children can learn about the concept of attraction and repulsion. They can also learn how magnets can stick to certain materials like metals.

Magnetic building is another exciting aspect of playing with magnet sets. Children can create structures and shapes using magnetic pieces. This not only stimulates their creativity but also enhances their problem-solving skills.

By experimenting with different combinations of magnets, children can observe how the strength and placement of magnets affect their ability to attract or repel each other. This hands-on experience fosters a deeper understanding of magnetism and encourages critical thinking.

Now, let’s move on to the next section about water play toys. Here, children can further explore the wonders of sensory play.

Water Play Toys

Water play toys are a fantastic way to engage children in sensory exploration and provide them with tactile sensations.

Splashing, pouring, and feeling the water can stimulate their senses and encourage them to explore the world around them.

Additionally, these toys promote cognitive development by allowing children to experiment with cause-and-effect relationships. They learn that pouring water into a container will make it overflow or that squeezing a water toy will make it squirt.

Overall, water play toys offer a fun and educational experience that can support children’s development in multiple areas.

Stimulate Sensory Exploration and Tactile Sensations

Explore various textures and engage your little one’s sense of touch with sensory toys designed to stimulate tactile sensations.

Sensory exploration is a crucial aspect of a child’s development, allowing them to learn about the world around them through their senses. Tactile sensations, in particular, play a significant role in this process.

Here are some sensory toys that can provide an exciting and stimulating experience for your child:

  • Squishy sensory balls: These soft and squishy balls offer a unique tactile experience, allowing your child to squeeze, feel, and explore different textures.

  • Sensory blocks: These blocks come in various shapes, sizes, and textures, encouraging your child to build, stack, and discover different tactile sensations.

  • Textured sensory books: These interactive books feature different textures on each page, inviting your child to touch and feel the various textures as they explore the story.

  • Playdough or clay: Moldable and pliable, playdough and clay offer endless opportunities for sensory exploration, allowing your child to shape, squeeze, and create with their hands.

Promote Cognitive Development and Cause-and-Effect Understanding

To promote cognitive development and cause-and-effect understanding, try incorporating interactive puzzles and games into your child’s playtime routine. These activities engage their minds and encourage problem-solving skills. Here are some examples of interactive toys that can support cognitive development and cause-and-effect understanding:

Toy Name Age Range Description
Shape Sorter 12-18 mos Helps children recognize shapes and colors while enhancing hand-eye coordination and problem-solving abilities.
Busy Board 18-24 mos Features various buttons, switches, and zippers that encourage exploration and fine motor skills.
Magnetic Maze 18-36 mos Allows children to move magnetic pieces through a maze, stimulating critical thinking and hand-eye coordination.

Stacking and Nesting Toys

When it comes to early childhood development, stacking and nesting toys are invaluable tools. These toys help children develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as they carefully maneuver and balance each piece.

Additionally, playing with these toys allows children to learn important concepts of size, order, and balance, as they figure out how to stack the pieces in the correct order to create a stable tower.

Develop Hand-Eye Coordination and Fine Motor Skills

Developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills is crucial during the second year of life. Young children at this stage are beginning to explore and interact with their environment in more complex ways.

One effective way to enhance these skills is through sensory play, such as water play. Engaging in water play allows children to manipulate objects, pour water, and splash around, all of which require hand-eye coordination and the use of fine motor skills. As they grasp and pour water, they are refining their hand-eye coordination and strengthening their hand muscles.

This type of play also provides sensory feedback, further enhancing their overall development. By engaging in sensory play activities like water play, children are laying a solid foundation for their future learning, including the concepts of size, order, and balance.

Learn Concepts of Size, Order, and Balance

Young children in their second year of life can learn concepts of size, order, and balance through engaging in sensory play activities like water play. These activities provide opportunities for them to explore and experiment with different objects and materials, helping them develop an understanding of size comparison and balance.

For example, pouring water from one container to another can teach them about volume and capacity, while stacking blocks can help them understand order and balance. By engaging in these sensory play activities, children are able to use their senses to learn and make connections about the world around them. As they manipulate objects and experiment with different arrangements, they develop their cognitive and physical skills, setting a strong foundation for future learning.

Moving on to the next section, role-playing toys provide another avenue for children to further enhance their cognitive and social development.

Role-Playing Toys

When it comes to role-playing toys, there are two key benefits that I want to highlight: they encourage imaginative play and storytelling, and they help develop social skills and empathy.

Imaginative play is essential for a child’s cognitive and emotional development, as it allows them to explore different scenarios and express their creativity. By pretending to be different characters and engaging in storytelling, children learn to think critically, problem-solve, and communicate effectively.

Additionally, role-playing toys promote social interaction and cooperation, as children often engage in pretend play with others, taking on different roles and learning to understand and empathize with different perspectives.

Encourage Imaginative Play and Storytelling

Let your little one’s imagination run wild with toys that inspire storytelling and imaginative play. Encouraging creativity and imaginative play is crucial for a child’s development. Here are four toys that can help foster this creativity:

  1. Building Blocks: These versatile toys allow children to create their own worlds and stories. By stacking and arranging blocks, they can build anything they imagine.

  2. Dollhouses: Dollhouses provide a platform for children to act out different scenarios and create their own narratives. They can develop characters, role-play, and engage in imaginative play.

  3. Costumes and Dress-Up: Dressing up in costumes allows children to step into different roles and explore different perspectives. It ignites their imagination and encourages them to create their own stories and adventures.

