A Mighty Girl's top picks of STEM-themed games for all ages!
"Science is not a boy's game, it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game." — Nichelle Nichols
When a baby drops a block over and over, she's doing what humans do naturally: turning science into a game! Playful experimentation is the first step to a lifetime of STEM learning. As kids get older, however, they can lose that creative spirit and start seeing learning about science and math as a chore, rather than a fun and exciting way to discover the wonders of the universe.
In recent years, game designers have realized that science and math games can be much more engaging than just getting kids to recite trivia and memorize facts and figures. Newer STEM-themed games use clever rule design and colorful components to encourage critical thinking and make learning science and math engaging and fun! Whether someone is a science nut or a reluctant learner, these games are an excellent way to teach new material, solidify understanding, and make learning science and math playful again.
With that in mind, we've put together a collection of our favorite STEM-themed games for kids of all ages. These games explore everything from math concepts to chemical reactions to geology. With so many to choose from, we're confident there's a game here for everyone!
For more of our favorite toys and games to encourage an interest in STEM fields, visit our Science & Math Toy Collection.
Science & Math Games For All Ages
Let kids experiment with sequencing, patterning, sorting, counting, and more with this 75 piece Rainbow Butterfly Garden from Skoolzy! This set comes with 56 butterflies in seven vivid colors. Find them a home with in the matching flower petals to practice counting, sorting, and matching, or lay them out in a pattern using the tongs that help develop fine motor and pre-writing skills. Eight double-sided activity cards and a free e-book provide plenty of suggestions for ways to play with this set.
Develop a multitude of math skills with mini-muffin counters! Different sorting-circle inserts boost color recognition, matching, sorting, counting, and early math skills. Squeezy Tweezers add to the fun and reinforce fine-motor skills. This set includes 1 muffin pan (including 6 muffin cups) with easy-grip rubber handles, 60 mini muffin counters, 1 Squeezy Tweezer, 2 foam dice (1 color cube and 1 number cube), 12 double-sided sorting-circle inserts, and an activity guide.
Even preschoolers can learn programming fundamentals! By using a system similar to the Logo programming language, kids write a program with playing cards so the "turtle mover" can direct their turtle through a maze to claim a jewel. As they progress, mazes get trickier, introducing longer code strings and functions — and, of course, if things don't go as planned, kids will have to debug! This clever game was a hit on Kickstarter, and it'll be a hit with your family too.
The creators of Prime Climb turn their expertise in teaching math to younger learners with Tiny Polka Dot! This box from Math for Love contains components for sixteen different games. They're all easy to learn and playful, but as kids grow, the level of complexity does, too. Kids will start with simple number recognition and counting and move their way up to arithmetic and logic skills. It's a little box with lots of math love inside!
Practice your counting with this fun game featuring an eager little pup! Shelby has buried bones in the sand at the beach and she needs you to help her get them back. Kids flip the spinners to figure out how many bones they get to pick up, but be careful — a seagull could steal some of your bones, or you might get distracted chewing on a flip-flop and miss a turn. Kids use the Shelby Squeezer to pick up their bones, which helps develop their fine motor control and pre-writing skills, too.
Get kids to think on their feet with this interactive talking floor mat! Fast and crazy quiz games make learning math fun. Kids listen to the equation, do the math, and then step on the right answer. The game gets faster as their scores get higher! This mat includes three games with two skill levels that reinforce numbers, counting, addition, and subtraction up to the number 20.
Get them hopping and dancing — and learning the principles of coding — with this fun new game! Kids decorate their own robot hats, then play the role of robots following coded directions. Choose a challenge card, then lay out your path on the 5' by 5' floor mat with direction tiles. Can you get to the finish square before the time runs out? It's the perfect choice to help kids get some energy out while learning about programming skills. For another Future Coders set, check out the Cube Stackers Coding Skills Kit.
It's time to get tracking! With this game from Laurence King Publishing, kids have to match the animal track to its owner. With 25 tracks to match — including a wide variety of animals, from elephants to coyotes to peacocks — kids will have to use their reasoning skills to figure out what kind of animal could create that shape. If you match more pairs than your opponent, you win! Kids will love the colorful animal illustrations in this easy-to-play game.
