Uproxx knows that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines are driving the future of this planet forward. Every day, we see new ideas, fresh innovations, and bold trailblazers in these fields. Follow us this month as we highlight how STEM is shaping the culture of NOW.
If we want to invest in the next generation, it’s vital that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is started at a young age. Early STEM intervention teaches kids creativity, hand-eye coordination, detail-oriented skills, and ingenuity. It also helps kids think through and combat challenges, while teaching them that they have the capability to invent their own solutions.
STEM education leads to more children thriving in science and math which will lead to more qualified adults stepping into STEM careers. This is good news for our future innovators: According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are only growing at 9.8%.
While it’s important that young students are exposed to STEM in a school setting, it’s just as important that they encounter STEM at home. This will encourage them to seek out science and math tracks in school, and will hopefully lead to more diversity in the workforce.
One fantastic way to get young minds enthused about STEM is through toys — which give children an introduction to big concepts while encouraging them to play. We decided to take a closer look at a few favorites:
These tiles help kids develop patterning, shape recognition, building, and motor skills. The magnets in them make it harder for them to crash and fall apart so your kid is bound to feel less frustrated. Which is just a win all around. Unlike legos, they won’t murder your feet when you step on them, and the shapes allow creations to have a more artistic flair than other blocks. Which is going to make it so much easier for you to brag about your kid’s building prowess on Facebook.
Future geologists need to blend a little destructiveness with learning and science, don’t they? This kit includes seven real geodes for children to break open and discover the crystals inside. There’s also an activity booklet, magnifying glass, and guide for kids to explore as they learn more about their specific rocks and the process that formed them.
You have to watch the video above to get a full understanding of how it works but this introduction to coding allows kids to create a video game with their own levels, world, story, and characters. And then they get to play it! There are endless possibilities to the games you can create, making this a toy that will keep giving and giving. Especially if it points your kid toward a career.
This cool toy will give kids a basic understanding of electricity. All the parts use real electronic names and symbols to introduce youngsters to real-world applications, and the instruction manual has over 300 experiments that can help them figure out how to do things like make doorbells, radios, alarms, flashlights, and more.
This is a brilliant way for kids to learn coding on their very own robot. It can be synced with your iPad but also responds to voice commands. It comes with tons of projects, challenges, and puzzles for kids so as they learn to control and code their robot, they also get lots of fun brain exercises too.
This coding toy for younger kids is designed to help train their brains to learn patterns and sequencing while trying to get the Code-a-pillar to move the way they want. Every time they rearrange the toy they can make the Code-a-piller crawl in new directions and in new patterns — a great way to teach planning and encourage creativity in the early stages of development.
This is a great toy to teach both engineering and physics. Using Legos, kids can create a variety of different machines that spin, swing, pivot, roll, lift, and drop. And they can put them together to create their very own Rube Goldberg machines. There are lots of complicated thought processes that go into creating fun chain reactions, and a wide-range of combinations to try.
This kit introduces kids to strategy and the game of chess in a really fun way. At the first level, each player chooses one card (which has different chess moves on them), which means that the game is less about strategy (because it’s all random chance) and all about learning the rules. Then the players graduate to pulling three cards. This gives kids the opportunity to make a decision as to which card would be the smartest move. And eventually, once they get the rules, it functions as a regular chess set. It’s fun on all levels, and helps form probability, strategy, and tactics.
This neat little bot teaches preschool kids the basics of coding by using emojis to help them understand basic programming commands, making the process silly, but also highly accessible. The app associated is easy to use, too. And the little robot is super interactive.
This fun beginners chemistry kit offers 20 different experiments and gently allows kids to begin to understand chemical reactions in a dynamic, yet fun way. Clean up and materials are easy, and the experiments encourage kids to learn about the scientific process. Which, again, can set them off on a lifetime interest in science and STEM fields. And that’s a boon to us all, because the world needs a bright and passionate new generation of thinkers dedicated to making everything a bit better for us all.