Teach Valuable STEM Skills With These Toys that Your Child Will Love
Students today need strong skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for future careers. While teachers are working hard to equip children with these skills, the education system is not keeping up. Australia’s performance in STEM subjects has dropped significantly in recent years.
Educational toys can help bridge this gap by teaching students about STEM concepts and encouraging kids to view learning as fun and interesting. According to experts, the trick is to find toys which promote open-ended play and problem-solving.
Here are some STEM toys your child will enjoy learning with.
A set of wooden blocks might seem old-fashioned compared to the high-tech toys available today, but they are still invaluable learning tools for young children. According to multiple studies, play with blocks promotes spatial recognition and maths skills. Educational researchers believe exploring different shapes provides a foundation for understanding mathematical concepts.
Magnetic tiles further develop children’s understanding of shapes and help them grasp more complicated engineering concepts. A 2013 TIMPANI Toy Study found that magnetic tiles were excellent for promoting problem-solving and creativity. Primary school students enjoy playing with magnetic tiles for extended periods, and this helps develop concentration and perseverance.
Family board game nights are both fun and educational because students need to actively work out maths problems. These range from simple decisions about how many spots to move ahead on the board to complex games of strategy. Monopoly is an old favourite. Some other good choices include Qwirkle, Loony Quest and Ricochet Robots. Board games like Coder Bunnyz and Robot Turtles teach young children about coding. Older kids will love strategy games like Five Tribes and Splendor.
Lego is extremely popular with kids and for good reason. Lego blocks encourage creativity, spatial reasoning and problem-solving. The 900-piece LEGO Classic Creative Fun Building Kit is ideal for younger kids. It includes hinges, wheels and doors so children can design toys such as a spinning top, an airplane or a sports car. Older kids will be challenged and inspired by sophisticated toys such as the Mindstorms Robot Inventor Kit. This kit allows them to build a robot and program it to walk and talk.
Other toys which give children the opportunity to learn about coding in a hands-on way include Bee-Bot, which is designed for small kids. This fun robot teaches kids about sequencing, problem-solving, and estimation. Another great choice for young children is Robot Mouse which allows them to design a pathway for the robot using coding cards. Older kids will enjoy the challenge of Botley the Coding Robot which has advanced features to keep them engaged as their skills grow.
Science kits are designed specifically to develop STEM skills. The aim of these toys is to teach students about scientific methods by measuring, mixing, weighing and observing results. There are many inventive science kits available that kids will have a blast with. They include chemistry kits for creating erupting volcanoes and tiny tornadoes and crime catcher kits that give kids a chance to learn about DNA, coded messages and testing powders.
STEM toys make learning fun and exciting for kids.