Learn about edible and medicinal plants in this unique cooperative board game! Players have to connect the icon on the challenge cards with icons on the plant card to move forward on the board — edible plants for hunger, medicinal plants for ailments like sore muscles and fever. Make your way up the mountain to the huckleberry patch and back to Grandma's before time runs out! This beautifully illustrated and educational game, with its "chutes and ladders" play style, is a fun way for kids to learn about the plants around us.
Introduce coding to kids with this fun card game that lets kids "program" a path for another player! Kids set up their program with cards that direct the mover forward, back, left, or right; the process teaches them about sequencing, directionality, and more. Add in a few "wild cards" and let the fun begin! The instructions describe fifteen different variants you can try, but kids can also use the components to come up with their own ways to play.
Reel in your number sense by catching combinations of 10! This game's sea-themed container holds illustrated cards with numbers on the reverse. Players take turns flipping cards to show numbers and shout out "I see 10!" when they see combinations of numbers that together make 10. Collect the most 10s and win! Just beware of the hungry Shark cards — pull one and your whole catch goes back! This fun math skills game is suitable for 2 to 4 players.
Kids love being able to spot the tracks of the animals that passed by, and this fun and educational game can help them identify them all! High quality cards depict animal photography, including both their common and biological names, as well as their tracks. Kids can then play three traditional games with a science-based twist as they remember and match the animals and tracks. Fans of this game can also check out the Science on a Tracking Expedition kit, which kids how to take their knowledge of animal tracks into the great outdoors.
Balance the beans and win — and learn about elementary algebra along the way! With this game from ThinkFun, kids place rows of beans onto the scale, with the goal of balancing it out. Place the red beans to match the challenge on the card and see if you can figure out the solution! As kids progress through the challenges, they'll solve less through trial and error and more through math and reasoning skills. With challenges ranging from Easy to Super Hard, they'll be balancing for hours!
Build your knowledge of geology and our planet with this fun game that doubles as the start of a rock collection! 18 rock specimens are included, along with cards full of interesting facts about rocks, minerals, and gems. Gameplay works like bingo, but several game variants let kids start out with simple identification by appearance to claim a space, and move on to using the information they've learned to fill their card. Plus, kids will love that it all packs into a convenient case so they can take their collection anywhere!
The fun of bingo and the beauty of detailed insect illustrations makes for a great way to learn more about the insects of the world! Sixty-four insect species make appearances in this beautifully illustrated game; identify each bug to fill the spaces on your bingo card and win. An included leaflet provides a few extra interesting facts about each species for budding entomologists.
Math becomes an adventure with this addition and subtraction game that takes kids on a journey through Sum Swamp! They'll make their way over the hilarious pitfalls of the swamp, including the crocodile shortcut and the endless loop. The only way to escape the mire is to add and subtract the numbers on the dice. Two to four players can enjoy this game; for younger kids, it will sharpen beginning math skills, but older kids will play for the fun!
This game that teaches kids about all sorts of different scientific fields is perfect for fans of Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus! The two-sided game board offers two gameplay options: in one, you match game cards to master cards, while in the other, memory and strategy skills come into play. In both, your goal is the same: fill your cup with baking soda so you can drop it in the volcano and make it explode!
This kit is a fossil and rock collection and a learning game all in one! Open up the case and discover 15 fossil specimens, including a trilobite a mosasaur tooth, petrified wood, and more, plus 60 beautiful polished rocks and minerals. Use the identification guide to learn more about your new collection, and then play the paleontology game to strengthen your knowledge. Five levels of play allow everyone from pre-readers to adults to challenge themselves, and everything packs into the case for easy storage or travel.
Avid bird watchers and those who admire the beauty and diversity of birds will love this version of bingo where identification is the key to the game! Sixty-four species, from robins to puffins to kookaburtas, are illustrated in exquisite detail on these bingo cards and tiles. Identify the bird correctly and you can mark off a spot on your card! An included leaflet also includes fun facts about each bird, perfect to let eager young ornithologists learn a little more.
