What are STEM Toys and How to Choose?
STEAM education is a comprehensive education integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. As a representative, STEAM toys can not be avoided from the trend.
STEAM is a transdisciplinary education concept that emphasizes practice, which is different from the traditional single-subject, book-oriented education method. It focuses on the connection between learning and the real world and the process of learning, rather than the knowledge results reflected in the test paper. It emphasize that success of anything does not only depend on the realization of a certain ability, but needs to be between a variety of capabilities. For example, in the construction of high-tech electronic products, not only science and technology, and the use of high-tech means to innovate product functions, but also It needs a good-looking appearance, that is, comprehensive talents in art and other aspects.
Therefore, the use of a single skill can no longer support the development of future talents. In the future, society needs comprehensive talents in many aspects. That’s why to explore the concept of STEAM education. In life, there are almost no purely mathematical or chemical problems. All problems in reality are comprehensive, diverse, complex, and changeable. "The integration of disciplines that STEAM education hopes to achieve can better solve problems in real life.
At present, the concept of STEAM is popular all over the world, but how do consumers to choose a good STEM toy product when purchasing? A good STEAM toy needs to have 14 characteristics, including 2 required characteristics and 12 enhanced characteristics.
2 BASIC FEATURES
1. Explores an aspect of STEAM
Products should be able to guide children to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or engage in scientific methods. Scientific methods include exploration through experiments and observations to obtain new knowledge, solve questions and answer questions.
It can attract children, arouse their interest, stimulate them to explore and enjoy it. Good STEAM toys can stimulate the left and right brains. When toys or game experiences make children think about science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, the left brain, the logic and reasoning part, is activated. When the game experience produces an interesting feeling, the right brain that processes emotions is triggered.
12 ENHANCED CHARACTERISTICS
Encourage the child to find his or her own way to play with toys. The product must have a variety of gameplay, not a correct gameplay. This includes toys that provide various ways to solve problems, build structures, create designs, or accomplish tasks.
2. Relates to the Real World
STEAM skills should be similar to literacy skills, connecting children with things related to them. In this way, children can understand that science, technology, engineering and mathematics have an impact on their world and lives.
3. Allows for Trial and Error
The child's ability to learn to recognize and accept failure is the key to success.
Science has repeatedly confirmed that children's hands-on ability can promote brain development. It is especially important for children to get tactile and tangible input from hands. Due to frequent use of electronic screens, children receive less and less physical feedback in their lives.
This feature is about establishing children's intrinsic motivation and cultivating the ability to make decisions independently. A good STEAM toy must be able to convey this part of the concept, which means that children must lead the game experience.
Problem-solving ability is a key element taught through toys and games. It is a highly transferable thinking skill that can be applied to other aspects of a child’s life.
7. Includes Curriculum
Agood STEAM toy must have matching courses that meet the needs of the age, so that parents or teachers have the confidence and ability to guide their children's game experience in line with STEAM learning objectives.
8. Gender Neutral and Inclusive
STEAM games should be more inclusive, including: neutral products, toys provided according to children's personal preferences, brands with cultural differences, etc. This inclusiveness is essential for using different perspectives to solve the complex problems of the 21st century.
9. Supports Parents
Parents are the gatekeepers of children's toys, especially young children. STEAM toys should help them become familiar with STEAM themes and encourage parents to participate.
10. Builds Confidence
Children tend to label themselves as if products are labeled. STEAM toys can help children build confidence when exploring different topics, and this confidence will then be transferred to all parts of children's lives.
11. Encourage Creativity
In the context of educating children to think outside the box or to color without lines, most creative people have proven that creativity requires practice and courage, and toys can play a role in both.
12. Social and Emotional Skills
Social and Emotional Skills Emotional intelligence, social and emotional learning (SEL), and emotional management are all skills children are now struggling to master. These social skills are integrated with professional ambitions and the need for successful problem-solving cooperation.
As children's dearest playmates, STEAM toys transform the obscure knowledge of science and technology into fun and non-boring games, which can effectively capture the curiosity of children and encourage them to understand the world. STEAM toys really help children a lot-inspire curiosity and proactive exploration ability; cultivate children's various skills and cognitive abilities; cultivate innovative consciousness in hands-on practice; guide cooperation between peers and emphasize the ability to solve problems ; Attach importance to the cultivation of soft power in art and culture.