Last week we discovered some cool ways to own our own professional development, this week we will show you how to get your kids started early. It’s hard to believe our kids won’t know what it’s like to grow up without the internet, apps, and technology at their fingertips. Have you ever seen a six-year-old navigate Netflix? It’s amazing how fast they adapt to technology and take general practices with them when learning their newest game or device. It didn’t take long for entrepreneurs and children’s educational toy manufacturers to start realizing this and with that realization came an influx of children’s games and software designed to help them learn engineering, coding, and other STEM fundamentals. If you are interested in helping your child learn to code, build things using spacial thinking and logic, physics and more, read on. Who knows, maybe your child will one day develop games like the ones you can’t seam to peel them away from now.
Osmo connects the iPad with hands on play through a variety of games with themes like coding, words, tangrams, and numbers. It can be used at home, but it’s a good idea to check with your child’s school to see if they offer Osmo learning. According to the website, more than 15,000 schools have brought Osmo into their classrooms to assist in teaching STEM, spelling, reading, and more.
Hot off of a St. Louis tech incubator is one of three brainchildren of tech startup Pixel Press. Bloxels looks like a modern day Light Bright, but kids place the blocks on the board to create a video game scene. It’s a game that teaches them to make their own game. “With easy-to-use physical and digital tools, the imaginative gaming worlds of young gamers come to life in a cool retro arcade style” (via).
Founded in 2012, Goldiblox was one of the first educational gaming companies that made a statement about the difference between the “pink isle” games designed for girls and the smart games designed for boys. Goldiblox is a smart game, openly designed for girls with a goal to shatter the apparent opinion of traditional gamemakers, that girls aren’t interested in STEM. “By tapping into girls’ strong verbal skills, our story + construction set bolsters confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things” (via).
da Vinci Mini-
What kid wouldn’t love to get their hands on a 3D printer? XYZ Printing has made it easy for kids to print 3D objects wirelessly from an IPad or other device by housing thousands of free designs on their website. If your child wants to start designing 3D objects herself, they offer a free downloadable version of 3D modeling design software as well. The Company also makes professional 3D printers, so you know the Mini is simply a kid friendly version of the real deal. This is a great way to introduce your child to 3D modeling at a young age.
Calling all future inventors! These color coded, magnetic building blocks or “Littlebits” are made to be joined together to make ALL THE THINGS. The site states their product is meant to “Level up our future generation,” and will “Build creative confidence, develop critical thinking, and foster collaborative teamwork.” We see job descriptions packed with those sought after skill sets all the time, so why not start ’em young.
Dash and Dot-
Robots that teach robotics. Seems simple enough, and with Dash and Dot it is. They combine cute robots with fun apps that allow kids to “create new behaviors” for them, teaching them the fundamentals of robotics. The website says the little robots are “Opening [kids] eyes to how the world around them works, Dash and Dot guide kids through the world of coding and robotics, turning ideas into adventures.” The parent company, Wonder Workshop, even created The Wonder League, a worldwide community of robotics clubs that have the opportunity to compete each year in the Wonder League Robotics Competition. Now that is a childhood accomplishment to bring to a post-college job interview.