Although computer programming has been a critical part of our world for over half a century, it can still be difficult to introduce the concepts of programming to a new user. Children, especially, can have trouble grasping the somewhat-abstract concepts of programming until everything "clicks". Tobbie II, the new coding robot from micro:bit, does an excellent job at building the bridge from programming ideas to action.
As everyone knows, programming skills are becoming critical for more and more careers. However, even if a child doesn't end up in the science or engineering fields, programming carries plenty of benefits that extend to any career path.
While it's the last time Tobbie II will resemble a traditional toy, the building process itself is the first fun step. Just like putting any other toy together, you'll need to carefully follow the instructions and get everything in place. Once Tobbie II is constructed with its motor, moving parts, and IR sensor, it's ready to move on to testing out some programs and teaching you and your children to code!
As soon as a user finishes a set of commands and pushes them to Tobbie II, you'll see it immediately attempt to follow the instructions. If something doesn't work, Tobbie will provide feedback on what needs to be changed in the code to get everything running. Tobbie II arrives with 12 programs immediately available for testing (light tracker, rock paper scissors, bowling, and a notice board application). After a short amount of time, you'll be able to edit these programs into your own versions and immediately see results as Tobbie executes the commands.
Perhaps most importantly, it's an absolute blast to play with Tobbie II. Whether you're just getting started and running the onboard programs or putting something together from scratch, working with the robot is fun at any age. Of course, there are dozens of benefits for growing children (even those outside the STEM field) but the foremost is that it's just fun!
To purchase the Tobbie II coding robot with micro:bit, please click here.
As a parent, you want only the best for your kids, and this includes the toys that buy for them. You want to give them a great start for them to grow a strong interest in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Your kids should grow up with a love for STEM that propels them into a STEM career that earns them 12 to 30% more than other occupations at all levels of education. But which toy is the right toy? Here's a look at the next generation in marble runs and how they encourage your child's love of STEM topics.
According to Beth Holloway, the director of the Women in Engineering Program at Purdue University, toys that utilize basic concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can do just that for all children, and, for girls, it can be even more important.
"Parents need to provide girls with toys that indulge their feminine side but also those that allow them to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from designing and building something," Ms. Holloway said. "Those accomplishments will encourage them to continue to stretch their imaginations."
With the seemingly endless cuts to public funding in the US for science, art, and music education, many parents are finding themselves searching for ways to stimulate their child's mind in addition to encouraging play. Experts agree that open-ended play with educational toys is an excellent choice to accomplish that goal. Still, as recently as 2017, Fast Company reported that STEM-based toys were only accounting for two percent of the direct-to-consumer toy market.
In addition to promoting an interest in STEM fields, there are many immediate benefits of encouraging play with STEM educational toys, including:
While there are a number of different choices that are all beneficial in their own way, marble run games are gaining popularity among children and educators alike. In addition to sparking creativity, encouraging spatial thinking, and teaching problem-solving skills, they bridge the age gap to allow interactive play between siblings while still allowing for even young children to create and discover on their own.
Modern-day marble run building sets, such as Mindware's award-winning Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Starter Box available in both Warm Colours and Cool Colours, allow for creative building options that would leave your child staring in amazement.
Consisting of open-sided cubes instead of the traditional tubes and connectors, engineers as young as six can learn the basic laws of gravity and movement while building everything from robots to more traditional mazes.
Q-BA-Maze 2.0 Starter Box Cool Colours Set
With gorgeous blue and green colors, this starter box of marble runs encourages your child to learn more about engineering and design and also helps them explore angles and enhances small motor skills. The kit includes 36 cubes that lock together in a variety of patterns from cubes to fun animal shapes.
The set includes 14 nickel plated marbles that your child uses to run the maze as they learn more about gravity and importance of velocity to keep the marbles running from one cube to the next. The toy teaches logic and reasoning, problem-solving skills, and basic engineering.
Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Starter Box of Warm Colours Set
The starter box of marble runs is almost identical to the one with cool colours with the exception of the colours. This kit includes autumn colours, including yellow, orange, and white. Your kids can use their imagination to create a marble run that resembles a lion or funky geometric shape with the 36 BPA-free cubes.
