Educational toys and gadgets that promote STEM education for kids were showcased on Univision's Despierta America morning show.
The future of jobs relies, in big part, on STEM careers. To joltyour memory, STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This is thefoundation of many future and present jobs and if kids get interested in thesetypes of careers, they are going to have an easier time finding employment orgoing their own way in the future. When can they get started? It’s never earlyenough.
This week, I visited Despierta America, the #1 national morning show on Univision and brought a few toys and gadgets that should make it easier to get kids interested in STEM. Believe it or not, in a couple of months, it’s going to be 10 years since we started working with Despierta America! Time flies!
Here’s a round-up of some of the cool educational toys I showed today:
The Marbotic Smart Kit does a great job of bridging the digital world that only exists in computers, tablets and phones with the physical real-world surrounding kids. Studies have shown that young children that interact only with technology, don’t necessarily make that bridge in their brains between the virtual and the digital world. What does this mean? Well, things they learn on their iPad such as the physics of an object or its movement, they are sometimes unable to apply it to the world outside. So, if they are playing with a ball in a virtual game, they cannot necessarily take the properties of that ball and translate it to real life. Scary.
This company has a kit that consists of wooden numbers and letterscombined with a series of apps. The numbers and letters can be pressed onto thescreen of a tablet when the game asks for it and that way, kids start torecognize and retain their meaning and sounds, start creating syllables andwords, and learn how they sound. This kit is inspired by the Montessori methodwhere kids learn at their own pace by interacting with the world around them,which is pretty smart. The games are designed to be progressive in nature toreinforce kid’s self-confidence in the learning experience, while also havingfun at it.
They have four-game apps that are designed to help kids with different learning objectives:
Osmo has been at this for a while. They were one of the first companies to bridge the gap between digital games and physical shapes with their Tangram game. Now, they are at it again with a complete kit that promotes spelling skills, special ability, problem-solving and even math. They can create their very own personalized movie and they have plenty to choose from since there are over 500 puzzles of different shapes and forms. What can they learn? Drawings, people, numbers, animals, you name it. This kit is designed for kids that are 6 to 10 years old.
The concept for this interactive game is pretty simple and the results are stunning. This globe is no ordinary globe because paired with its app, kids can use augmented reality to interact with over 400 interest points in the globe. They have maps, animals, monuments, cuisines and cultures and much more. The animations are pretty cool and I love how the kids can interact with the different parts of the globe.
The ingredients to have girls (and boys) interested in computer engineering are all in this box. The Boolean Box brings the parts to build a computer-based on a Raspberry Pi kit, a keyboard, a mouse and it can be connected to an HDMI capable monitor or even simpler, a TV.
Once the computer is built, kids can start learning to programin Scratch, a programming language created by the MIT Media labs and that’savailable in over 70 languages. It’s a visual programming language consistingof a block-like interface designed for kids to learn the logic of programmingand the basics that are going to allow them to progress to more advancedprogramming languages such as Python.
Many schools are requiring kids to have their own headphones, and this poses a problem for parents. Headphones designed for adults, don’t have a volume limiting feature and this could cause kids to listen to their videos or games with too high a volume, causing hearing loss in later years. The BuddyPhone WAVE is a wireless and waterproof volume-limiting headphone designed specifically for kids.
These apps, games and interactive toys allow kids to continue learning at home and reinforce what they are being taught in daycare, PreK and school. Parents can use them to augment the learning their children are already doing and, in many cases, push them to have that early advantage that we all want our kids to have.