Best in Stem, Newsweek

Pix Brix is a certified STEM/STEAM educational toy. Please read below the characteristics that qualify a STEAM toy and what parents are saying about STEM/STEAM. Authenticated Educational Product Logo

In today's ever-evolving world, the demand for educational toys that foster critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills is on the rise. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and its interdisciplinary counterpart, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), have emerged as key areas of focus in education. As a result, the demand for toys that align with these educational principles has skyrocketed. In this article, we will explore the essential elements that make a toy qualify as a STEM/STEAM toy and understand how these toys can unlock a child's potential.

  1. Integration of Science and Mathematics: At the heart of any STEM/STEAM toy lies the integration of science and mathematics concepts. A high-quality STEM/STEAM toy should present children with opportunities to explore scientific phenomena, conduct experiments, and make observations. It should also provide an avenue for engaging with mathematical concepts such as geometry, patterns, and measurement. By blending science and mathematics, these toys cultivate analytical thinking and logical reasoning.
  2. Technology and Engineering Components: Incorporating technology and engineering elements is crucial for a toy to be considered a STEM/STEAM toy. These toys should encourage children to build, construct, and design, allowing them to understand the principles behind machines and structures. From simple building blocks to complex robotic kits, these toys provide hands-on experiences that promote problem-solving, spatial awareness, and an understanding of cause and effect.
  3. Hands-On Learning Experiences: STEM/STEAM toys must emphasize hands-on learning experiences. They should enable children to actively engage with the toy, encouraging exploration, experimentation, and discovery. Whether it involves building structures, conducting experiments, or coding, these toys foster a sense of agency and curiosity, empowering children to become active participants in their own learning process.
  4. Open-Ended Design and Creativity: A hallmark of a great STEM/STEAM toy is its open-ended design that stimulates creativity and imaginative thinking. These toys should offer multiple ways of play, allowing children to experiment and create their own unique solutions. By encouraging divergent thinking, these toys nurture innovation and problem-solving skills, preparing children to think critically and creatively in the face of real-world challenges.
  5. Integration of Arts: While STEM toys primarily focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the inclusion of arts in the form of STEAM expands the creative possibilities. Artistic components such as design, aesthetics, and storytelling enrich the learning experience, allowing children to express themselves and apply their knowledge in meaningful ways. By bridging the gap between STEM and the arts, STEAM toys foster a holistic approach to learning.
  6. Age-Appropriate Challenges: An ideal STEM/STEAM toy should provide age-appropriate challenges that promote gradual learning and growth. The challenges should be neither too simplistic nor overwhelmingly complex, striking the right balance that encourages children to push their boundaries and develop new skills. By tailoring the difficulty level to a child's developmental stage, these toys promote a sense of accomplishment and motivate further exploration.
  7. Real-World Relevance: For a toy to truly qualify as a STEM/STEAM toy, it should connect the concepts and skills learned to real-world applications. By relating abstract ideas to tangible outcomes, these toys enable children to see the practical implications of their learning. This connection to real-world relevance helps children develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and instills a sense of purpose in their educational journey.

STEM/STEAM toys hold immense potential in shaping the future generation of innovators, problem solvers, and critical thinkers. By integrating science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and arts, these toys create a dynamic learning environment that nurtures curiosity, creativity, and a love for learning. Whether it's exploring scientific principles, building structures, or coding, the right STEM/STEAM toy has the power to unlock a child's potential and pave the way for a brighter future. Invest in these toys and watch your child thrive as they embark on an exciting journey of discovery and growth.

Parents recognize STEM/STEAM skills as advantageous for their kids’ future.

Here’s what they disclosed.

  • 9 out of 10 said it’s important to foster & encourage the development of STEM/STEAM skills in their kids
  • 50% cite competition with screens as primary challenge in encouraging these skills
  • 5 1⁄2 the ideal age to get kids started on their future career path
  • More than half have a specific career in mind for their child
  • Kids average 3 1⁄2 hours of screen time per day
  • 82% look for ways to encourage their child’s learning through play
  • 42% of a child’s play should be dedicated to education and learning
  • 72% take steps to limit their child’s screen time
  • 76% want their child to end up in a STEM-related career or field. Top jobs: engineer, doctor, web developer, or scientist

PARENTS GET THAT STEM/STEAM IS IMPORTANT with an impressive 91% recognizing the value of encouraging the development of science, technology, engineering, art, and math skills in their kids.

That’s why a whopping 88% either have encouraged or plan to encourage the development of these skills in their children. A majority of parents, 76% want their child to end up in a STEM-related career.

Parents want to support their kids learning STEM/STEAM skills and provide the tools they need to succeed.

Here’s what parents feel is required in preparing their child for the 21st century.

GET ‘EM WHEN THEY’RE LITTLE – Parents believe it’s better to introduce the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math at an early age – with the ideal age between four and five years old.

TOYS AS TEACHING TOOLS - It makes sense that the younger the child, the more effective toys can be as learning tools. The majority of parents (67%) believe STEM/STEAM-focused toys are the primary way to encourage development of science, technology, engineering, and math in their child, followed by at-home experiences (57%).

TOP 3 SKILLS - Three specific skills topped parents’ lists of what kids should master and were pretty evenly rated. They include written and oral communication (60%), tech/computer literacy (58%), and mathematics (57%).

FOR THE MAJORITY, PLAY IS A PRIORITY - 79% of parents agreed STEM/STEAM-focused toys played an important role in skill development - with 82% acknowledging that they look for ways to encourage their child’s learning through play.

HALF OF PLAYTIME DEDICATED TO LEARNING - Most parents believed between 41-50% of their child’s playtime should be dedicated to learning.

GET CREATIVE - 94% of parents encouraged or hope to encourage their child in creative endeavors such as music, drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. The majority think children should begin to express themselves creatively between two and five years old.

EARLY CODERS - Coding is a skill set parents would like their kids to acquire with 85% having encouraged or plan to encourage their child to learn to code. The majority feel the ideal age to begin developing these skills is between six and seven years old.

LOOKING FOR STEM/STEAM - 85% of parents have specifically looked for STEM/STEAM toys when purchasing new toys for their child, which makes sense because 82% agree that playing with STEM/STEAM toys will lead their child to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math subjects.

CREATIVITY, PROBLEM-SOLVING, FUN, AND CONFIDENCE – Parents considered the most important characteristic of a STEM/STEAM toy be encouraging CREATIVITY. This was followed by fostering problem-solving, being fun, engaging, and finally building a child’s confidence.

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