There was a time when one of the few STEM toys around was LEGOs. Though the multi-colored bricks came with instructions and an image of the suggested finished product, they also encouraged aspiring engineers to assemble a creation all their own. But now that STEM has become more of an exciting field with both parents and children developing an interest in the related topics, a whole new breed of toys have been created with the express purpose of capturing the minds of youth and directing them to topics that fall under the umbrella of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Here are some that may spark interest in these four topics.
Younger children from ages 3 and up will learn a lot about how they use their senses to take in the world with this activity set. Using this chart, the child will decide among a group of magnets which item corresponds with which sense. This is a great tool for students just discovering how best to use the tools that they’ve been given to uncover the mysteries of their world and create an even deeper curiosity for the things that they don’t yet understand. This kit is available in both English and Spanish so that children from all backgrounds can utilize this tool effectively.
For those kids who learn Science better hands-on there’s the Inventor’s Box. With it comes an array of test tubes along with disappearing ink, colored crystals and a wide array of other items that will give a young scientist a look at how to conduct their own lab. It is intended for older children (8 and up) but with parental guidance can be a good fit for all ages. This kit is equipped with experiments that will enable kids to learn about how chemistry works and best practices for conducting those experiments.
With millions of applications, games, and programs available for all ages there are plenty of reasons to get a child started with coding at a young age. Wonder Workshop Dash is one method that will make that much easier. With Dash, children aged 6 years old and up are able to interact with a robot that can teach coding and prepare them for the next level of their school education. Not only do they learn coding, the program also comes with applications and the ability to command the device with only a voice. As their expertise grows, they soon be on their way to creating their own coding projects.
Hands- on learners also have this simple kit designed to introduce children to electronics. Each kit features actual circuits that are able connect with a “snap” and deliver actual electronic currents throughout. Designed for ages 8 and older, this kit comes along with over 750 projects that can be assembled (with adult supervision) and requires no special tools to get started. The 80, color-coded pieces can assemble into an AM radio, lie detector and a rechargeable battery. Not only will children learn how to assemble a device, they will also gain firsthand experience creating a working device and likely develop an interest in building more complex machines as they gain mastery of the basic configurations.
Like LEGOS, these are building block that come with designs and suggested finished products for easy assemblage. Unlike LEGOS, the boundaries of the finished products can resemble many different shapes and not just a blocky version of the intended design. With this kit, children will have 164 pieces at their disposal, as well as several e-books detailing the possibilities for the pieces contained. These washable item are easy to keep clean and great for solo play and groups of children at any age.
Similar to the Discovery Kids #Mindblown Science Kit, the Inventor’s Box was designed to give children an idea of how to conduct experiments. But unlike the Science Kit, this box allows children to make their own creations. For students unsure of how to approach the materials within or those looking for inspiration to get them started, there is an Inventor’s Guide booklet to give them a glimpse at what could be done. Designed for children 8 year old and up, this box will allow children to unleash their imaginations and see what comes as a result before them.
This Ancient Greek device, modernized and brightly colored, has come back for children 3 years and older. For children just beginning to understand addition and subtraction, this toy will give them a visual understanding of how numbers work and how to calculate sums on their own. Contained with this toy comes 100 beads total on 10 wires. An activity guide details ways that this toy can be used to maximize learning and make it more fun to do so.
With technology quickly becoming more difficult to avoid and easily accessible, now is the best time to get children interested in gaining the skills that they will likely need for the future. And when that future comes, those children who have prepared early will also be prepared to create the building blocks for what comes next.