Choosing Toys To Encourage STEM Learning
What Is STEM Learning?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – it is an educational concept or a philosophy with the aim of supporting and encouraging the growth of learning in the aforementioned areas. STEM learning systems and resources are packed full of ideas and inspiration to help young people from diverse backgrounds to gain access to knowledge with the aim of providing enhanced preparation for other academic disciplines and employment in later life.
Why Is Stem Learning Useful?
The use of STEM promotes effective and meaningful ways to connect with learners and to teach in a way which resembles real life - teaching skills which can later be adapted in the real world or in the workplace in later life.
Very few forms of employment rely on one single discipline. Most professions demand the use of multi-disciplinary skills, and for some, this includes a combination of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The same can be said of academic faculties, the majority do not work on their own, but involve elements of other disciplines woven together in an intricate way. An architect for example, requires a wide range of skills involving design, technology, engineering, mathematics, communication and so forth.
STEM is not just popular within the formal educational sector, many communities are beginning to recognise the value it brings to young people – it is also not limited to older children and teens, a number of families are seeking to introduce their children to STEM learning from a young age.
Pre-School Children and STEM Learning
There are numerous easy and fun ways to support young children with STEM learning, provided they are given guidance and the appropriate tools and skills. During the foundation years children have the ability to absorb copious amounts of information, and by nature, often demonstrate curiosity in the world around them, making this the ideal time to introduce STEM.
Parents and families can play a key role in shaping the experience of a growing child and play in the home is one of the aspects which can make a big difference. There are many toys which can help your child to engage in the world of STEM.
STEM toys should not only be fun, but also lead the child to explore areas of science, technology, engineering and maths in a natural way, through play. Providing children with a range of STEM toys and games, can help to spark and subsequently develop interest in areas of STEM, allowing children to develop abilities such as measurement, construction, problem solving, spatial awareness, learning to quantify and so forth.
Key Benefits of STEM Toys
STEM toys can help to teach problem solving and develop healthy cognitive abilities which will improve the child’s independence as well as their ability to overcome challenges. This is a highly transferrable skill, which can be applied in a variety of ways in later life.
Building and creating can often cause frustration – by learning to deal with emotional responses from an early age, children are able to better manage their frustrations when things don’t go according to plan and look for alternative solutions rather than abandoning the project.
STEM toys can help stimulate original thought and improve cognitive learning at a fast pace – children are encouraged to think independently as well as using their intelligence to help overcome hurdles.
Play should always be fun, interactive, stimulating and engaging. Fun is fundamental to education and parenting – some STEM toys can be played independently, and others can engage multiple players, something which can help to strengthen family bonds and reinforce collaboration between children and their parents.
Children are encouraged to think independently and nurture their capabilities. STEM toys are also often open-ended toys which can be used in multiple ways offering various pathways to solve problems with fun imaginative play.
STEM toys are gender neutral and inclusive - regardless of the child’s gender, ethnic or socio-economic background, these toys help to build self-esteem, confidence and awareness for all children.
Early Learning STEM Toys
The use of building blocks or other similar types of toys requires children to consider basic engineering challenges and how to solve design problems. The pre-schooler is required to think and test by trial and error how to construct a structure in the most solid and stable way.
Building blocks provide not only hours of entertainment where children are able to construct countless models, reinventing each time, but also builds a firm foundation in the sciences. The different coloured blocks help to bring out creativity, encourage practical thinking and the development of engineering skills. Our blocks have smooth rounded edges making them safe and easy to play with.
These are designed to provide multiple activities which are both educational and fun – the activity tiles set helps to stimulate the senses and to develop STEM skills such as problem solving and engineering, as well as introducing colour recognition and encouraging imaginative play. Each different activity is designed to engage the child’s cognitive and motor skills in a slightly different way.
The memory game not only provides long lasting fun, but also helps to develop colour recognition and stimulate imagination as well as encouraging social play and developing speech and recognition skills. It helps to improve mathematical skills, the child’s attention to detail and their general overall focus and skills used to develop a working memory.
The Sensory Shape toy is designed to consolidate a child’s understanding of shape and space. It offers numerous cognitively stimulating and fun activities which encourage colour and shape recognition.
Petit Activity Cube
The Petit Activity Cube is a multi-sensory toy designed to stimulate a variety of senses, sparking curiosity and developing key skills. It has a colourful numbered and lettered design which helps with colour, number and letter recognition.
ABC Wooden Blocks
ABC wooden blocks assist in letter and number recognition, counting practice and language development, helping to develop dexterity and build confidence. The blocks feature real life reminders throughout the design and can be used as puzzles to help strengthen motor skills, promote critical thinking and develop pre-reading and early counting skills.