The world is changing at a breathtaking speed, particularly in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The careers that your children will pursue after school probably don't even exist today. So what's a parent to do? How do you prepare your child for a future you can't even imagine?
The good news is that while technology will certainly change, the qualities that make someone an excellent candidate to work in a STEM field do not. Even better, encouraging these qualities as your kids grow is something you can absolutely do. One might even say it's child's play. Here are some important qualities for future STEM superstars, and the magnetic construction toys to nurture them.
Spatial reasoning is usually explained as having the ability to mentally understand shapes. Someone who is good at spatial reasoning can imagine how an object would look if it were rotated in different directions. But as this skill develops, it becomes refined into a wider ability for abstract reasoning. In other words, kids who start out with a grasp of how things work in physical space become adults who have a grasp of ideas and their ramifications.
Of course, a good place to start is by introducing your child to magnetic building toys. Scientists have shown that when children are working with building toys, their language shifts to spatial talk. Geomag is a great example of a magnetic construction toy that allows children to explore different ways of constructing in any 3-D shape they can imagine. They not only let kids explore building shapes, but also magnet polarity. From toddlers to young teens, Geomag offers both open-ended sets and ones that produce specific results, such as a magnetic track. Magnets enable kids to attach the pieces easily, so frustration about assembly doesn't hold them back.
GeoSmart is another example of an excellent building toy. These brightly coloured geometric shapes that attach magnetically offer a wide range of play. Some sets are designed to build special projects (Mars Explorer, anyone?), while others are basic shapes for self-directed play.
Another vital skill for future STEM workers is the ability to think analytically. The mind that is adept in this way can identify problems and effectively seek solutions. It's not hard to see how this would be an asset in STEM careers, where innovation and problem-solving are in constant use.
When children play at building things they are naturally going to run up against problems and be challenged with how to solve them. Magformers give them the opportunity to do just that. These bright, magnetic shapes can be used for creative play, or to assemble things like a remote control cruiser. Whether kids are working to bring their own vision into reality or puzzling through the process of putting together the parts for a specific outcome, they will have to figure out how to solve the obstacles that naturally come.
Tegu is an unusual example of a magnetic construction toy that will help children develop analytical skills. These smooth wooden blocks, either tinted in a range of gentle shades or left naturally coloured, are perfectly suited to open-ended play. These blocks come together in a wide variety of ways, challenging kids to explore the many options they offer for creating.
Of course, no STEM worker is an island. Whether they are working with other scientists, coders, engineers, or mathematicians, they will need to be able to communicate their ideas and understand the viewpoints of others.
When kids work together to construct something, whether something of their own design or someone else's, they will eventually run into conflict about how they should proceed. They may just need to learn how to communicate their ideas, or they may need to negotiate a mutual plan. Either way, building together is an irreplaceable way for them to develop those skills, in a fun atmosphere of play.
Playmags, featuring bright magnetic panels in a wide variety of shapes, are an excellent example of the kind of toy kids can use to create shared masterpieces. They can work together to form their own design, exploring the many ways two-dimensional shapes can come together to make different three-dimensional forms. Or they can figure out how to follow directions together to assemble a remote control car.
For even more options for different kinds of magnetic construction toys, take a look at some of the other product lines we offer, including Neopuzzles, Magsnaps, Smartmax and Magna Tiles. There is a wide variety of options, from simple universal building shapes to a sky track, with different ways to assemble for use with a shuttle car.
Providing your child with toys that will help them develop important skills can only benefit them in the future. And no matter what career they end up in, magnetic construction toys will give them hours of fun.