There is something inherently delightful about physics. Children love to play with dominoes, marbles, and fans. Anything that moves in response to nature's forces can create an inspirational play. Children can learn physics from first principles with just a few essential toys, called "rational toys". Children can build worlds and understand early STEM concepts with little more than a few blocks, balls, ramps, spinners, and other simple items that can be carved out of wood.
The only question is which elements to add to your child's toybox? Fortunately, child development is a science that has been studied for hundreds of years and dates back further than ancient Egypt. From pre-historic boardgames to the balanced physics blocks of today, we can now assemble an ideal collection of rational toys to inspire young children in early STEM learning.
The Action-Reaction Series of Cause-and-Effect Rational Toys
The Djeco team has been making child-development toys since 1954, proudly advancing toy design with each breakthrough in developmental science. Today, we understand that STEM basics can be learned through play at an early age. The key is to have the right toys and the freedom to explore. To this end, Djeco has developed the Zig & Go Action Reaction series of rational toy collections.
Each Zig & Go kit contains a synergistic set of carved wooden toys. Each explores a unique element of physics, making them essential elements of a rational toy collection. Levers, dominoes, hoops, and tracks create a fascinating set of cause-and-effect adventures to build and trigger.
Learning Through Cause and Effect
Cause-and-effect is the core principle of all scientific thought. When a child drops a ball, it falls every time. This is the beginning of rational logic, reasoning, and a deep personal understanding of physics. Tipping a domino or setting the fulcrum point on a lever can reveal the relationship between gravity, force, and torque.
Children also learn that their actions have concrete results. Rolling a ball down a ramp has the same effect every time, and can tip over a domino at the end. But they can also change the result by making a choice to change the ramp or move the first domino. Cause-and-effect is the first step to the scientific method and can be discovered through inspirational play.
Why Combine Rational Toys
The purpose of each Zig & Go Action Reaction set is to combine different types of rational toys into an interconnected cause-and-effect game. Each set includes dominos and a unique collection of other wooden physics elements. There are levers to tip, hoops to roll through or around, and tracks with balls to roll down. One set includes a small xylophone played by a rolling wooden ball. One has a rolling car track, or a rolling ball track, or a rolling spool. One has a large hoop and a bell that rings when struck, another has an adjustable marble track pegboard.
These toy sets are designed to inspire children to build unique combinations of action-reaction elements. One element triggers the next no matter how they are combined. They can also easily be built into a larger collection of rational and imagination toys. The elements are so simple that they naturally interact with other toys and play pursuits.
Inspiring Early STEM Learning
STEM learning stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This all starts with a basic understanding of physics. Just as children can learn biology from caring for pets, the basic STEM concepts begin with rational toys. These toys inspire rational learning through play, exploring the basic rules of our world with a variety of cause-and-effect reactions to be explored.
Djeco presents the Zig and Go Action Reaction series to help inspire children toward their natural STEM potential and talents. Let these elements become the foundation of your child's toybox, providing developmental inspiration for years of STEM essential play.
The Zig and Go Action Reaction Series contains the following sets:
Djeco Zig and Go Action Reaction 25 Piece Set
Djeco Zig and Go Action Reaction 27 Piece Set
Djeco Zig and Go Action Reaction 28 Piece Set
Djeco Zig and Go Action Reaction 45 Piece Set
Djeco Zig and Go Action Reaction 48 Piece Set
With the world constantly changing and becoming more complex, it's crucial now more than ever for young kids to grasp STEM concepts. STEM learning focuses kid's attention on science, technology, engineering, and math to build critical thinking skills and gain a greater sense of curiosity. It's never too early to start implementing STEM, starting as early as infants!
Specially engineered educational STEM toys allow babies and children to think outside of the box, evaluate information, and figure out the solution on their own using a fun hands-on approach. This knowledge will not only help children excel in school but will also help better prepare them for their adult lives.
Benefits of Encouraging STEM Early
STEM learning leads to innovation and new ideas. Think of all the exciting technology we've created throughout the years, the powerful human mind created it. Without this type of creativity, this new technology would not exist! Future generations will thrive by starting STEM early and coming up with new, great ideas all on their own.
Taking risks can lead to great outcomes. Without these risks, we wouldn't have most of the technology and products we use today. These types of innovations were created by people who live by the motto, "let's try it and see what happens!". Encouraging this type of attitude right from the womb will allow kids to be more confident in experimenting and taking positive risks during many events throughout their lives.
