Why STEM Toys are SO important for your child
The idea of helping kids learn while they play isn’t new but toys designed with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEM) are starting a new trend. While examples like LEGO and the Rubik’s Cube have been around for decades, parents are now looking for contemporary options that peak a child’s interest in these subjects, supplementing what they learn in school.
How did STEM come about?
The concept of STEM as a curriculum and an interdisciplinary approach to education began with the National Science Foundation. More recently, ‘Arts’ has been added to the term, turning STEM into STEAM, representing the creative side of the brain. The idea of incorporating STEAM into early learning came from the fact there are workplaces requiring STEAM skills and falling short on people trained in them, particularly women. Fundamentally, human beings are not born with STEAM skills on board, we learn and improve them as we get older. And starting at an early age makes this goal more achievable. Specifically for science and math skills, starting early also reduces the chance of having a ‘fear of numbers’ which is often imbibed from parents and teachers.
How do STEM/STEAM toys help?
Beyond the four STEM subjects, STEAM toys also help with spatial awareness, improving patience and focus, imagination and creativity, problem solving and teamwork. The drive to play is an inherent one in all of us, and so instead of focussing solely on task-oriented educational methods, combining STEAM with play has proven very effective. The core idea of playtime having no rules is where toys work so well because they don’t force a child’s mind down only one route, opening up more ways to absorb STEAM skills. There is no one right answer or intense memorisation and grades to worry about.
What qualifies as a STEM Toy?
Puzzles, construction sets, building blocks, chemistry kits, robotic toys, number games, among many others. It is important that the toy isn’t about 'pretend play', but about 'active play', which can really change the way a child interacts with it. STEM toys are designed for toddlers and right up to teenagers but there’s actually no age limit at which a person can find a STEM toy interesting. Because there is no age limit to play! The point is to encourage active, interactive and engaging play that leads children to think and discover more about the world and themselves. This is more crucial than ever in this age of excessive screen time and passive play.
VertiPlay STEM Marble Run
Which is why we are so excited about launching our VertiPlay STEM Marble Run toy very soon! This modular toy, like the rest of our VertiPlay range sticks to the wall and becomes an interactive playground, full of obstacle courses for the marble using ramps and wheels. There are different extensions possible, creating fun challenges so that the toy never gets boring! As your child plays, soft skills and STEM skills are both honed. Stay tuned for more on this amazing toy and in the meantime, join our priority list!
Leave a comment and tell us what kind of STEM toys your kids like playing with and how you think they’ve helped!