As an engineer, I always look for toys that can open the door of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to my kids. I want them to admire the beauty of it at a early stage in there life and inspired by the fundamentals of the universe. Here I list 10 toys in the STEM area that I believe not only introducing some facts on concepts in STEM, but more importantly, embedding a more fundamental spirit of that discipline. For example, the list includes microscopes and telescopes which represent the tools that greatly enhance human vision to reach the micro or macro scale of the universe.
1. Puppy Up (Math)
This is the single best basic math tool I’ll recommend. It helps the kids to build up basic concept of math and physics.
2. Strandbeest (Mechanical Engineering)
This is a masterpiece of the pre-industrial mechanical craft. It is a walking animal driven not by electricity but the wind power. Complicated mechanical design is embedded in this animal to make it move forward which is intuitively impossible. A true inspiration from the mechanical age.
3. Microscope Kits for Kids (Biology, Material Science)
Every kid should have a microscope. It can open the world to them in a completely different level than every day life shows. Who does not want to know what a cell looks like, how the bacterial moves individually, or what a pollen look like after magnified for 100 times?
4. Create Your Own Customized Mini Garden in a Jar (Biology, Botany)
At the earlier age, a child should start to take care of some small creature by him/herself. Let them grow a garden and practice daily routine to cultivate them, and enjoy the feeling of creating and caring a new life.
5. The Coding Robot (Computer Science, Robotics)
In a couple decades, most of the jobs will be done by robots and AI. Half of the human beings are probably working on creating, maintaining, fixing and serving them. Programming code will be a language that everyone should know. It is as important as your first language, the natural language. The same as natural language, they’d better be studied early. Practice with your kids when they are young will give them a big head start in the future society.
6. Crystal Growing Lab (Geology, Material Science)
Crystals grows in an intriguing way that is not only beautiful or elegant, it also reveals how the particles interact and attach to each other that is mathematically profound. Have your kids to grow some crystals by themselves so that they watch how the fundamental structure of materials are formed, and inspired by the geometry and topology concept behind it.
7. Telescope (Astronomy)
Microscope is for exploring the micro world, while telescope is for seeing the macro universe. No matter it is lunar craters or Saturn ring, you and your kids will be deeply moved by the beauty of the universe and start to develop a better view of everyday life.
8. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of How
At the last of the list, we put the famous book by National Geographic that introduce to you kids how a lot of things we see everyday works.
What is favorite STEM toys for kids? Please leave a comment and let us know.