How does a child transition from building castles with blocks to building programs with code? This is something that every modern parent asks themselves, looking at the highly tech-based economy and standards of success. Naturally, if you want your child to thrive in the future, introducing STEM skills in math, science, and computer programming is essential. And the transition from wooden blocks to code blocks just got a lot easier. The Sphero Mini Activity Kit is an incredible way to bring STEM-based learning to the living room.
Sphero is a revolutionary educational toy designed to not just teach children to program, but to inspire them to independently pour in hours learning and practicing. And with the Sphero Mini Activity Kit, you can easily bring that joy, enthusiasm, and technological learning into your home.
At it's most basic, Sphero is a robotic rolling sphere with coloured LEDs in clear shell. The sphere responds to commands from a mobile app to move, stop, and flash its lights. But under the surface, it is the key to teaching children to program before they even realise that programming could be considered work. Just as children who learn to draw could become artists and children who learn to write could become authors, children who learn to control their Sphero through programming can grow up to be talented programmers.
The Sphero educational company has been developing rolling balls and software for classrooms but their latest product is perfect for any home, daycare, or classroom learning facility because it is compact, complete, and inspiring. The Sphero Mini Activity Kit brings STEM learning to the living room by including a small Sphero, connection to the control mobile app, obstacle course supplies, and activity cards that will guide children through the beginning tasks of controlling their Sphero.
Through this interface, children will learn about controlling robots with software, and that commands to robots can be custom-made for an even richer experience.
If you tell a child to sit down and learn to program from a textbook, they will grow bored, distracted, and struggle with the complexity of the task. This is one of the biggest challenges to overcome with STEM learning. But give them a robot, an app, and activities and they will soon be trying to figure out all the different things that can be done with that robot beyond the original intended functions.
You've seen the creative and dedicated way that children play. Children will work harder for play than they would ever tolerate for 'work'. They will organise, cooperate, study, and try something dozens of times to make it work if the play is the inspiration. That is exactly what Sphero does. It inspires children to learn through the simple, powerful motivation of play. It brings STEM-based learning to the living room.
Children will want their sphere to lace more and more complex mazes, to flash its LED in response to fun triggers, and to participate in their imaginative games. Through this motivation, children will learn first to control the sphere, then to program entirely new responses and behaviors for their very first real robot.
At first, you will see your children reading cards and using an app. But the app is not just another online game that connects to a physical toy. The app is a gateway that will soon be prompting your children to write their own commands. In JavasScript. There has never been an easier introduction to advanced STEM learning.
Before you know it, your children will be writing lines of legitimate code in a highly valued programming language, all for the sake of play and running a sphere through obstacle courses.
You can purchase the Sphero Mini Activity Kit from our shop by clicking here.
From their wobbly first step, to their dimply first smile, to the first time they say your name, what parent hasn't considered their child a little genius? Our kids fascinate us with their knowledge absorption- spouting new phrases that make us laugh and mastering new skills every day. Preschoolers, in particular, are little sponges with super curious minds. They like to ask, "why," and take things apart and figure out how things work. They love to imagine and create and move quickly from one activity to another. This is the perfect age to introduce your little genius to the Little Genius Starter Kit by Osmo.
This Montessori-based STEM toy is equipped to entertain and educate with four fun games to try. Both tactile and technological, the Little Genius Starter Kit will capture your child's imagination, hold their attention, and expand their mind, enhancing their scholastic aptitude.
The Little Genius Starter Kit is a hands-on learning adventure that incorporates technology with imagination, via the use of 4 iPad apps and tactile objects like silicone sticks, costume pieces and play mats. Pre-schoolers use the apps to develop letter recognition, problem-solving, critical thinking, spatial reasoning, social and emotional development, fine motor skills, pre-drawing, pre-reading, phonics and more! But they won't even notice all the learning they're doing, because they'll be having too much fun! Let's take a look at the four games they can play with the Little Genius Starter Kit.
Pre-schoolers will follow Mo the Monster on a learning adventure that teaches them 300 new words. They will build letters from squishy silicone shapes that are silly and fun, but also enhance letter recognition, phonics, vocabulary, and construction skills. Different pre-schoolers learn in different ways. This game teaches them visually, audibly, and with hands-on methods, increasing their ability to retain it. ABCs is so fun that preschoolers will want to play again and again, which promotes memorization. This game is fun to play with others, but also fun to play on their own. This will enhance their school readiness since being able to work autonomously to complete an assignment is an essential scholastic success. ABCs will have your pre-schoolers ready to read and identify all their letters.