Teaches Problems-Solving Skills
STEM learning helps kids see the problem and then create a solid plan to solve that problem using critical thinking skills. For example, if a toddler is placing a block on his tower and it keeps falling, they will continue trying other locations to place it until it stays put. Solving the problem all on their own will build self-confidence too.
Teaches Adaptation Importance
As adults, we know that life includes a lot of trial and error. Young kids have to learn this on their own. STEM education helps teach kids how to adapt to different scenarios as they try to find a solution.
Creates Resilient Humans
Failure is an important lesson that humans have to learn. By providing kids with a safe play environment, they can fail comfortably and simply try again. No shame or judgment is involved. The value of failing is a great learning experience to embrace early on in kids' lives. It will create incredible resilience which will encourage your child to keep going when the going gets rough! Failure ultimately leads to success later on.
Lifelong Love of Learning
STEM is all about motivation, engagement, and real-world inspiration. There is a purpose behind every play session or activity, and it simply makes sense for kids! Deeper learning and engagement leads to a better understanding of concepts which results in an eagerness to learn more. Having a love for school can make all the difference in your child's life.
STEM Ideas for Infants-Preschoolers
Children are born naturally curious about the world around them, so it's crucial that we give them lots of different opportunities to learn through play. By providing innovative play at home, your child's STEM education can begin as early as you'd like! Real life objects such as a water bottle, textured paper, or even an apple can be great objects for your young child to explore (with close supervision).
Educational STEM toys are specifically engineered for your child to figure them out. Building blocks, gravity mazes, marble runs, magnets, suspension games, and wooden blocks are all terrific open-ended learning games just to name a few. For toddlers and preschoolers, baking can be a great STEM activity including them in the process of measuring, pouring, mixing, and baking to create a delicious end product. Another great real-world STEM application is a trip to a science museum or zoo! STEM learning doesn't have to be accomplished solely through textbooks later on in life, get your young kids excited about STEM toys and other hands-on opportunities today!
Kidzinc is dedicated to developing young minds through the power of play. We provide an impressive amount of STEM toys specifically for babies, preschoolers and older kids. Don't wait another day to help encourage your child to learn through the power of STEM!
The Best STEM Education Coding Toys
This Christmas, don't give your kids another toy that will be used a handful of times before being discarded in favour of something more interesting. Instead, give them the gift of knowledge in the form of these fascinating STEM toys that will catch their attention while teaching them at the same time. When learning becomes a game, children will be more likely to excel in a wide range of subjects--and you can place that gift under the tree this year.
Below we have categorized some of our best STEM education toys, to make choosing the ideal toy an easy decision.
1. ThinkFun: Code Master Programming Logic Game
The Code Master Programming Logic Game brings the principles of coding to life without requiring your child to spend endless hours in front of a computer screen. Instead, you'll be able to introduce your child to fascinating coding concepts through a board game that simultaneously builds problem-solving, planning, and spatial reasoning skills. There's only one specific set of actions that will bring success on each level, allowing your child to solve the challenge and enter the portal. It's hours of fun that will help build your child's mind and keep them away from screens throughout the holiday break from school.
2. Littlebits: Electronics Gizmos and Gadgets Set
Have a young inventor on your hands who is constantly fidgeting with gadgets and gizmos? This great Electronics Gizmos and Gadgets toolkit is the perfect way to offer your child the freedom to invent to their heart's content. It comes complete with a wide selection of tools, accessories, and electronic components that will allow your child to create the inventions that have thus far existed only in their imagination. This creative toolkit will help expand your child's mind and help them feel like a true inventor.
3. Primo Toys: Cubetto
Cubetto is another tool for teaching programming without ever needing to sit in front of the computer--not to mention a great way to start giving toddlers and preschoolers the basics of coding. Cubetto is a little wooden robot with a big purpose: providing the basics of a programming background to even young children. With plenty of adventures and lots of hands-on play opportunities to choose from, Cubetto will be sure to entrance your child and teach them more about the wide world of STEM waiting for them.
