By Lani Aquino
Kids of all ages love playing games and figuring out the intricacies of new toys. When teachers and parents can find games and toys that meet children’s entertainment expectations while offering them valuable interactions with STEM learning skills, everyone has a reason to smile. These 5 new STEM resources can pack hours of fun into learning opportunities that are both engaging and educational.
Bloxels — With video games being all the rage for engaging kids of all ages, Bloxels takes that passion for gaming and turns it into learning. Students are able to use the blocks from the starter kit to begin designing a video game. The free app that is a companion to the building set turns that block design into a playable and shareable video game. Just as in actual gaming, Bloxels users are able to create characters, villains, power-ups, and more. An excellent way to engage students in some mindful gameplay!
Box & Balls — Sometimes the simplest activities can be the most engaging. With the Box & Balls game from Fat Brain Toys, the bells and whistles may be missing, but learning is at the forefront. This affordable set of eight nesting boxes and eight bouncy balls have limitless options for creative learning fun. Players can follow the guidelines for the many games listed on the sides of the nesting boxes, or the possibilities for developing new games and rules with the existing materials are where some real learning ingenuity can flourish.
Circuitscribe — Students are able to create electrical circuits without using wires with this unique kit. The conductive ink pen can turn regular printer paper into a base that can operate blinking lights, beeping buzzers, and whirling motors. By placing the paper atop the steel sheet included with the kit, the circuits come to life with only ink drawn lines as the wires. With lots of innovation and add-ons available for resistor pens, project books, and more, this engaging format for working with electricity offers hours of learning fun.
Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set — Students with an understanding of the nuances of coding will have a valuable knowledge base for a variety of future endeavors. With Code & Go from Learning Resources, these coding basics are easy to learn via enjoyable gameplay. Students build a maze and then use coding cards to create a path for the programmable robotic mouse to follow to acquire the cheese. Sets include maze grids, walls, tunnels, mouse, cheese, and coding and activity cards. Users’ imaginations are the only things limiting the options. For multi-player usage, a second robot mouse can be purchased separately. A more advanced format of the popular Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar that teaches basic coding to young learners.
Vex Robotics Zip Flyer — Students that love to build will love to assemble this Zip Flyer from Hexbug. There are two assemblage possibilities where the flyer can be created for either handheld or table-top launching. Once the robotic flyer is prepared to launch propellers into the air, the learning and entertainment are just beginning. By changing launch points and conditions there are hours of experimentation and study in store for devising the perfect propeller launch. A fun activity to do when heading outdoors is an option as the propellers can reach heights of up to 30 feet.
From simple blocks to conductivity pens, there are lots of great new resources to get students involved in STEM learning. Whether teachers are looking to add some resources to their classrooms or parents are looking to engage their kids in some more educational experiences at home, these 5 new STEM resources are a great starting point. Finding the right toys and games to get students excited about learning just got a lot easier.