Benefits of Building and Engineering Toys for Kids
Engineers are some of the most revered people in our society.
So it’s natural that an engineering toy promotes the traits and characteristics of these shapeshifters.
But what are these traits that engineering toys promote?
Critical thinking and reasoning. The ability to ask how does that work and get to the bottom of it to discover an answer. You could argue that’s partly up to the individual, but the toy needs to provide the runway.
Flow and focus. Gaining traction through a deep interest in what you are doing. Become submerged in the experience. That benefits parents, too, as you’ve delegated supervision for a good couple of hours. Sounds like a win-win.
Patience paired with perseverance. In order to access flow and critical thinking, it will take some patience to push through challenges.
Toys that are open-ended offer space for creativity. Less about rule-following and more about creating new and alternative solutions.
That feeling once you push through that challenge. Do you know what it’s called? Accomplishment and when you accomplish a task you set out to do, that builds confidence.
Lastly, when you package up all these traits, you ended up with a problem-solving or solution-finding engineer.
When you get your child an engineering toy, you’re promoting these positive habits of trait.
What to Look for in STEM Toys
You know the benefits. Now, which toy is going to promote these traits? Most of the toys in this list will do the heavy lifting, but you’ll have to make a finer-tuned judgement call.
Consider the recommended age of the toy. If the toy is pitched for an age that is older than your child, then their fine motor skills may not be ready for the task. In other words, they may not be able to tinker with the parts as they’re too small.
What’s their attention span like?
If your child is easily distracted, then set out with a fully customisable kit or toy may overwhelm instead of encouraging. Start with where they are at.
Be sure to follow the instructions. Take note of any electrical components, chemical solutions or hazardous parts. It’s unrealistic to expect your child to know or look for these out of the box.
But this is a great opportunity to model and speak about these risks to your child.
Linked to safety is supervision. Most toys are supervision-free but you must consider your tolerance. How autonomous are your kids? If they aren’t quite ready for independent work, then get them something less complicated for the moment until they’ve demonstrated more competency.
Do the kits require anything else? Batteries? Craft items?
Don’t be that parent who doesn’t look out for these things to halt the momentum when the gift is given. Reduce the friction barrier and discover what additional requirements the toy or kit may have.
More and more we’re trending towards more sustainable products. The strongest daily vote we can cast is how we choose to spend our money. So back those toys that promote longevity.
Avoid single-use toys. Repurpose. Reinvent and reuse.
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