Playing with blocks is a time-honoured tradition of childhood experiences. Most of us have memories of construction toys like Meccano and good old fashioned wooden blocks to build with. For centuries, long before early childhood development studies, parents have understood that building projects are an important foundation to logical thinking in young children. Through experimentation, they discover the laws of gravity, structure, architecture, and aesthetics. This creates a depth of knowledge and understanding that could never be achieved through explanations at such a young age.
While your old block sets are still a great way to bond with your child, there are new developments in early childhood learning through toys specifically designed to enhance building logical abilities from a very young age.
The new Playmags line of magnetic building toys combines the mosaic quality of coloured tiles, the building insights of blocks, and the scientific marvel of magnets into one amazingly educational package
What are Playmags?
Playmags are coloured building tiles, about two inches square with magnets along the corners and sides. This allows children to lock them together and easily pull them apart, encouraging infinite combinations. Each tile can link on all sides, creating lines, then mosaics, and finally stacked into increasingly complex buildings. While many of the tiles are square, Playmags has many construction shapes like long and short triangles, windows, cart, door, and fence pieces, allowing your child to get truly creative with their building projects.
Encouraging Motor Skills
Every action your young child takes is practice for future skilled motor movement. Playmags are big enough to hold easily but complex enough to encourage detailed manipulation. When your child builds things with Playmags, they grasp, pull, set together, stack, and constantly re-arrange the pieces in order to create project after project of colourful and detailed houses, castles, inspiring colourful sky scrapers.
Imaginative and Creative Play
Playmag constructions are as easy to take apart as they are to build, but still resistant to the upsetting 'tumble' of classic wooden blocks. When your child is constantly rebuilding their Playmags projects, they are actively imagining new designs and ways to use each piece in a creative new way. As your child stretches their imagination, more toys will be pulled into the play and the buildings they create will become stages for the incredible adventures of cars, dolls, and action figures.
Math, Geometry, and Science
Every shape has a mathematical truth inherent to it that can be learned at any age. Squares can only have four partners, except when they are part of a cube or connected to other shapes with smaller sides. Triangles can have three partners and can come together to form pyramids if they are all the same height. Combining triangles of different sizes and angles create unique shapes and introduce the concept of mosaics, pictures made with geometric tiles. Without realizing it, your child will gain a deep basic knowledge of the wonders of math, geometry, and science long before their first day of school.
Learning STEM Skills
As your child builds with Playmags, they are gaining a vital understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills, which often come together because the STEM concepts are so closely linked. Through geometry and construction, they learn about math and engineering, while the interplay of architecture and magnets teaches science and technology. This elegant culmination of learning opportunities happens without a teacher or a single word of explanation. The child learns on their own because it's fun, never realizing the amazing educational boost they're getting from early childhood toys.
Playmags are the culmination of generations of early childhood development toys designed specifically to help children learn about fundamentals years before they are ready to learn through long form lessons. Your children will play for hours creatively building and rearranging the colourful magnetic tiles into more and more complex constructions. After a few weeks, you'll be amazed to discover incredible new ways colourful squares and triangles can be combined into complex architectural wonders, all before they start kindergarten. With Playmags, anything is possible.
For our full range of Playmags, please click here.
One of the most vital skills in today's tech-driven world is coding. Parents who want to give their kids the best possible start in life already know that they need those critical technology skills to help them advance in their future careers--and girls, in particular, need to have that interest in coding nurtured from a young age in order to help them break through the limitations placed on them and accomplish something incredible. With all the warnings about excessive screen time use, however, many parents worry about finding the balance. If you want to teach your child to code without allowing them to lounge in front of a screen, Cubetto is the ideal toy for your child.
No Screen, Lots of Interaction
Cubetto doesn't require a screen in order to teach your child the basics of coding. Instead, this little wooden robot--which is electronic, and requires AA batteries in order to work--helps expand your child's mind and teaches them basic coding skills by encouraging them to interact with the physical robot. By inserting the little coding cubes into the robot, children can learn what each type of "code" accomplishes, therefore allowing them to create longer, more complex strings. Cubetto communicates between the coding board and the robot using Bluetooth technology.