In this game, preschoolers use silicone shapes to create anything they wish, then watch it come to life! This game encourages creativity and lets their imagination soar. Whatever the design by a child will be animated onscreen, for a hilarious and exciting adventure. Children get a sense of pride when they create something all by themselves. This is a no-rules, imagination exploration that will capture your child's attention. They will learn cognitive, emotional and social skills, along with creativity and pre-drawing abilities. But most of all, they will have a blast! Preschool involves lots of creative play, craft making, and drawing. Squiggle Magic prepares kids for these tasks and helps them learn to sit still and finish a project they started. Seeing their idea come to life, in reality, is exciting, and encourages them to keep creating. Fun to play with siblings or friends, expect lots of giggling with this one!
What preschooler doesn't like to play dress-up? From trying on Dad's shoes to donning a princess tiara, Pre-schoolers love to pretend! This game allows them to create party outfits for characters, then see how the characters react. They'll see how color and emotion are linked to expression, and learn spatial reasoning, creativity, and fine motor skills. Independence and autonomy are becoming important at this age and choosing outfits is a way to express that. A Little Genius Starter Kit character can wear anything they choose, regardless of practicality, weather, or color coordination. This allows their artistic minds to know no bounds, and their preferences to be explored. Identifying their preferences and expressing themselves is an important milestone for students. Encountering all different mindsets at school, having a strong sense of self and an ability to express that are important skills for all students. Let Costume Party spark that confidence!
In this mix and match game, Mo the Monster guides them through obstacles and adventures, using costumes to find solutions. Problem-solving and critical thinking are enhanced through encouraging motivation. Preschoolers love to go where their mind takes them, and this adventure is perfect for that! Their curiosity is rewarded by instant feedback, so they're excited to keep exploring. This game eliminates the fear of "getting it wrong" and allows kids to expand their mind. With standardized tests and aptitude scores, a major focus of education, creativity, and exploration can often be stifled. But these skills are exactly what is needed for students to succeed in school and also in their careers. Whether writing a novel or designing a patent, thinking outside the lines is the key to success and standing out in the crowd. Stories is a game that nurtures that skill, leading to a bright future.
The Little Genius Starter Kit by Osmo enhances 15 child development skills, with an emphasis on STEM capabilities. This kit will give your preschooler an unprecedented advantage in scholastic environments, but will also be their new favorite toy. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to play along!
You can purchase the Little Genius Starter Kit by clicking 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.
We love STEM kits!
Tech Will Save Us has designed engaging and educational STEM kits to promote the development of STEM skills, combined with creativity and craftiness to make learning fun. Each kit has something unique to offer, but they all focus on making STEM fun for children by incorporating colourful lights that children control by with coding and design. All of the STEM kits focus on allowing children to express their creativity by allowing them to test and analyse their designs based on how well the results turned out, and they can modify as needed—an important aspect of STEM learning! In addition to the important problem-solving and analytical skills these kits develop, the kits also encourage physical activity, which is important for your child's ongoing development, and craftsmanship, which can teach them valuable lessons about what it means to be detail-oriented. By incorporating motor skills and problem-solving, these kits teach children to employ several skills at once when faced with future challenges.
The Light Racer Kit allows children to create bicycle lights that run on wireless power. Children build an electromagnetic light and then attach the light to their bicycle wheels—the energy the lights need to flash is powered by the movement of the bicycle itself! This kit is perfect for high-energy children who enjoy being creative through physical action.
▶︎ Children will learn about the way that light and electromagnetism work, and they also learn about generating energy in a renewable way.
▶︎ They also get the added fun of showing off their efforts when they ride their bikes, just one way that this kit encourages children to be physically active as well as intellectually curious.
The Sew and Glow Kit use a special type of thread, called conductive electro thread, that lights up in the dark. Children use the thread to sew together bright and eye-catching badges, using either the templates provided or by designing their own, which they can add to their backpacks or clothing as they please.
The Creative Coder Kit is a wearable that children can build and code using block-based coding. The kit comes with simple software that you connect the wearable to once it's built, and then children can program the wearable to light up with specific movements. There are also more projects available in the online community, such as building a lightsaber or coding a hot potato game.
These STEM kits bring together creativity, physical activity, and problem-solving all in one. Each kit teaches children different elements of STEM, such as electromagnetism, conductivity, and coding, while making it fun by combining it with movement and crafts. There is also ample play time, as each STEM kit has an online community where children can find more projects to try or create their own. There is bound to be a kit that appeals to your child, so we highly encourage you to take a look at each of the kits and find the one that's perfect for your child!
At Kidzinc we have a huge range of STEM kits and STEM toys.
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.