2020 has been a year where many families have been safely together at home. With so many kids’ educations now being largely taken on by parents, they must have all the right equipment.
This is not a difficult process, however, provided that you have the right ‘tools’ for the experience, also known as Stem toys for Kids. Kids love playing with toys, and they love learning, and so when you put the two wonders together, you have STEM toys!
But that then begs the question – do STEM toys actually teach kids enough, particularly science and math? The answer is a definitive yes. But do not just take our word for it, let’s talk about the results of some relevant scientific tests done with toddlers.
The Scientifically Proven Method For Toddlers
When it comes to something like Stem toys for 3 year olds, even something as seemingly simple to adults as building blocks can be made even more challenging for young minds. This is done by bringing mathematical concepts into the toy’s design, bringing their foundational fine motor and problem skills to the fore.
Small children develop a foundational math knowledge with STEM toys, as discussed by the Journal of Early Childhood Research in a 2017 study. Basic shape toys, block building, and puzzles were all proven to be highly effective in a Trends in Neuroscience and Education journal entry. These are the three most popular STEM toys in the field, which need to be tested rigorously before they are released for sale.
Testing The Most Successful Toys
The leading designers and manufacturers of STEM toys for young children create their products by using the tried and tested methods for developing little minds. This takes hours of careful consideration, with toy geniuses that are committed to helping children develop.
Of course, all kinds of play bring wonderful growth for children, but STEM toy experts wanted to take this goodness a step further. The trick is to design a toy that is challenging enough for a toddler’s mind to be stimulated and engaged, but not so hard that they grow bored or frustrated.
It is certainly a fine balance, which is why Educational toys for 4 year olds are tested rigorously with live and adorable participants. To put it simply, if enough youngsters enjoy the toys and show satisfying progress over the length of an experiment, then that toy is assured to be great for families at large.
According to a Temple University child psychologist called Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, there are several qualities that STEM toys need to be truly beneficial for youngsters.
The STEM Toy Recipe For Success
The first quality, according to Hirsh-Pasek, is active play. A child should be involved with their toys as much as possible, especially with their hands, as they learn just how much they can do with their little limbs. If a STEM toy is not engaging enough, then a child is only getting a fraction of the brainy expansion that they could be enjoying.
A child should also find a STEM toy meaningful. We all know that if a child cannot see the point in doing something, or fail to find some personal meaning from an activity, that they will soon abandon it.
It is also important that a STEM toy not be too distracting, as too many frills will take away from the main point of the activity and its intended growth. Finally, a STEM toy needs to be fun. STEM toys are, after all, competing with the ordinary toy industry, and with so many crazy and colorful toys on the market today, STEM toy designers have their work cut out for them!
So, as you can tell, producing the perfect STEM toy is quite the art. It is incredible knowing how much scientific, psychological, and marketing data goes into making a successful product. But there is one essential lesson that STEM toys bring to children, one that is vital for our planet’s future.
Teaching Children About Renewable Energy With STEM Toys
Many STEM toys are small and simple robots that use solar or hydropower as energy sources. While young children might not be able to grasp the threats of global warming fully (and nor should you tell them that the world might end soon!), they can certainly fall in love with the wonders of renewable energy.
Take the Aqua Robot from Green Science, for example. This is an adorable looking little amphibious robot with paddlewheels attached to each side. The Aqua Robot also has an antenna-like solar panel peaking out, which will soak up solar energy.
Once its battery is charged enough, the Aqua Robot will cheerfully begin paddling through a pool or pond, to a child’s absolute delight. Of course, a parent can be involved in this whole process, showing young children how the little robot and solar power work. A parent’s involvement is also important for young children and their STEM toy journey.
The Loving Guidance Of Parents
All parents love to play with their children, but with STEM toys, some parents think that they would be interfering with the child’s independence if they ‘cheat’ the toy by showing them how it works.
Certainly, too much help can ruin the point of a STEM toy, but some loving and supportive prompts from adults can go a long way. For example, giving kids ideas for their STEM building blocks is a superb way to guide their creativity.
Studies have shown that children who played with building blocks randomly, without any prompts, were far less productive than parents who asked them to build engineering-related structures.
This type of suggestion will engage a child’s spatial awareness, as they begin to imagine how the structure will look when it is finished and how their building skills need to accommodate the finished product.
STEM toys are engaging and involving activities for young children that are stimulating, entertaining, and fun. You really cannot go wrong with the perfect product for your perfect child.