In your journey to provide the best possible future for your kid, you are undoubtedly looking for ways to set them up for success. As part of your exploration, you’ve likely already run into STEM toy mentions many times, and we want to take a moment to share with you what a STEM toy is (and isn’t), what the proven benefits of STEM toys are, and when it makes sense to introduce STEM toys to your kid.
What is STEM?
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. You likely notice these are the “hardcore” classes in school, with fixed, solid answers that are objective and built on concepts. Unlike language and fine arts or history, where subjectivity and memorization are king (or queen), STEM subjects place as much emphasis in knowing how to get the answer as they do in the final answer. No knock on the arts (what better way to get in your feels?) or history (nothing like context for why things are the way they are!); they are all important to a holistic education.
What are unique in STEM concepts are the methodologies and processes that allow anyone to arrive to the same answer. STEM concepts form a structured way of thinking and tackling problems that extends beyond STEM and into emotional and life challenges.
So, what is a STEM toy?
STEM toys are toys, kits, activities, or experiments that explore one or more of the four disciplines of STEM. Counting bears are STEM toys that encourage counting, chemistry sets are STEM kits that explore how various chemicals interact with each other, and model kits teach how things are built.
The thing all these STEM toys have in common is they are gateways to understanding things your kid encounters every day. Few things match the energy of a naturally curious kid, and STEM toys provide platforms for them to experiment and experience the world while connecting the dots at their own pace and finding their own points of passion.
OK, got it. When should I introduce my kid to STEM toys?
You likely already have! That said, it’s NEVER too early to introduce your kid to STEM toys and intentionally picking a STEM toys over the latest doll or action figure trend will give your kid a wider screen to project their imagination on. Even before toddling, your kid is able to begin identifying how shapes and colors interact, how things fit together (or are taken apart!), and knows there are consistent behaviors and attributes everything follows.
By the time you kid leaves the toddler phase, they are connecting things like light, gravity, magnetics, and cause-and-effect based on the experiences they have every day. STEM toys are a controlled canvas that empower your kid to explore concepts they observe in a curated manner to instill confidence and curiosity that will only grow as they progress through school.
Forget the heavy equations and technical books you read in school; STEM is the means to understanding our world and how things work. By inspiring the passion of journey and discovery, STEM toys provide the “why” to the “how”.