Today, toys are no longer for keeping kids entertained anymore. Parents look at toys as investments, while kids also want toys that can sustain their interests. Educational toys for kids have been on the rise in the past years, and STEM toys are making their own name in the toy industry. However, for parents to better decide on what types of toys are best for their children, it’s important to understand what stem toys are and how children benefit from playing them.
What are STEM toys?
STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM toys are designed to teach or introduce different learning concepts under these core subjects. They’re vital in early childhood learning and will be very helpful in young children once they start school.
STEM toys for kids help spark curiosity and hopefully, that curiosity leads to more engagement from children, especially when learning about the science and math concepts. It’s a challenge for parents to introduce scientific and math concepts to their young children. Not to mention, it’s even more challenging to keep interested. This is why STEM toys promote fun learning; this way, kids don’t grow up disliking science and math but see them as fun subjects.
Why are STEM toys good for kids and the future?
Back in the days, young boys are happy and content with playing with action figures or toy cars and trucks, while the young girls enjoy playing with their dolls or tea party sets all day long. But today, this change and new movement in toys are believed to be laying the foundation of education and good study habits in children.
Parents cannot help but think of their children’s future. The fact is, the jobs today didn’t exist 20 or 30 years ago. This means that in the next 20 or 30 years, the jobs today may not exist as well. However, what schools are teaching now focuses on the jobs available today. Parents cannot just leave their child’s future to chance. Due to this unpredictability, the best thing parents can do is to help protect their children by showing them the importance of learning.
No matter what job is available in the future, if a child is passionate about continuous learning, he/she can adapt to the changing environments. If children start the good habits of learning at a young age, their brains are also being trained earlier, too. This allows children to develop and grow into problem solvers and deep thinkers that can thrive and survive any challenge life throws at them.
With that said, STEM toys are excellent toys and activities for kids because not only does it inspire curiosity among children, but it also uses that curiosity that gives future engineers, scientists, and mathematicians an early start in progressing in the fields they’re interested in.
What do kids learn from STEM toys?
Parents might ask, “What if my child isn’t interested in science, technology, engineering, or math? Will STEM toys still be good for my child?” Absolutely! The beauty of STEM toys is that it helps children develop different skills through fun and hands-on learning. To be more specific, here are the benefits of STEM toys:
- Improve problem-solving skills
STEM toys introduce learning concepts by giving children a task or challenge. It can be building a structure using magnets or gears, or it can be a coding task. Either way, kids learn how to solve problems on their own and go beyond as correcting things that go wrong as well. While STEM toys do come with a manual or guide to assist children, not all solutions are there. This forces children to assess and analyze situations so they can find the right solutions.
- Develop critical thinking
When children are faced with their own problems to fix, they rely on themselves to be more critical of the situation they’re in. This encourages the child to do some trial-and-error tests to learn more about cause and effect as well as discover the right solution for a specific problem. Problem-solving and critical thinking go hand-in-hand. Children don’t have to rely on their parents to tell them what to do because they can interpret the situation themselves. This skill helps them prepare for better decision-making, even at a young age.
- Nurture creativity
Every technological advancement or innovation today started with curiosity and creativity. Children are innately curious, so parents can explore that curiosity and present children different ways to think independently and pursue their own creative intuitions. STEM toys may have end goals, but it is up to the child to find a way to reach those goals. Additionally, STEM toys promote free play in children, which also encourages children to seek help from their peers or other people. As a result, they learn the value of cooperation and teamwork early on.
- Boost self-confidence
More knowledgeable children tend to be more confident. This self-confidence helps children to socialize better as they are more confident in communication with other people, kids and adults alike. Furthermore, self-confident children are more welcoming of challenges and are more open to new experiences and learning, which will significantly help them in school. Eventually, this boost in self-esteem will also help a child tap into his leadership skills.
- Worthy investments
STEM toys are not a mass-market toy due to the higher price tag. However, parents who understand STEM toys and who are committed to their child’s learning will be big fans. Parents don’t see STEM toys as expenses but rather as an investment to their child’s educational growth.
What are the best stem toys?
STEM toys are now becoming a trend, and there’s been a rise in popularity in the past year. As a result, there are toy manufacturers labeling their toys as STEM when they’re really not. It is imperative for parents to check and assess STEM toys adequately to determine if they are indeed legitimate. Here are three essential categories to look into:
- Academic – STEM toys should promote academic learning, which means children must be able to think and interact with concepts as well as develop new skills and learn how to apply those skills.
- Cognitive – STEM toys promote cognitive thinking wherein children have to think logically and use their reasoning skills to apply different concepts.
- Motor-Skill – STEM toys for toddlers help in enhancing motor skills. These toys will teach young learners to move objects and also manipulate these objects.
What are the popular STEM toys and activities today?
There’s quite a number of really good STEM toys and activities on the market, but here are the most popular ones among parents and children:
- LEGO – The building blocks activity enhances planning skills, creativity, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and engineering concepts.
- SparkleLabs – Kids are taught how to make solar-powered battery circuits.
- Dance Code Belle – Young girls will enjoy coding Belle to bust different dance moves.
- IDO3D Printer – Kids will learn about printing 3D objects.
- Wonder Workshop Robot Cue – Children learn about coding and programming a robot.
- Fur Real Makers – This is a programming activity where children can add skills and personalities to different animals.
If you’re a parent and want to open up new learning opportunities for your children, this is the best time to introduce him/her to the world of STEM toys. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are pillars of learning, and it will be wise to slowly introduce these concepts to your child as early as possible. STEM toys are proof that true learning is fun. These toys also prove that hard work can bring about results, and children will grow up more prepared and confident in knowing that.