by Kimberly Blaker
Freelance Parenting Writer
Sonoma Family Life, Nov. 2017
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16 Top STEM Toys That’ll Boost Kid’s Knowledge, Understanding, and Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Today, it’s more crucial than ever for boys and girls alike to develop a keen interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). That’s because the pace of scientific and technological advancement over the coming decades is expected to continue climbing at an exponential rate. As a result, there will be continued growth in STEM fields combined with a decline in blue collar jobs among other professions. So tomorrow’s young adults must be prepared for this drastically different job market. Add to this, STEM offers great value by helping kids develop 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 these subjects and boost their knowledge and understanding in these areas? Play is often the best way for children to learn where they can apply concepts and skills. Fortunately, there are numerous games, toys, and kits on the market that make learning STEM lots of fun.
TOP STEM TOYS THAT TEACH
Qurious Space for ages 3+. This 4-in-1 family card game teaches kids about the solar system, milky way galaxy, and more. Kids will 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 experiments with soil by adding ingredients from the fridge to build a living fuel cell. A free app will then allow kids to measure the power and track microbe growth.
Snap Circuits for ages 7+. More than 100 projects will keep kids busy and learning with these electronics discovery kits. As one of the top STEM toys, 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. In this strategy-building card and board game, the goal is to be the first to place 4 chips in a row. The challenge is to think strategically and finish before their opponent uses a unicorn card to remove a chip.
Gravity Maze for ages 8+. Kids will use spatial reasoning skills to arrange towers that create a path for a marble to go from it’s start position to its target tower. Another one of the top STEM toys, it includes 60 challenge cards ranging from beginner to expert.
Osmos Genius Kit for ages 5 to 12. This kit boasts 5 games that turn an iPad into a hands-on learning experience. Osmo, on the ipad, interacts with every real-live move. This kit enhances kids’ visual thinking and creative problem-solving skills and self-expression.
ThinkFun Rush Hour for ages 8+. Winner of a national Mensa award, Rush Hour is another one of the top STEM toys. It’s a game of logic that sharpens kids skills in planning and sequential reasoning. In this traffic gridlock game, there are 40 challenges from beginner to expert. The goal is to move cars through the puzzle until the red car can escape 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 5 experiments in which kids discover the perfect recipe and learn about the power of yeast.
Rock On! Geology Game for ages 5+. Kids will explore earth’s geological treasures in this fun science game. It comes complete with a nice 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 will use the real scientific tools that are included in the kit in their experiments to amaze family and friends.
ETI Toys Lil’ Engineers Engineering Blocks for ages 3 to 6. This box of colorful various size and shape blocks, screws, nuts, plates, wheels, and connectors will keep 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 will learn about magnetism while constructing 3D structures out 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 scientific exploration. Kids can conduct a rainforest pollution experiment, create a rainstick, and build a rainforest terrarium, among many other activities.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance parenting writer.