Cubetto comes complete with a storybook that will allow your child to explore creatively. Cubetto's comparatively plain face and lack of other ornamentation means that your child can assign the robot whatever character they like, expanding their mind while engaging in the creative storytelling process with the robot. Not only that, story will engage your child's interest and encourage them to become more involved with Cubetto.
In addition to its storybook, Cubetto also contains maps that it can be programmed to navigate. Your child can pretend that Cubetto is going on an adventure, looking for treasure, or heading to visit a friend: if they can imagine it, Cubetto can follow their plans. These maps, which are designed to engage problem-solving skills, can be spread out on a table or on the floor so that Cubetto can quickly navigate across them. Note that falling off of the table could damage Cubetto, so if your child isn't quite proficient at programming Cubetto or you're worried that it will be dropped, keeping the materials on the floor is probably for the best.
Make Programming Accessible to All Ages
Cubetto's wooden coding pieces are designed to be accessible to a young audience. From their preschool years, children will enjoy interacting with Cubetto and discovering all that it can do. Older children, however, can still benefit from this exciting toy. Whether you're homeschooling or planning to use it to teach your children at home or ready to offer new materials for your classroom, Cubetto is here to help. Its classic design won't give older kids the impression that they're playing with a toddler toy; rather, it will encourage them to learn coding skills and enjoy it in the process no matter what their age.
If you're ready to start giving your child the basics of coding that they will need in order to successfully navigate future job opportunities in STEM fields, Cubetto is the ideal addition to their toy box. This great toy will teach your child without ever letting them know that they're learning. What could be better than a simple little robot that your child will come to assign with emotions, attitude, and personality as they use it to develop skills that will last them a lifetime? Bring Cubetto home today and start discovering everything that your child can accomplish.
Cubetto is available now and can be purchased by simply clicking here.
Toy companies all over the world have been striving to create the perfect early childhood construction experience. Building things is an important learning stage for young children, instilling a deep understanding of gravity, aesthetics, architecture, and the STEM connections between all three. With hundreds of options to choose from, parents often struggle to know which educational toy will help their child most. 'Simple' construction projects often involve glue or tape, while more complex toys include hooks, fasteners that can be difficult for little hands. However, a Netherlands architect may have created the most simple yet innovative building toy that has ever hit the market.
What are Kapla Blocks?
Kapla blocks are smooth, uniform planks designed with the perfect ratio for experimental construction. They were invented in 1987 by a man named Tom van der Bruggen whose dream home was a castle. While preparing to convert a lovely farm in France, he began experimenting with scale models made from wooden blocks to see what the structure would look like when he had finished. However, the bocks he had were surprisingly unsuited to building, especially when creating even surfaces that flowed well into one another like walls and floors, roofs and lintels. Undeterred, he crafted for himself a large set of perfect building blocks, which took the form of smooth little planks.
The Kapla Ratio
It's only natural to wonder what Kapla planks have over normal wooden building blocks, and the answer is math! Every plank is crafted to be perfectly uniform with a 1x3x5 ratio. This means that three Kapla planks stacked are equal to the height of one plank standing up on its side, while five laid across is equal to the longest side of a single plank. Anyone who's ever played the stacking game Jenga will recognize the power of the 3x1 and the Kapla planks refine this concept to create the most versatile building and stacking options imaginable.
Building STEM Skills with Kapla
Children learn based on the principles shown in their toys. Anyone who has watched a small child play can see the wheels turning in their minds as they find new creative ways to build structures and stories with their toys, constantly inventing things to build and ways a toy can be used. Kapla blocks encourage children to learn about the inherent power of the mathematic ratio and its application to architecture. What falls down and why? How many stacked blocks equals one block on its end? What can be made, and how can it be made more stable? Your child will learn not only about building, but how to build well with sound architectural methods that will give them a permanent boost in math and science during their later school years.
Your Own Little Gnomes
The name "Kapla" is a friendly abbreviation of the creator's original name for his delightful building tools, "Kabourter Plankjes". This unusual phrase means "gnome planks" in Dutch, bringing to mind the idea of tiny industrious builders putting together the scale model of his castle by stacking these little planks. With Kapla, your toddlers become adorable building gnomes and can stay occupied for hours trying new creative ways to combine the blocks and build something magical. Don't be surprised if you're drawn into that gnomish urge to build as well. Many adults find themselves spending more time playing with their children, captivated by the delight of complex construction with simple but incredibly reliable materials.
