Some toys appeal to boys, while others are ideal for girls. Better still, some toys are straight up learning toys, and many of these are perfect for both boys and girls. In today’s blog we focus on great learning toys that are perfect for either girls or boys. We also take a brief aside to consider the importance of STEM and STEM toys in helping to secure a bright future for today’s kids. Keep on reading for a basic explanation of STEM and some very cool unisex learning toy suggestions.
On the Importance of STEM
Before we get to the toys themselves, I want to address the importance of STEM and STEM based toys (particularly for those that may not yet be familiar with the term). STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and it refers to an area of study that leads to specific kinds of technical knowledge and the resulting career opportunities that are born of a solid grounding in these particular fields.
In other words, kids that flourish in STEM subjects in school have a considerable advantage when it comes to their future careers. Jobs in STEM fields tend to be very lucrative (i.e., high paying) and highly sought after. Equally, people with skills in these subjects are in high demand in today’s increasingly tech based job market. It is for this reason that an early grounding in learning the key STEM subjects gives your child an increased chance of success in later life.
Many of today’s top tech toys incorporate key STEM principles and concepts that can give kids the foundation they need to do well both in school and in increasingly competitive work environments. Moreover, the right learning toy can also help to nurture the seeds of a child’s natural interest in a field such as science or engineering.
All parents want to give their child every opportunity to develop his or her own personal interests and the tools they need to succeed in life. While parents can’t (and shouldn’t) try to push their child into a career of the parent’s own choosing (kids must ultimately choose for themselves), it is highly desirable to give kids the tools and knowledge they need to open up the widest possible world of opportunity for their future lives.
The toys in today’s list provide a very good learning start for either boys or girls.
Great Learning Toys for Little People
The first item on today’s list is a fun new toy called the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach ‘n Tag Movi, and it’s great for preschool aged kids of either sex. Among Movi’s top features are a set of wheels that allow it to roll around in any direction, prompting your child to develop his or her motor skills through movement based play. But Movi isn’t just a physical activity toy. It also includes exciting game modes (3 of them, in fact, with 6 unique games) that encourage learning in a variety of different areas. For example, there are games to help kids develop their language skills, as well as games designed to encourage problem-solving and other cognitive based abilities. Essentially, Movi helps the very youngest among to take their first educational steps in life, long before they begin their formal educations. It’s pretty much what Fisher-Price does best. (Note: One of our writers is currently testing this toy as part of a complete blog review, so watch for that article right here very soon.)
Another great choice for kids ages 2 and up is the long gone but never forgotten Teddy Ruxpin 14″ Animatronic Reading Bear. In hibernation since sometime in the 80s, Teddy R is back and waaaaay better than ever! This story telling bear is all about fun and learning how to read. And that’s because kids are able to read along with Teddy via digital books that they view in the Teddy Ruxpin App. Believe me, 80s Teddy Ruxpin didn’t even know what an app was! Who did? Teddy 2.0 here works with Bluetooth on virtually any smart device, so he’ll be helping your kids learn to read (and keeping them entertained) any time, any place. Bring him along on long car rides to teach and entertain the tots, or bring him to the grandparents house to show off to Nan and Grandpa. Your kids are going to love this fuzzy talking bear! And Teddy Ruxpin can do a whole lot more than that too. But don’t take my word for it—another of our excellent writers is reviewing this bear right now, so a full report with all the details is coming to the blog soon soon soon.
Popular Learning Toys for Slightly Older Kids
Another fun and educational option for the inquisitive youngster of either sex is the Osmo Genius Kit. This kit, best suited to kids ages 5 to 12, includes 5 educational games that allow your child to explore his or her talents in the areas of math (Numbers), spelling (Words), visual thinking (Tangram), problem solving (Newton), and creative drawing (Masterpiece) (Note: Those are the games’ actual names in parentheses). A number of different bits and pieces come with with this kit, including the Osmo Game System and base, along with a large quantity of playing pieces. However, you will need to supply your own iPad to use the Osmo system. Among the iPad models that can be used with this kit are the iPad Pro (9.7 inch), all iPad Mini and iPad Air models, and all iPad 2 (and up) models. Osmo actually offers several similar and related kits to this one, so you can expand your child’s playtime education in a number of fun, interesting, and useful directions.
Finally, there’s the Meccano M.A.X. Robot, which I’m including in the list not only because it perfectly fits our criteria, but also because I’m currently testing this robot for a full blog review, so be sure to keep an eye out right here for my complete review in the next week or so. In the mean time, I can tell you that this year’s flagship Meccano robot is as fun and educational as the Meccanoids of the previous 2 years. This 12″ tall robot is also a bot that you build yourself, and it features the amazing Meccano MeccaBrain, which allows M.A.X. to tell jokes and challenge your child with fun and interesting trivia (among many other things). Of course, M.A.X. is also a STEM robotics platform, meaning it’s designed to enhance play, turning it into an intellectually stimulating experience that’s every bit as much fun as kids expect in a toy. Other features of M.A.X. include its many meaningful facial expressions, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the option for app based control. Whether your child is a boy or a girl, they’re sure to benefit from the educational value of the Meccano M.A.X.
So there you have it, 4 great learning toys that are as educational as they are fun! Depending on your child’s own individual interests, you really can’t go wrong with any of the toys mentioned above. Let the learning begin!
You can find these and other great STEM and learning toys by visiting Best Buy Canada’s Smart Toys and Robotics page.