4. Learning Resources: Coding Buddies Let's Go Activity Set
Teaching coding skills is well and good, but it's often a stationary process. The Coding Buddies Let's Go Activity Set, however, turns that expectation on its ear. With this great 50-piece activity set, kids will hop, jump, spin, twirl, and bounce their way through the basics of programming, building a deeper understanding of coding concepts while moving their bodies and having tons of fun. It also encourages teamwork and listening skills--valuable concepts to reinforce at any age. If you want to shake out the wiggles and break out the giggles while helping to increase your child's knowledge, the Coding Buddies set is a great way to get it done.
5. ThinkFun: Robot Turtles Game
In Robot Turtles, kids get to be the boss--and as they play with a parent, they'll quickly discover how their problem-solving skills can help them to reach their goals. This great game transforms the parent into a "computer" that follows the child's instructions as they work to move their turtle to its jewel. This fascinating game will bring hours of fun for the whole family while simultaneously building coding concepts that your child will be able to take with them in the future.
This holiday season, don't content yourself with ordinary toys that will only bring joy for a short time. Instead, choose from this great list of our best STEM education coding toys that will give your child a gift of learning that will last a lifetime.
STEM education is an incredibly important part of the education of every child. Without knowledge in science, math, technology, and engineering—the four fields "STEM" gets its name from—our society simply cannot move forward.
Unfortunately, traditional methods of teaching these subjects are often boring and unlikely to inspire future generations to build careers in these areas. In order to inspire our children, we must provide them with the tools they need to explore the world around them at their own pace. One of the best STEM tools out there is a set of Magna-Tiles or Playmags magnetic tiles.
If your child has ever played with Magna-Tiles or Playmags, they know just how fun they can be. Combining science, math, and creativity, these cool magnetic blocks offer kids endless opportunities to express themselves. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and each one boasts magnetic edges which stick to the sides of other blocks in the set. This means less frustration with collapsing structures, and more small-scale engineering as the child discovers all the amazing ways Magna-Tiles or Playmags can go together.
While building with Magna-Tiles or Playmags is a blast in and of itself, it doesn't have to be the only way these incredible educational blocks are used. Below is a list of four other ways Magna-Tiles can be used to expand upon your child's STEM education.
Magna-Tiles or Playmags are the perfect addition to any light table. If you've never seen one, imagine a table with a glowing top. Light tables provide sensory and exploratory fun for children of all ages.
If purchasing a light table isn't feasible for your family at the moment, you can roll your own by placing lights inside a transparent box. Just be sure to watch your child carefully when they play with it, to avoid burns.
Once you have a light table, just add a set of Magna-Tiles or Playmags on top for hours of awesome, stained-glass fun!
Because Magna-Tiles and Playmags are magnetic, they are perfect for adding some fabulous decorations to the front of your refrigerator. Begin by showing your child how the tiles stick to the fridge, and see where they go from there.
Soon enough, they will likely discover the fact that they can actually build out from the fridge and create three-dimensional fridge structures.
Adding some marbles or toy cars to your Magna-Tiles or Playmags play may not be the first thing to occur to you. However, these are actually an excellent addition to building time. Kids love tunnels, and tunnels built with Magna-Tiles or Playmags are the perfect size for tiny cars and marbles.
Tunnel building is an ideal opportunity for teaching some science lessons in gravity, physics, and energy, and it's all so fun that your children are sure to remember the lessons learned, whether they realize it or not. Tunnels can be built freestanding on the floor, or on the refrigerator or other magnetic surface.
Encourage the kids to experiment with different angles and several rolling objects. You'll be surprised just how much they absorb.
Magnetic blocks such as Magna-Tiles or Playmags present a great opportunity to introduce children to magnetism and why it works.
After discussing the science behind magnets, head out into the world — equipped with some tiles, of course — and experiment to find out what in our world is magnetic and what is not. Have the children make hypotheses, test their theories, and track the results. This is a great educational family activity!
These are just some of the awesome ways Magna-Tiles or Playmags can be used. By handing your child a set of these fantastic blocks, you will see just how many more there truly are.
A STEM education--that is, a focus on hands-on education that allows kids to improve their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math skills--is becoming critical for parents who want their kids to have the best chance in the world.
From using toys like Magna Tiles or Playmags and Laser Pegs for creative play that encourages these skills to using Goldieblox, Roominate and IQ Key to stimulate development in these critical areas, many parents are jumping on board with STEM education.
Wondering what the benefits of a STEM education will be for your child? Consider these clear advantages.