Whether you start with a small single-colour kit or go all-out with a multi-coloured packs or even the kit of a thousand, Kapla planks will keep your child building and learning STEM skills as they approach school age and beyond.
Kapla planks won the prestige 2006 Dr. Toy Ten Best Toy Award!
For our full range of Kapla wooden planks, please click here.
Read some of our Customers Reviews:
Kapla 200 Wooden Building Block Set - "Great to build with - stable and easy to use. Grandkids had a lot of fun building all sorts of things".
Kapla 280 Wooden Building Block Set - "My grandchildren had a great time creating all sorts of structures. Easy to use and very stable. What a great toy".
Until next time remember learning should be fun.
Magnetic building tiles are an excellent STEM toy, which encourages creativity in your child, allowing them to build amazing creations. When it comes time to choose the brand that will work best for them, you want to be sure that you're getting the right one. If you are trying to decide between Playmags vs. Magna Tiles? We have put together a simple to understand comparison below.
Durability and Performance
When it comes to durability and performance, both Playmags and Magna Tiles hold up well. They're designed to take heavy use and keep on ticking. In fact, both of these great products will allow for many hours of creative play in your home.
They are tough little toys and, as a bonus, they're a building toy that won't get sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. They are also a little larger than many of the building blocks on the market for older kids. So vital pieces will be less likely to go missing at the wrong moment. As a bonus, they all stick to one another for easier clean-up and organisation.
They can handle being stacked high, smashed down, and played with on a regular basis. This is great! Because when you bring these toys into your home, you will discover that your kids can't wait to play with them, build them up and then knock them down and start all over again. In comparing Playmags vs. Magna-tiles, they are equal in durability and performance, although Playmags are a lower price. Making them a better deal for your money.
Both Playmags and Magna Tiles offer a wide range of creative opportunities. If your child can imagine it, they can find a way to build it with these great toys! If you're looking for the toy that offers a wider creative range, Playmags offer a larger variety of pieces than Magna-Tiles. Including wheels, windows, and car bases. Encouraging your children to engage in even more creative play. When you want truly limitless building opportunities, Playmags offer a better opportunity. From constructing houses with windows to creative vehicles. Playmags has a wider range of pieces that offer more creative fun.
Connecting to Other Brands
Playmags are designed to connect well with other brands of magnetic tiles. Including Magna Tiles. That means that if you want to add to your child's set, you don't have to worry about choosing the brand they already have! The versatile pieces easily connect. Even if you mix and match brands, allowing them full creative freedom.
Comparing Playmags vs. Maga Tiles for Shapes and Freedom
Both Playmags and Magna Tiles offer a broad range of shapes that will allow your child the freedom to design amazing creations. They have varying sizes of rectangles and squares and different shapes of triangles. All designed to fit together in your child's custom creation. Although Playmags have a wider variety of options. Allowing for a greater range of creative exploration.
Whether these are a quiet time toy on a rainy-day or simply an addition to your child's creative toy box. Magnetic building tiles of either brand offer a wide range of creative benefits.
If you're looking for a magnetic building set and can’t decide between Playmags vs. Magna tiles, you can't go wrong with either brand. Both sets will offer hours of entertainment for your child. While encouraging them to increase their spatial understanding, their interaction with geometry and more.
Magnetic building tiles are amazing toys! That will be sure to capture your kids' attention and encourage them to engage in creative play. When it comes down to a direct comparison of Playmags vs. Magna Tiles, Playmags clearly win out as the superior toy. Bring them home for your child today and watch them light up while engaging in creative play that's sure to last for hours.
Our full range of Magnetic Tiles can be found here.
Wooden toys or plastic? When you're choosing toys for your kids, it's tempting to buy into the excitement of brightly coloured plastic that represents their favourite television characters. What's not to love about tiny plastic princesses, plastic blocks in bright primary colours, and more? While those toys are an good choice, selecting wooden toys for kids is a great way to encourage their creativity and help them play the way kids were meant to.
