STEM.jpg

 

Today we take a look at a revolutionary movement in the world of toys: STEM! STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math, and its toys are all about helping your child to acquire a solid educational grounding in these important subjects. Each of the endeavours that make up STEM is a key field in the modern world, and STEM toys help kids to engage with these fields by blending fun, creativity, & learning into a single, focused activity: Play!
The first toy on our list is the Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot, which I have actually played with myself, so I know a great deal about it.

What does this toy do?

The Meccanoid G15 KS is a sophisticated toy that features multiple play patterns. Initially Meccanoid is a building toy, similar to LEGO blocks, because your child must assemble him from basic parts all the way up to a finished robot (or any other form your child may choose). He features a vocabulary of over 1000 unique words and phrases, including several fun jokes. He also dances, performs Kung Fu, goes for a walk with your child, and mimics their every movement via a special (free) app. Most of all, Meccanoid is a very cool robotic friend!

What does the Meccanoid G15 KS teach children?

Meccanoid teaches your child about mechanics, as well as problem solving & engineering (thanks to the required assembly), and he even teaches them patience (as he takes a fair amount of time to fully assemble). Additionally, motor skills & cognitive development are also encouraged. Few other toys have as many educational elements as the Meccanoid G15 KS!

How much fun is this toy?

Meccanoid is a seriously fun toy! This is largely due to his interactive nature and varied play patterns. Overall, Meccanoid is a truly amazing toy that any child is sure to love.

                                                                                                    ***

Another great STEM toy is the Osmo Starter Kit, which I’ve only read about thus far. Even so, the reports have been promising!

What does this toy do?

The Osmo Starter Kit was designed to promote creative thinking and social interaction. The set actually consists of 4 separate games and incorporates your existing tablet & a small group of friends. One of the games, called Word Game, is a word guessing game that is played with a group of friends. The objective is to guess the hidden word on your tablet’s screen by throwing down tiles with letters on them that you think are in the word. You must do this faster than your friends to solve the word and win the round. A further example is Tangram Game—a fun puzzle game whereby you attempt to match the image on your tablet’s screen using physical puzzle pieces. These games allow children to incorporate the digital world of the tablet with their own physical world, and they’re as fun as they are educational.

What does the Osmo Starter Kit teach children?

The main benefits of the Osmo Starter Kit’s games are the digital learning & social interaction. Additionally, your child is sure to benefit from the set by learning spelling & vocabulary, shapes & geometry, and art & creativity through drawing. There’s even a game, called Newton Game, that helps them to learn about spacial relationships. All up, this is one educational set.

How much fun is this toy?

Maybe I’m a bit biased here, but I have always loved to draw, so I really like the sound of this set, and I suspect it will be great fun for all! Similarly, if your child is a social butterfly, he or she is sure to love getting together with friends to play the games that have a social element, like Word Game. There’s no doubt about it, the Osmo Start Kit has something for pretty much every child! It is recommended for kids aged 6 and up.

                                                                                                    ***

Up next is the very popular Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Interactive Robot Toy Pack, which is also a new one for me.

What does this toy do?

Dash & Dot are a fun robotic duo that your child can fully control and learn from. These funky characters feature built-in games (like Dot of Music, Light Sword, & Magic Dot Ball) and other cool functions that both educate and entertain. These fully electronic toys can be made to move around, make sounds, light up, and even interact with one another via infrared sensors within Dash, all the while keeping your child amused and engaged.

What does the Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Interactive Robot Toy Pack teach children?

Dash & Dot are primarily designed to teach your child about various aspects of the digital world in which they live. For instance, they are compatible with many newer Apple and Android devices, allowing (among other things) your child to record sounds on your device and have Dash play them back. Your child can even program various behaviors into Dash using apps such as Wonder & Blockly, thus giving him or her a basic sense of computer programming. While most of these features are not super advanced, Dot & Dash are recommended for kids 6 and up.

How much fun is this toy?

Having never played with Dot & Dash myself, I can only infer that these toys are a great deal of fun for their intended audience. Who, after all, in the 6 and up age range, doesn’t enjoy playing games & interacting with toys that are as bright, colourful, and fully interactive as Dot & Dash? I am extremely confident that Dot & Dash will be an absolute hit amongst kids with a natural curiosity this holiday season.

                                                                                                    ***

Finally, I would like to consider the LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum Learning Tablet, which is one of the most versatile STEM toys you’re ever going to find.

What does this toy do?

LeapFrog tablets do much the same thing that tablets for adults do, only directed to the interests of kids. With the LeapPad Platinum, your child can play learning based video games, take their own photos, and even access kid friendly Internet content via the built-in WiFi. There’s no limit to the amount of truly educational fun your child can have with this tablet. It comes with a touch screen and stylus that make it easy to use, and its content (via game cartridges) can be changed and updated as your child grows and learns.

What does the LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum Learning Tablet teach children?

There’s really no educational area that LeapFrog doesn’t cover. Their games and activities teach reading & vocabulary, math & numbers, geography & other sciences, and even cooking! With a learning library of over 1000 LeapFrog educator-approved games, books, videos, music, apps, and more available for use with the Platinum (sold separately), there’s truly no limit to what your child can learn!

How much fun is this toy?

The LeapPad Platinum is another of the STEM toys that I have personally tested myself, and I can assure you that it’s extremely fun for kids. The games and activities are great because they teach your child through repetition and reinforcement. As long as you select content that’s interesting to your child, you’re sure to see their LeapPad Platinum put to untold hours of educational use!

                                                                                                    ***

There you have it—several great STEM toys to help your child learn while having fun! And truly, what better combination could there be than learning & playing? If your child would rather play than study, these toys will have them learning without even meaning to. I wish these toys were around when I was growing up!

Until next time, have an excellent week!