What are STEM Toys and their Benefits to Children
Author: Debbie Pollard Date Posted:31 January 2023
Toys can be thought of as frivolous items that children use for entertainment only. However, manytoys can also be educational tools that stimulate creativity and encourage learning. Enter STEM toys!
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These toys are designed to engage kids in activities that promote problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, all while inspiring them to pursue STEM-related careers. Let's take a look at what separates STEM toys from traditional ones and explore some of their benefits:
What makes a STEM Toy?
STEM toys teach children about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through hands-on play and exploration. These come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but usually involve building something or solving some kind of problem—from constructing robots with tiny motors to creating intricate marble runs with colourful tubes and tracks. Unlike traditional toys, which may only serve one purpose (e.g. an action figure), these toys challenge kids to think outside the box by providing creative solutions to complex problems.
Some examples of STEM toys are:
Benefits of STEM Toys
The benefits of playing with STEM toys are numerous. They help children develop important skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, while also inspiring curiosity and boosting confidence. Let's take a look at some of the advantages of introducing STEM toys to children:
They encourage creative thinking.
What could be more enjoyable than watching your children use their imaginations to create something new and unique? Participating in STEM-focused activities gives children numerous opportunities for creative thinking, which helps them develop skills in problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and engineering concepts. It also helps children gain confidence in their abilities and inspires them to continue learning.
They enhance cognitive skills.
STEM toys can help children develop cognitive skills like logical reasoning, problem-solving, memory, and critical thinking. This allows children of all ages to think critically, assess a problem, and then finally, develop the best approach or solution. You can find these toys available in various skill levels ranging from easy to quite complex. Children can thus learn valuable skills that will serve them well throughout their lives as they apply divergent thinking to various situations!
They develop fine motor skills.
Another advantage of using STEM toys is that they allow children to improve their motor and hand-eye coordination. Building blocks and playing with puzzles can help children improve their fine motor skills and boost their confidence in both physical and intellectual abilities.
They build interpersonal skills.
Through STEM toys, children can get hands-on experiences with concepts such as engineering, mathematics and robotics. This allows them to explore their interests and discover what areas they excel at while fostering creative thinking and encouraging experimentation. Children can also learn the value of cooperation and teamwork by working collaboratively with others to solve problems. In doing so, they will understand how to effectively collaborate with others on various tasks not only in the present moment, but also later on in life.
They introduce kids to various sciences.
STEM toys provide a playful atmosphere where children can explore complex topics that may otherwise seem intimidating. They're especially good at instilling the idea that there are many different disciplines within STEM and that they can all be enjoyable and exciting.
That coding robot could be the inspiration for a future software engineer. That microscope kit could be the starting point for a future scientist. A child's telescope could be all that’s required to kickstart her interest in a career on the International Space Station. Allowing children to experiment with different disciplines at a young age will make them feel unconstrained by precedent or expectation.
STEM toys have revolutionised the way we think about playtime. Instead of viewing it as a way for kids to pass the time before dinner or bedtime, it can now be seen clearly as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Check out our collection of STEM toys and find the best one for your kids!