1. Wooden toys are safer. Wooden toys tend to be larger, designed without small pieces that can easily go missing, and created without the use of toxic chemicals that can be damaging to young minds and bodies. Even better, they don't run on batteries! Whether you're looking for a peg puzzle or checking out an assortment of musical toys, choosing wood as the material for your kids' toys is the best way to make sure they're getting the safest toys on the market.
2. Wooden toys are appropriate for kids of all ages. Many wooden toys, like this wooden block set or this set of pattern boards and blocks have a timeless appeal that will keep your kids playing with them for years. If you have children of many different ages in your home, all with different interests, this is particularly valuable in keeping the clutter down. Even a single child, however, will get benefits out of wooden toys, which they'll keep playing with for years.
3. Wooden toys are long-lasting. Those wooden toys that you purchase for your kids today are durable and tough enough to stand up to multiple children and still be around if you want to keep them for your grandchildren. Many plastic toys are crafted with cheap materials and end up breaking soon after you bring them home, especially if you have a high-energy child who is often hard on their toys. Wooden toys, however, are designed tough. Check out these great options for play food that will strike your child's creativity and teach them about healthy eating all in one, or take a look at these great wooden dolls that will keep your dollhouse filled with fun for years.
4. Wooden toys encourage creativity. Creativity is a vital life skill for kids. They need creative play to teach them to think outside the box later in life, to develop problem-solving skills, and to help their brains develop to their full potential. Many plastic toys come with bells and whistles that distract from creative play: flashing lights, electronic sounds, and interactive screens that do the playing for your child. Many wooden toys, however, are designed to help creativity thrive. Whether your child is pretending to blast off to the moon or creating their own fairy town, wooden toys are exactly what they need to encourage that creative spark.
5. Wooden toys are created to support problem-solving skills. From early colour and shape sorting to mazes, games, and more, wooden toys are designed to help your child learn and grow. Most manufacturers of wooden toys acknowledge that their toys are more expensive than their plastic counterparts. As a result, they go the extra mile to ensure that their toys come complete with hours of play time. No matter what skills your child is working on, there's a wooden toy designed to offer hours of play.
Choosing wooden toys for your child is a great way to encourage creative play. Your child doesn't need a huge variety of toys. In many cases, that variety just results in play frustration that makes it hard for them to choose what to do next! Instead, investing in wooden toys will enable your child to enjoy creative play for a lifetime.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for a form of education that focuses on the four specific disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The introduction of STEM as a national education strategy in Australia is evidence of the country’s recognition of the importance of fostering scientific and technological competence in schoolchildren. STEM’s cross-disciplinary approach begins with young children and includes the involvement of parents and community members whenever possible. As a result of the focus on STEM, employment is projected to increase in scientific and technical fields, thereby lending support to the strategy.
What Are the Primary Goals of STEM Education?
Like other educational initiatives, STEM education was designed with specific goals in mind. STEM initiatives are carried out with the following short-term and long-term goals in mind:
- To make sure that students complete school with a strong working knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
- To inspire students to want to take more STEM classes in the future
- To prepare students for careers in STEM-related disciplines upon graduation
- Support STEM initiatives in schools
- Create a robust collection of evidence through effective reporting and data sharing
These goals are achieved by emphasizing the importance of core subject knowledge in STEM and encouraging schools to foster students’ curiosity about STEM. These tasks are not always easy, as STEM subjects can be particularly challenging for students, especially during the secondary school years.
How Are Schools and the Community at Large Supporting STEM Initiatives?
The most important way that schools and communities can support STEM initiatives is to create and nurture a culture that emphasizes the importance of STEM. While this task can seem overwhelming, there are specific steps that schools, parents and community leaders can take to create a culture that supports STEM:
- First, recognize the need for a cooperative effort between schools, parents and the community
- Begin exposing students to STEM-related career options when students are very young
- Encourage all teachers to devote increased focus to mastering STEM subject matter
- Parents can build upon their children’s curiosity in STEM subjects by exposing them to STEM-related activities outside of school
Identifying Opportunities for Improvement in STEM
While the STEM educational culture has already produced some successes, the STEM ecosystem is in need of improvements. STEM deficits are present among certain student populations, outlining the need for additional attention. Below are four areas that require special attention and support from STEM proponents:
- Attract more high quality educators to teach STEM classes
- Encourage students to exhibit higher levels of participation and engagement in STEM education opportunities
- Build additional partnerships between schools and community businesses with a STEM focus
- Focus additional efforts on increasing engagement among females and students from rural areas, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds
Achievement of these improvements requires the participation of businesses and community leaders. Successful examples are currently unfolding in Australia, with businesses such as IBM committing to participate in pilot projects affiliated with Newcomb Secondary College and Federation College.
