According to the United States Department of Commerce, 65 percent of jobs for kids today don’t exist yet, which is why it’s important for them to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as those occupations are growing at a rate of 17 percent. This type of education increases science literacy, creates critical thinkers and can prepare the next generation for a bright future.
STEM is educational, but it can also be enjoyable for the whole family. Consider taking your child’s learning further with these five tips that can
help create playful experiences and spark educational fun.
Brain and skill-building experiences are critical for child development early in life, and high-quality, early STEM experiences can support children’s growth. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills can even be developed with programming and coding toys that light up and make sounds.
Encourage Creative Construction.
STEM toys can be fundamental learning tools that can help children build and construct creatively at any age. The world is a canvas for creative construction, as children can draw with tools around the house to build their first masterpieces. If your little one enjoys 3-D building and matching, a toy like the Mega Bloks Big Building Bag is perfect for little builders to explore the concept of construction with big blocks, allowing for endless creativity to build anything they can imagine.
Use Technology to Your Advantage.
With some reports estimating children spend an average of seven hours a day on smart devices, look for ways to turn this time into learning time. Make tech time count with options that teach kids how to code, build apps and make digital projects come to life, or have them build their own video game from scratch. Kids can build their own levels, heroes and art to make their stories come to life.
Play Your Way.
Additionally, STEM toys can be helpful learning tools for everything from sequencing to building and planning. Integrating an activity that your child is already interested in is one way to introduce more education into their play time. With KamiGami, you can inspire future scientists with interactive STEM features where they can build six-legged animal robots and learn to programme to create dances with lights, movements and sounds.
Find Resources in the Community.
Interacting with STEM toys and experiences offers nearly endless possibilities for young children to develop their skills in fun and engaging ways. Take advantage of opportunities locally, through events, library programs, retail partners and non-profits who are providing STEM activities, most for free.
Chattahoochee Valley Libraries offers loaner STEAM kits, completely free. Some available kits include a snap circuit kit, a GoPro camera, 3D doodling pen, and a wacom digital drawing tablet. The library is also a great source for events, from Lego building challenges to food science. They provide a free, fun environment to expand your child’s mind. Get a list of events here.
Letsgrow SteamX offers a completely free program to teach children to design, build and race a soapbox car.
The Learning Villa STEAM is a childcare program integrating STEAM activities into their standard care.
Bricks for Kidz offers summer camps and after-school programs that encourage kids to take lego building to the next step.
Bricks and Minifigs hosts free-play at their store for children to explore lego building and create with an array of accessories.
Sylvan Learning Center teaches robot building for kids. The classes also incorporate programming techniques once the robots have taken shape.
Coca-Cola Space Science Center explore the challenger learning center and make new discoveries about space and our country’s space program.
STEM Toys for 2-4 year olds:
STEM Toys for 5-7 year olds:
STEM Toys for 8-13 year olds:
- All Natural Soaps Kit
- Crystal Growing Experiment
- Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game
- Lego Toolbox Building & Coding Kit