Sunday, December 14, 2014

Put some STEAM into your kids' Christmas

STEAM might seem just like another educational buzzword, but teaching in a way that fosters science, tech, engineering, art, and math produces well-rounded kids with the ability to communicate and solve problems.

This morning I got the chance to share some of these ideas on WOODTV-8 Daybreak.


Here are some great gift ideas to put some STEAM into your kids' holiday season.
Science - I Heart Guts plush toys -  Stuffed animal like organs for the kid who wants to be a doctor or just loves gross stuff. Doctors and pediatricians are actually using these in their practice so kids and adults better understand consults. $14-$20 

Technology - Ozobots -  Little tiny robots that can be easily programed either by an app or simply by using various colored markers on paper. Each color equals a different command. Giving kids opportunities to program and code is so very important, not necessarily to create a wave of app creators, but to develop in-depth logical thought in kids. $49


Engineering - Tie - Goldiblox and the Zipline Adventure -  Kids get all of the parts to build a zipline for Goldie, the included action figure. The set also comes with an accompanying book to fuel the imaginative use of the zipline. Goldiblox is a company geared at getting more girls involved with engineering. $25


Equally cool are the Modarri toy cars  - These are like Hotwheels except kids build them from the ground up and then modify the steering, types of wheels, and suspension as well as other options. $19 each or $49 for 3 that comes with extra wheels.


Arts - Crayola Virtual Design Pro Car CollectionCrayola Virtual Design Pro Fashion Collection - Elaborate set of art and design supplies where kids make their own vehicles or fashion designs. A partner iOS or Android app lets them scan the designs and then play with them in a virtual world by racing their cars or having models wear their fashions down the runway.


Math - Good old deck of cards and "Book of Cards for Kids - 35 Classic Card Games" -   There are so many math concepts kids learn playing card games from counting, sorting, sequencing, all of the way up to figuring probability and it fosters great family time. $12

These gift ideas are just a handful of options that are available to stimulate thinking and creativity while still providing tons of fun. Notice that they aren't just device based. Each involves some form of real-world making stuff or analog play. All are great for friends and family to make and do together.

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