Ideal 4-Way CountDown is a fun and educational game that will challenge your addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills. Each player lays down ten wooden keys on the 4-Way CountDown unit. Roll the dice and convert the two numbers into one by using various methods from the instructions — for example, if you roll a 3 and a 1, you could make it a 4 by adding, 2 by subtracting or 3 by multiplying or dividing — and then flip up the corresponding number key. Be careful though! Roll a double 6 and all of your keys go back down, or roll 11 and all of your opponent's keys go back down. This game for 2 to 4 players includes a wooden game board, 2 dice, a sliding cover, and instructions.
Learn fundamental principles of earth science with this fast-paced game from Professor Noggin! On its surface, this looks like an ordinary trivia game, but a combination of multiple choice, true/false, and trivia questions keep the gameplay style shifting. Strategy elements like Noggin's Choice cards encourage kids to think about how they can end up with the most cards to win. Multiple difficulty levels, including a variant that allows some players to answer easy questions while other players tackle tougher ones, ensure that everyone can have fun playing this game!
Sequence plus numbers equals fun! The cards have equations; the game board has the answers. Each card has an addition or subtraction equation. Match a card to its correct answer on the board, then place your chip there. When you have 5 of your chips in a row, you’ve got a sequence, and you win! Groups of numbers are color-coded to help with number recognition. 2 to 6 players will have a blast with this math-themed board game.
It's all about getting to "one" with this fraction game! Draw a card, find the corresponding fraction piece, and drop it into your cylinder. When you think you're as close to one as you can get without going over, stop! The player who finishes closest to one wins that round. Multilingual instructions provide a guide to playing the game and also include suggestions for using the pieces as exploratory math manipulatives.
Take on the role of a growing coral reef with this game from Plan B Games! In Reef, players take turns selecting the colors and patterns to add to their glorious coral reef with "coral" pieces that you can stack up to four high. The more beautiful you make it, the more points you score! The gameplay is simple, but getting top scores takes some strategic thinking. Easy to learn and tough to master, this game is perfect for family play.
The rules of chemistry are the rules of the game in this cooperative molecule building game! One players knows the identity of several organic molecules that the other players have to work together to build. With the Knower's hints, Builders have to complete all of the molecules before they use up their Clue and Guess cards. With four different levels of play for two to seven players, there's plenty of play potential in this seemingly simple game!
Prepare for your forest excursions with this game that teaches the concept of the food chain! On each plant or animal card in this game you'll find a detailed illustration and a list of what it eats... and what eats it. Play along to reinforce how the food chain works — including the importance of plants and plant energy — and learn the relationships between different life forms in the forest ecosystem. This game for 2 to 6 players comes with info cards, a food web chart, a scoring pad, and instructions.
Kids too young for the lab can learn chemistry concepts like molecule formation, acids and bases, and chemical reactions with this fun game! Kids need to combine elements to create molecules and earn points, but be careful! Some combinations have unexpected results that can set you back. All of the interactions that take place in the game actually exist, so kids will be ready to take their game knowledge into real world science. This version of the game includes 86 linen-finish cards; for an expanded version of the game, with a whopping 166 cards, check out the new Science Ninjas: Valence Plus.
You can have a blast with this creeping, crawling, property trading game! You'll get to buy, sell, and trade your favorite insects (plus a few other creepy-crawly friends who aren't members of the insect family) following either traditional Monopoly rules or a one-hour variant. As you play, you can flip over the deeds for each bug to learn interesting facts. The bug theme even carries over to other aspects of the game: maybe you'll get elected president of the Entomological Society... or you could "bug out" and have to miss turns. It's a game that's crawling with good fun!
This is the chemistry card game where the rules are in Fluxx! Chemistry Fluxx from Looney Labs is a chemistry-themed game with a twist: the rules, and the end goal, are constantly changing. Players have to come up with the right combinations of elements and lab gear to win... but just as they're getting ready, the rules might change again! Along the way, they'll learn how elements interact (and have a whole lot of fun. Fans of the original Fluxx will love this chemical variant.
Work your way through the periodic table with this chemistry-themed card drafting game! Players combine ion cards and noble gas cards to create stable compounds, but think fast: turns are simultaneous, so the action keeps moving. The gameplay mechanic is fun and easy to learn, making this a unique and entertaining way to learn basic chemistry concepts. This version also includes the Radioactive expansion for an intriguing addition to the game.
