It’s no news that play is an essential part of childhood and that “ toys are the tools of play”. Through play, children develop the foundation of their personality and the ability to adjust to the world they live in. This is one of the reasons why more and more parents are focusing on buying toys with educational value. Aside from traditional wooden toys, which are well known for boosting creativity in kids, STEM toys are the latest innovation in the toys industry which boast with a host of benefits for children’s development.
What Are STEM Toys?
The concept of STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. More recently, ‘Arts’ has been added to the group, turning STEM into STEAM toys, which are now also known for developing the creative side of the brain. STEAM toys spark children’s critical thinking and develop problem-solving skills. Kids are quick learners and we, as parents, should help them mold their inner capabilities. Exposing your kids in the preschool years to quality STEAM toys might be a great way to help them develop those skills.
To give you a better idea of what you should look for, here are some toys that qualify as STEAM. For example, for younger kids (three years and above) who want to learn about geometric forms, magnetic kids educational items and toys are a great choice. They consist of different magnetic shapes with which children can build cars and vehicles and anything else they can imagine.
For kids older than 7 years, cubic games are an interesting option. This engineering logic game contains seven wooden cube pieces (few are tri-dimensional), 30 challenge cards and one base. The challenge card give s the position which you need to set up and then you must assemble the remaining pieces to finish the cube. The difficulty increases in the challenge cards providing your child (and their playmates) with many hours of fun learning. Puzzles, chemistry kits, number games, memory games, robotic toys are just some of the wide range of options.
STEAM toys are kids educational items that initiate ‘active play’ and not ‘pretend play’. In that way, your kid interacts with a toy, makes decisions and takes actions. Such toys are designed for toddlers and can be also used by teenagers. There is no actual age limit, as there is no age limit to play. Playing educational games is now crucial more than ever because our kids live in a time of passive play and spend more and more time in front of screens.
Benefits of STEM Toys
Improve Problem-Solving Skills
STEM toys improve cognitive learning. They encourage kids to think independently and use their intelligence to solve an issue. There are challenges that encourage kids to find solutions if they want to win the game. Your child will approach problems independently and will be more confident when facing struggles.
Make Learning Fun and Interactive
As parents, we should do our best to teach children that learning can be fun and interesting. We learn the whole life, which is why we should inspire our kids to be curious and have a passion for knowledge. That’s exactly what STEM educational toys do. They take the learning concept from technology, math and science and convert it into easy ideas that children enjoy involving in. Your kid will be able to identify the problem as a chance for learning and adopt this approach to use it further in life.
Develop Social and Emotional Intelligence
You can help your child develop social skills right at home. While other aspects of social development are fundamental, like playing with kids of the same age and initiating social contact with others, with these toys kids will learn about various social situations. During those scenarios, children will learn how to understand emotions and share things, take turns, bond with others, and more. Playing also develops their emotional intelligence and empathy as they deal with emotions such as anger, laugher and sadness.
Improve Motor Coordination Skills
STEM toys are not just good for developing brainpower and mind, but they also improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The more your kid is exposed to motor activities, the stronger and more confident and less frustrated they will get when using their hands and fingers. Starting as earlier as possible is recommended as children learn at a fast pace.
Being challenged to think outside the box and come up with original ideas is a great benefit. Quality learning toys offer kids different options as each one has a different outcome. It’s up to your child to make a decision he prefers most. These abilities nurture kids’ minds to think critically and approach any topic without prejudice.
With so many benefits, it’s easy to conclude that educational toys are of utmost importance for healthy child development. Next time you’re in a toy shop, look for toys that offer that sweet spot of education and joy and watch how your child’s interest in STEM rapidly grows.