1. A STEM education encourages creativity. It helps kids think outside the box, encouraging them to use innovation skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. STEM Education practices aren't just about dry, rote learning, though many schools that follow the practice get that reputation. Instead, it's about teaching kids the how and why, then giving them the pieces and allowing their creativity to shine.
2. A STEM education provides a broader view of the world. Many students make it through school without understanding technology in any broader sense than computers and mobile phones. When they leave school, however, those same students are exposed to technology in a much more complicated sense. A STEM education, on the other hand, provides those students with the opportunity to experience those levels of technology earlier, better developing their understanding of the concepts that they'll face when they seek employment and giving them the opportunity to pursue deeper knowledge in fields that may later lead to employment.
3. STEM education bridges the gaps. In many fields, girls and minorities lag behind white male students. There's a bias in place that suggests that students without those advantages of birth won't be as successful in those fields. A STEM education, on the other hand, bridges that gap. It provides every student with the opportunity to master the skills that will advance their education to the university level and beyond, providing them with valuable knowledge and understanding that will later be critical to acquiring jobs.
4. A variety of fields use the skills acquired through a STEM education. Writers will find that it's much easier to acquire freelance jobs when they're able to write about technical subjects, and even the fashion and makeup industries are looking for individuals with this kind of education to help improve their businesses. STEM skills are becoming increasingly valuable for everyone, regardless of their preferred profession, and many people are discovering that developing those skills during childhood makes it natural. Kids whose toys are their tools will fall in love with the learning process and enhance their own success.
5. It improves kids' chances of succeeding in University. Students who have received a STEM education are better able to handle the rigors of University, assimilate new information, and cope with their course loads. They're also more likely to have high scores on their HSC exams, securing them better scholarships or a place at the University of their dreams. In short, giving students a STEM education early sets them up for success throughout the educational process.
Providing your child with a STEM education, whether through their school or with the materials you're providing at home, is the ideal way to see your child become more successful.
A STEM education doesn't just teach students about information they're supposed to assimilate. It also provides them with all of the critical pieces they need to know how to learn: how to stay current in their fields, how to improve their understanding of unfamiliar technology, and how to integrate the pieces into a functional whole.
At KidzInc we have a wonderful range of STEM Toys.
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 vs. Neopuzzle vs. Magformers TileBlox? We have put together a simple comparison to understand below.
Durability and Performance
When it comes to durability and performance, Magformers TileBlox, Playmags, Neopuzzle and Magna Tiles all hold up well. They're designed to take heavy use and keep on ticking. In fact, all four 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 vs. Neopuzzle vs Magformers TileBlox, they are all close to equal in durability and performance, although Neopuzzle is a lower price. Making them a better deal for your money. But we like the Magformers TileBlox as they are STEM.org certified.
Magformers TileBlox, Playmags, Neopuzzles, 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 a toy that offers a wider creative range, Neopuzzle offers a larger variety of pieces than Magna-Tiles. Including wheels, windows, and car bases in the 155 Piece Set.
Encouraging your children to engage in even more creative play. When you want truly limitless building opportunities, Neopuzzle offers a better opportunity. From constructing houses with windows to creative vehicles. Neopuzzle has a wider range of pieces that offer more creative fun.
Connecting to Other Brands
Magformers TileBlox, Playmags, and Neopuzzle magnetic tiles 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. Magna Tiles vs. Neopuzzle vs. Magformers TileBlox Tiles for Shapes and Freedom
Playmags, Magna Tiles, Magformers TileBlox, and Neopuzzle 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 and Neopuzzle 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 four of these brands 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 vs. Neopuzzle vs. Magformers TileBlox you can't go wrong with the Magformers TileBlox of Magnetic tiles of these brands. As they are the leading brand on the market for magnetic construction toys. All 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 vs. Neopuzzle, vs. Magformers TileBlox the TileBlox by Magformers clearly wins out as the superior toy as they are STEM.org and the brand has been around for a long time developing magnetic construction toys. Bring them home for your child today and watch them light up while engaging in creative play that's sure to last for hours.
There are other magnetic tiles on the market now in Australia such as Connetix Tiles, Kmart Tiles and Kidstuff Magnetika but in our opinion are an inferior copy of the MagnaTiles and Magformers. The latter two brands are well respected in the magnetic tile toy industry and are leaders in the field.
Please consider the safety of the magnet when choosing a magnetic tile for your child.
Our full range of Magnetic Tiles can be found here.
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.