As your kids build and rebuild marble runs, they learn the basics of engineering, logic, physics, and other STEM-related skills. When your child plays with a sibling or friend, they can expand their STEM skills with the teamwork and collaboration necessary.
When your child masters the basics and is ready to expand their creativity, Mindware has expansion options available in every price range to allow the play set to grow with your child and continue encouraging cognitive growth.
Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Big Box Set
The Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Big Box Marble Run playset adds an additional 72 cubes consisting of 3 different designs to be used as scaffolding, ramps, paths for the marbles to escape through, and much more. Your child will play and create for hours as their imagination soars.
Without the need for glue, these colourful cubes snap into place, encouraging your child to use and grow their small-motor skills. Watch as your child claps in glee as gravity pulls the marble from one level of the run to the next and learn about basic physics and take their first steps toward learning about engineering.
Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 Rails Builder Set
The Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 Rails Builder Set adds 40 single-exit cubes, 20 bottom-exit cubes, 20 double-exit cubes, 10 straight-away rails, 4 marble catchers and 20 marbles.
Your child will use a variety of STEM skills to work with the varied designed cubes and straight rails that can drop the marbles between levels or allow them to move from one set of cubes to the next. Using planning and strategy skills, your child can create a different maze in a variety of shapes from flowers to geometric shapes each time they play.
Give your children, even more, to work with when you purchase this rails builder set.
Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Ultimate Stunt Set
Just when your child thinks they can do it all, Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Ultimate Stunt Set Marble Run adds another 156 cubes, 9 stunt pieces, 8 marble catchers and 30 steel marbles to add countless hours of learning fun.
Or you can start with this set if you are adventurous and want many hours of creative fun!
Hours of fun and STEM learning await your child with this ultimate stunt set. Kids use this set to learn about cause and effect and basic physics as they build tall marble mazes that include loops, scaffolding, and inclines. Locking each piece of the maze into place help to build up your child's hand-to-eye coordination.
Giving your children a head start on STEM learning is easy when you purchase one or a couple of these marble run sets. You can mix and match the sets to create a larger palette for your kids to explore science and engineering through, and you won't go wrong with these award-winning sets.
As the benefits of STEM educational programs receive more public acclaim, parents concerned with ensuring that their child is receiving all of the educational benefits that play can offer are seeking new and innovative toys to foster those critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills which will encourage the invention of even more STEM toys in the future.
Click here to find more educational STEM toys that can help to start your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning.
Makerspaces have emerged as one of the best ways to engage young minds in creative, educational play. These freeform environments consist of tools and materials that children can manipulate to form their own innovative projects. Typically, they will incorporate electronics or computer components to encourage a healthy exploration of technology that can translate into lasting STEAM aptitudes and career interests.
The benefits of a makerspace, whether based at home or in the classroom, are many. Allowing kids to dream up, design, and develop their own open-ended projects inspires confidence in their own abilities and hones their creative capacities. Kids exposed to makerspaces also begin to develop concrete technological and problem-solving skills that they take with them into the classroom (and eventually the workplace). And the best part? Kids don't perceive working in a makerspace as tedious—they consider it to be a form of play, which inspires a natural love of learning and creating.
If you want to take advantage of these benefits for your child or students, there's no better place to start than with the Makey Makey Invention STEAM kit.
Makey Makey is extremely popular for use in makerspaces, and for good reason. The kit employs a simple plug-and-play alligator clip mechanism to connect everyday objects with a computer input. In this way, kids can create their very own keyboards, game controllers, instruments, and much more. They simply develop a concept, connect the physical components to the computer, and map each interaction to a button press or mouse click. It works with everything from ketchup to your pet cat, allowing for infinite creations.
The Makey Makey enables any number of imaginative ideas. Young inventors can hook a donut button up to their favourite video game or program their stairs to work as a keyboard—the possibilities are limitless. This inspires experimentation and a sense of accomplishment with completed projects.