Learn more about the world's habitats — and how we can protect them — with this board game from Jax. As players follow the stone trail through a variety of different habitats, they'll draw Knowledge Cards, which require them to answer questions about that habitat's ecosystem, and Wisdom and Consequence, which explore environmental hazards and ways to minimize your impact on the planet. Collect two cards from each habitat to become an Earth Steward and win the game!
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Players ad or subtract 1, 2, or 3 to the number on the top card on the pile to determine if they have a card that can be played next. Sounds simple, but with everyone playing simultaneously, the options are constantly changing! The first player out of cards wins. This game for 2 to 4 players takes only minutes to learn and play, making it great for families or as a classroom game.
Sumoku is a unique crossword-style game with numbers that can be played five different ways. Players add up the tiles to multiples of a number shown on the die. Once all the tiles are connected together, it's a sumoku. Five different versions are available in the same bag, which allow for solo play or multiple players. Sumoku teaches number recognition, basic math skills, and color recognition, and the cooperative variants teach working towards a common goal. Packed with endless challenges, Sumoku is pure adding fun.
In this game from Blue Orange, the goal is green energy! Cultivate your trees to take best advantage of the sun... without blocking out the littlest seedlings from the much-needed light. As your trees move through their life cycle, you'll earn points when they catch the light — but since the sun shifts in the sky, the tree that was in a clearing a few turns ago could be in darkness now, so you'll have to think ahead. With exquisite artwork and a unique game mechanic, this game is a unique way to learn about the energy that powers a tree's life cycle.
In What Bird Am I? your bird identification skills will get put to the test! This card game from Outset Media features 300 photographs with spectacular close-up photographs of birds from the continental US and Canada, and a series of five clues about the bird's identity. Your goal is to identify the bird species; the fewer clues you need, the more points you win! Three different levels of play ensure that everyone from budding birders to long-time birdwatching buffs can have hours of fun with this game.
Dive into the daily life of a human cell in Cytosis! In this board game from Genius Games, players take turns putting flasks on available organelles inside the cell; then, they activate the organelle, to either gain macromolecule resources or take actions like completing cell component cards. As the game goes on, resources and space get tight, so think strategically! Everything in this engrossing game mimics actual processes in human cells, teaching cell biology concepts in a clever way. For another biology-themed game from this innovative company, check out Peptide: A Protein Building Game.
With this fun and colorful mathematical board game, players can learn to multiply and divide as they work their way to space 101 at the center of the board. Roll the dice, then add, subtract, multiply, or divide to move ahead — or earn Prime cards and bump your opponents back to the beginning! The first player to get both of their pawns to 101 wins, but along the way, everyone will be building math skills and having a ton of fun. Winner of Dr. Toy's Top 10 Educational Toy Award and a Mom's Choice Gold Seal, this beautifully designed game is the perfect way to help solidify math concepts while making learning fun for kids and adults alike.
The name of the game is survival of the fittest! You play a new organism in a dangerous world. Create and adapt your creature to take best advantage of the environment around you, while avoiding the pitfalls! Will you invest your adaptations in traits like a Hard Shell or Horns to protect you from predators, or a Long Neck to get food other creatures can't reach? With 4,000 species to create — plus additional expansions like Evolution: Flight, there's no end to the ways you can eat, multiply, and thrive.
Get down to the basics of how your body works with Peptide from Genius Games! In this card-drafting game, players compete to link Amino Acid cards side-by-side, building a protein chain or peptide — just like in real life! As you select Organelle Cards, you'll either get molecular resources or cellular actions you can use to build your chain. Build a chain with a variety of Amino Acids and you'll score points to win! This clever game teaches how RNA Translation works in an engaging way, complete with professional illustrations that can even be used as classroom illustrations.
It's all about better gaming through chemistry with this clever game. Each player takes on the role of a Lab Manager who is trying to complete compounds before their opponents — or before an unfortunate lab accident results in an explosion! You might want to invest some time in creating a fire extinguisher...but while you're doing that, your opponents could be putting together the elements they need to snag compounds out from under you. With a ruleset that incorporates social play, trading, careful management of elements, and a little luck, this social game is endlessly entertaining — and educational.