  4. Puppet Theater: Puppet theaters provide a stage for children to bring their stories to life. By manipulating puppets, they can act out their ideas and develop storytelling skills.

Develop Social Skills and Empathy

To enhance your child’s social skills and empathy, encourage them to engage in imaginative play with others. Not only is imaginative play fun, but it also helps children develop problem-solving skills and promotes social interaction.

When children engage in pretend play with their peers, they learn how to take turns, cooperate, and communicate effectively. Through role-playing and pretending, they learn to understand different perspectives and develop empathy towards others.

Imaginative play allows children to explore various social situations and navigate through conflicts, teaching them valuable skills they will carry into their adult lives. By fostering their social skills and empathy through imaginative play, children are better equipped to build meaningful relationships and interact positively with others.

Now, let’s transition to the next section about shape and color recognition toys.

Shape and Color Recognition Toys

You can enhance your toddler’s shape and color recognition skills with these engaging toys.

  • Shape Sorting Cube: This classic toy helps toddlers learn about different shapes and improves their hand-eye coordination as they match the shapes to the corresponding holes. It also introduces the concept of spatial awareness.

  • Colorful Stacking Rings: These rings not only teach colors but also enhance fine motor skills as toddlers stack them in the correct order. They can also practice counting and learn about size differences as they experiment with different combinations.

  • Puzzle Playset: Puzzles with vibrant colors and various shapes help toddlers develop problem-solving skills while improving their shape and color recognition. They learn to identify and match shapes and colors, promoting cognitive development.

By providing these toys to your toddler, you are not only fostering their shape and color recognition but also promoting their overall cognitive development. These skills will serve as a strong foundation for future learning opportunities.

Moving on to stem activity kits…

STEM Activity Kits

STEM activity kits are a great way to introduce children to science, technology, engineering, and math concepts through hands-on exploration and play. These kits provide children with the opportunity to engage in sensory exploration while learning important STEM skills.

With sensory exploration, children can use their senses to observe, touch, and interact with different materials and objects. This helps them develop their fine motor skills, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills.

STEM activity kits often include materials such as building blocks, circuits, magnets, and simple experiments that encourage children to explore and discover new concepts. By engaging in these activities, children are able to foster a love for STEM subjects from an early age, setting them up for success in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of sensory play toys that are suitable for the second year of life?

Sensory balls and stacking rings are great options for sensory play in the second year of life. They provide tactile stimulation, help develop fine motor skills, and encourage exploration and problem-solving.

How can building blocks benefit a child’s development during their second year?

During their second year, building blocks can have a profound impact on a child’s development. They enhance fine motor skills, spatial awareness, problem-solving abilities, and encourage language development through imaginative play and communication with others. Additionally, outdoor play provides numerous benefits for children in their second year, including physical exercise, sensory stimulation, and social interaction with peers.

Are there any specific shape sorters and puzzles that are recommended for children in their second year?

Shape sorters and puzzles are both great options for second year children. Shape sorters help with fine motor skills and cognitive development, while puzzles promote problem-solving and hand-eye coordination. Both provide valuable sensory play experiences.

What are the benefits of introducing musical instruments to a child in their second year of life?

Introducing musical instruments to toddlers has numerous benefits. It enhances cognitive skills, promotes language development, and improves coordination. Incorporating music into daily routines is easy. Sing, dance, and play instruments together for a fun and educational experience.

Are there any magnet sets that are safe for children in their second year and promote STEM learning?

Yes, there are magnet set options for STEM learning that are safe for children in their second year. These toys provide a fun and educational sensory play experience while promoting early science, technology, engineering, and math skills.


In conclusion, these STEM toys for the second year of life are bound to bring boundless benefits!

From sensory play to building blocks, shape sorters to musical instruments, these toys promote cognitive development and fine motor skills.

The magnet sets and stacking toys will surely stimulate young minds, while role-playing toys encourage imagination and social skills.

And let’s not forget the shape and color recognition toys that foster early learning.

So, don’t delay, dive into the world of STEM and watch your little one’s mind soar!

TOMYOU 200 Pieces Building Blocks Kids STEM Toys Educational Discs Sets Interlocking Solid Plastic for Preschool Boys and Girls Aged 3+, Safe Material Creativity

About the author

Latest posts

  • Toy Titans: The Most Sought-After Preschool Toys of the Year

    Toy Titans: The Most Sought-After Preschool Toys of the Year

    As a parent, I’m always on the lookout for the hottest preschool toys that will captivate my child’s imagination and fuel their early learning. Toy Titans: The Most Sought-After Preschool Toys of the Year is an article that highlights the must-have interactive toys, sensory toys, and creative playtime toys that are making waves in the…

    Read more

  • Tactile Triumphs: Unlocking the Benefits of Sensory Toys in Preschools

    Tactile Triumphs: Unlocking the Benefits of Sensory Toys in Preschools

    As a preschool educator, I am constantly searching for innovative ways to enhance my students’ learning experience. And let me tell you, the power of sensory toys in early childhood education is nothing short of remarkable. In this article, we will delve into the world of tactile triumphs and uncover the hidden benefits of incorporating…

    Read more

  • Value Ventures: Where to Find Quality Preschool Toys at a Discount

    Value Ventures: Where to Find Quality Preschool Toys at a Discount

    Looking for quality preschool toys at a discount? Look no further! In this article, I’ll be sharing my top tips and tricks for finding the best deals on preschool toys. From online retailers offering discounted prices to hidden gems like thrift stores and garage sales, I’ve got you covered. Plus, I’ll be sharing how to…

    Read more