The Makey Makey links the physical with the digital, giving children an engaging way to understand very conceptual concepts about science and engineering.
Playing with the Makey Makey is a clever way to teach useful technology skills in an approachable way. Even the most basic Makey Makey project develops skills in circuitry and computing, and advanced students can delve even further into computer engineering projects.
The Makey Makey is extremely versatile, meaning it's suitable for tinkerers of all ages and skill levels. It is also available in three configurations to suit different use cases.
The classic kit that started it all, the Makey Makey Original Invention Kit comes with everything you need to start rewiring the world. This set includes the standard circuit board that accommodates remapping of up to 18 keys, enabling even complex creations to come to life.
The Makey Makey GO offers all of the benefits of the standard Makey Makey but with the added flexibility of being completely portable. This kit comes with a single USB invention stick and one alligator clip, making it simple to create on the go.
Designed with teachers in mind, the Makey Makey STEM Pack Classroom Invention Literacy Kit is tailored specifically to the needs of educators. Including 12 classic circuit boards, 75 alligator clips, 144 connective wires, and fun extras like conducive pencils, your class will never run out of ways to use your new toys.
Kidzinc is committed to fostering a love of STEM/STEAM from an early age. We carry a wide selection of educational toys and developmental products, including the full range of Makey Makey invention kits. Don't sleep on your child's potential—cultivate their mind early with playthings from Kidzinc.
For the whole range of Makey Makey, please select here.
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.
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.
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!
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit - Kano the successful learn-to-code company that created numerous kits for teaching children and adults how to build their own computers and laptops, has created a new coding kit featuring the beloved magical world of Harry Potter.
We're going to examine the ways this amazing kit encourages your child to develop valuable learning skills, as well as a brief description of how it all works.
Why should I encourage my child to learn to code?
Great question! According to Edutopia, there are many benefits children get from learning how to code at a young age. In particular, researchers have found that the tasks involved in coding can improve children's ability to solve problems, as they have to figure out what works and doesn't work based on results they get. It also teaches children how to follow logical reasoning, which often involves understanding and paying attention to details. It can also increase children's natural appreciation for the learning process, as they have to experiment with different strategies and evaluate their results. The Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit makes this a fun experience for children because the results of their coding skills generate magic on-screen!
But beyond just the cognitive abilities that learning to code can improve in children, learning to code can provide healthy development of creative skills as well. Children can design their own projects and challenges with the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, which allows children to exercise their creativity and apply the skills they've learned in new and innovative ways. Because of that, it encourages children to be active creators rather than passive consumers. Children can use the problem solving and analytical skills they learn in a variety of contexts beyond coding, as those are skills are used in a variety of STEM disciplines.
Of course, there is also the practical benefit of encouraging children to consider pursuing a career in coding. For example, the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business currently predicts an additional 126,000 jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services to be added by 2022 (there are over one million people employed already), and lists "Software and Applications Programmers" as one of the top 3 hiring occupations in this field. Introducing children to coding in a fun and engaging way could prepare them for a promising career in the future!
What's in the kit?
In this kit, players first put their wand together, and then complete fun puzzles and challenges to learn the basics of coding. As they progress, players solve the coding challenges and wave their wand to cause magical effects to take place on a screen, right before your children's eyes. The kit comes with the components for the coding wand, a "Guide to Wand Motions" poster, fun decorative stickers, and a book explaining how to construct the wand and run the program. You connect the wand to a computer, iOS, or Android device to begin playing through challenges and mastering new coding skills. The Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit also keeps children motivated by incorporating rewards such as medals and experience points, and you can collect costumes, accessories, and pets as well. The program features eye-catching brightly-coloured illustrations of iconic locations and characters, to really bring the magic of Harry Potter to life.
We hope that if you have children around six or older, you'll consider ordering the Harry Potter Coding Kit soon. With its unique approach to teaching coding skills, your children will feel a sense of wonder as they perform magic right before their eyes, all while improving valuable cognitive skills such as problem-solving, logical reasoning, and analytical thinking. Not only that, but it promotes creativity, as users can create their own spells and projects to enjoy.
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.