By Kimberly Blaker, September 2020 Issue.
Today, it’s more crucial than ever that boys and girls alike develop a keen interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Over the coming decades, the pace of scientific and technological advancement is expected to continue climbing at an exponential rate. As a result, STEM fields will see continued growth while blue-collar jobs, among other professions, decline. So it’s essential kids are well prepared for a drastically different job market.
STEM offers kids other benefits as well. It stimulates and teaches critical thinking and problem-solving skills — competencies that go a long way in any career and in life.
So how do you help your child develop an appreciation for STEM and boost their knowledge and understanding in these subjects? Play that provides opportunities to apply concepts and skills is one of the best ways for kids to learn. There are numerous games, toys, and kits on the market that make learning STEM loads of fun.
Toys that teach STEM
Qurious Space for ages 3+. This 4-in-1 family card game teaches kids about the solar system, milky way galaxy, and more. Kids learn simple strategy and creative problem-solving skills while developing vocabulary and enhancing their memory.
Magformers for ages 3+. These magnetic geometric construction kits come in a variety of choices. Kids can build 3D structures such as houses, pyramids, and balls out of colorful magnetic triangles, diamonds, trapezoids, and squares.
MuddWatt STEM Kit: Clean Energy from Mud! for ages 8+. Kids will love conducting these experiments with soil by adding ingredients from the fridge to build a living fuel cell. A free app then gives kids the tool to measure the power and track microbe growth.
Snap Circuits for ages 7+. Keep kids busy and learning with these electronics discovery kits that provide kids more than 100 projects to do. Snap Circuit kits have won numerous awards and come in several variations. Contents of various kits include phototransistors, LEDs, resistors, ICs, DC motors, flying propellers, electromagnets, lamps, switches, and much more. Projects kids can make include an AM radio, burglar alarm, doorbell, flying saucer, and voice recorder, to name a few.
Sequence for Kids for ages 4 to 7. The goal in this strategy-building card and board game is to be the first to place four chips in a row. The challenge is to think strategically and finish before your opponent uses a unicorn card to remove a chip.
Gravity Maze for ages 8+. Kids use spatial reasoning skills to arrange towers to create a path for a marble to go from its start position to its target tower. It includes 60 challenge cards ranging from beginner to expert.
Osmos Genius Kit for ages 5 to 12. This kit boasts five games that turn an iPad into a hands-on learning experience. On the iPad, Osmo interacts with every real-live move. This kit enhances kids’ visual thinking, creative problem-solving skills, and self-expression.
ThinkFun Rush Hour for ages 8+. Winner of a national Mensa award, Rush Hour is a game of logic that sharpens kids’ planning and sequential reasoning skills. There are 40 challenges from beginner to expert in this traffic gridlock game. The goal is to move cars through the puzzle until the red car escapes the traffic jam.
IQ Fit for ages 6+. This spatial reasoning and problem-solving game boasts 120 challenges in which kids must fill the board with the missing 3-D pieces. It’s a compact travel size game and a great value.
DoughLab STEM Kit: Bake and Learn for ages 6+. This yummy bread-making experimentation kit includes five experiments through which kids discover the perfect recipe and learn about the power of yeast.
Rock On! Geology Game for ages 5+. Kids explore the earth’s geological treasures in this fun science game. It comes complete with an assortment of rock and mineral specimens.
Big Bag of Science for ages 8+. More than 70 fun activities can be performed with this kit in the areas of chemistry, physics, biology, geology, magnetism, weather, and flight. Kids use real scientific tools, which are included in the kit, to do their experiments that’ll amaze family and friends.
ETI Toys Lil’ Engineers Engineering Blocks for ages 3 to 6. This box of colorful, multi-size and multi-shape blocks, screws, nuts, plates, wheels, and connectors keeps kids engrossed for hours. Kids can build 12 different toy designs while developing their motor skills, eye-hand coordination, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Prime Climb for ages 10+. Learning to add, subtract, divide, and multiply is a breeze with this award-winning mathematics board game.
Goobi Construction Set for ages 3+. Kids learn about magnetism while constructing 3D structures out of colorful plastic bars, iron balls, and tripods. Children will develop a sense of proportion while improving eye-hand coordination, problem-solving skills, and learning the basics of physics, geometry, and architecture.
Green Kid Crafts, Rainforest Discovery Science Box for ages 3 to 10. This kit embraces kids’ creativity while providing them scientific exploration. Kids can conduct a rainforest pollution experiment, create a rain stick, and build a rainforest terrarium, among other activities.