As parents, how can we find toys for our little ones that educate as well as engage? The world of science and technology is more important than ever, yet many parents and kids might be scared off by worries about how to approach it or make it fun. Kids can experience technology without being passive consumers if they use the right tools, but it’s difficult to know where to start when things are changing so quickly! I’ve brought you an overview of some ways to start your little explorer on the right track to see coding, robotics, natural science, and more as exciting new frontiers.
Kibo STEM Robot is a simple robot for kids as young as 4 years old. It allows children to assemble their own robot, connecting parts and watching it come to life. Best of all, it manages this without requiring screen time! KIBO has won tremendous critical acclaim because it manages to activate both technical thinking and artistic creativity, making it accessible to many different personalities. Learn more.
Whacky Wheels Circuit Cubes were designed by STEM teachers to help kids incorporate electronics into their building blocks. Kids learn the fundamentals of connecting circuitry, while adding exciting features like lights, power, and motion to the structures they create. Learn more.
SPRK+ by Sphero is a compact robot designed to teach STEAM and programming. The technology lets kids create their own programs through interactive programs – beginners can give robots simple commands and work their way up to more complicated tasks. Children go from tracing paths for the robot to follow to eventually typing their own code.
Piper Computer Kit is an educational computer that teaches STEM and coding to our kids, so they grow up immersed in technology like never before. However, they rarely get to investigate how these devices actually work. Inspired by the hackers who created the first computers, the Piper Computer Kit presents a simple set of parts and programming tools that teach kids engineering through building and electronic games. The winner of numerous awards and endorsed by organizations such as Popular Mechanics and Business Insider, this computer kit helps kids find their own ways to build, code, and create. Learn more.
The 4M Tin Can Robot makes recycling fun by teaching kids how to make a functional robot out of an old tin can. Kids can create a mechanical monster, a silly robot, or whatever their creativity can spark. A simple and entertaining way to repurpose material! Learn more.
Using the moving parts in ThinkFun Gravity Maze allows kids to build different marble runs, but with one condition: for each challenge, you must find a way to get the marble to its goal! A simple set of materials leads to endless fun and logic building for kids. Learn more.
Kano Computer Kit is a colorful, easy-to-follow storybook teaches kids how to build their own, very simple computer. Kids will be able to assemble the parts and then use their own creation to watch Youtube, write stories, go online, and use over 100 apps. In the words of Wired, Kano “trains a generation to perceive the world as endlessly programmable.” Learn more.
National Geographic Geode Breaking Kit includes geodes. Geodes are naturally occurring hollow rocks with built-up deposits of crystals inside. From the outside, they look like round, grayish stones, but break them open and discover their hidden treasure! Complete with 10 geodes and a learning guide, this is a great way for kids to begin understanding geology through an interactive surprise. Learn more.
Snap Circuits contains over 60 moving parts; kids are able to put together endless permutations of connected circuits. An easy system of color coding lets users know which pieces should stick together. Your future electrician can begin to understand the workings of electricity through safe assembly, building lights, fans, and even a water-detection alarm! Learn more.
Dash is a robot companion designed for kids 6 and older. Kids can learn commands to guide and control Dash, increasing their coding aptitude with the goal of getting Dash to learn new tasks. Dash can light up, make sounds, move around, and respond to voices. Dash Robot has been featured on 2015 National Parenting Gold, Time to Play Magazine 2015 Holiday Most Wanted List, Opening Minds Innovation for Schools, and ISTE Best of Show for Schools. Learn more.
Thames & Kosmos Crystal Growing Kit lets children understand the science of crystal formation by growing their own. Kids can change the color and structure of their crystals by experimenting with different materials. Try different things, like covering old toys with crystals or crafting imitations of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Learn more.
MindWare’s Science Academy Kits make it fun and easy to learn through science experiments. Kids can take different approaches through the different sets available. Does your daughter or son want to create an imitation volcano, or decode secrets in nature through the eco forensics lab? How about creating soap or lip balm, and understanding the properties of different materials at the same time? MindWare aims to create accessible ways to enjoy science and apply it to everyday life. Learn more.
Solar Balloon is a giant 50-foot long balloon has the incredible ability to float when its dark surface is heated by the power of the sun. Kids can begin to understand buoyancy and thermodynamics by seeing how air patterns fill the balloon with hot air and levitate it off the ground. Larger than-life excitement for individuals or groups! Learn more.
Flybrix lets kids expand their classic LEGO fun into creating a functional drone! Quick assembly and resilient hardware let children experiment with different designs, rebalancing their drone and figuring out its ideal weight. The connected app even allows for Arduino compatibility and joystick control. Learn more.
If your child fascinated by the natural world, NatGeo Bird Watching Kids Kit is a great setup for embarking on one of the most colorful and accessible ways to enjoy nature: birdwatching. Complete with a basic guide, binoculars, and a kit to create your own birdhouse and bird feeder, the kit gives little explorers the chance to begin understanding the complex and ever-present world of birds. Learn more.
Other suggested STEM toys:
. Dig it Up! Kits
. ThinkFun Laser Maze
. Kids First Automobile Engineer Kit
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