What Does STEM Mean for Children Now and in the Future?
As a result of Australia’s increased focus on STEM in schools, statisticians predict that employment in scientific and technical services will increase by 14 percent over the next five years. The increase in health care related jobs is expected to grow approximately 20 percent within this same timeframe. These findings are exciting given the fact that STEM-related jobs play such a key role in innovation and Australia’s ability to compete with other countries in the areas of math and science. Additionally, the predicted increase in scientific and technical service employment lends to the evidence supporting STEM education as an educational strategy that produces measurable results.
For our full collection of STEM Toys please click here.
Properly educating young children today is of primary importance to ensure a better tomorrow for everyone. Though learning basic facts has great value, teaching also needs to include making certain that children become skilled in how better to learn overall, which will help them navigate through life and contribute more to society.
STEM education concentrates on four basic areas of knowledge -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These encourage a child how to think for themselves by giving each child the skills that will help them succeed in almost any area of life.
Strong STEM Skills Lead To:
Better Communication -- To succeed, communicating well orally and in writing is tantamount. The ability to understand what someone has said and/or written, and to also relate that understanding to others in a clear and concise manner, builds self-confidence and leadership skills.
Better Problem Solving -- In today's world of growing technology, it's more important than ever to attain the ability to solve problems when things go wrong. You can't always look up the answer in a book. You need the ability to assess a situation and quickly figure out a solution.
Better at Critical Thinking -- Instead of believing everything someone tells you or everything that you read, it's imperative to understand how to interpret and analyze what's presented to make the best decisions in life.
Better Creativity -- Almost every new product or invention came about due to someone's creativity in coming up with something society needs. Without the ability to think independently and explore new avenues, society won't advance in the arts, in technology, or any other area.
Often children don't understand the need for these skills and don't find STEM topics interesting because they're not taught in a manner that engages the child. Using educational toys, games, and puzzles are a perfect way to get your child excited to learn more about these subjects.
Toys to Engage a Child's Interest to Learn:
Magna Tiles -- These colourful tiles, made of clear plastic with small magnets, combine mathematics and creativity by allowing your child to build their own geometrically shaped structures. Appropriate for boys and girls, 3 years and older, they can create 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional objects while learning how to put basic shapes together.
GoldieBlox -- This game introduces girls, 4 years and older, to engineering by allowing them to build objects using hinges and levels. This is not only a construction set, but it's also a book series, giving them a fun story to follow while they build. This game increases spatial skills and teaches confidence in problem-solving.
Laser Pegs -- Boys, especially, with love these sets. For children 5 years and older, they can build sports cars and trucks, as well as space fighters, different types of helicopters, and planes of all sorts. Laser Pegs even light up! Their unique design makes them compatible with other types of building sets for even more enjoyment. These sets improve hand/eye coordination, promote cognitive development, inspire creativity, and develop math and reasoning skills.
Roominate -- This set teaches girls, 6 years and older, creative building. It's a modular building toy, where they can let their ideas flow. For example, they can put together their dream home, even creating a working doorbell, spinning fan, elevator, and more. If they're interested in a multi-level building, they can build that too. Their only limitation is their creativity and imagination.
IQ Key -- This is the perfect science toy system for children 9 years and older. It will introduce mechatronics (different fields of engineering) and robotics to your child. These are specifically designed to teach children how things work. Your child can create their own unique robot!
These are just a few examples of toys you can use to engage your child in learning. Contact us for more information about building STEM skills. For our full collection of STEM Toys please click here.
Our goal is to aid in developing young minds by providing the best educational toys from all around the world!