Brain food: STEM toys offer a smarter way to play

    STEM toys
    Top STEM toys make programming unbelievably fun

    Growing up in a Russian household, science and math were always stressed as top priority subjects. I spend a lot of time studying, and was often the sole girl in classes such as Honors Algebra and AP Chemistry — no surprise to my teachers and family that I went on to receive a BS in Neuroscience and an MBA in Finance. Today’s inquisitive kids don’t just need to hit the books. Now they have an array of amazing STEM toys that they can play with AND learn from simultaneously.

    So what exactly is STEM?

    It’s an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; below I’ve summarized each category’s main objectives.

    Science: observing, experimenting, making predictions, and asking questions
    Technology: being inventive, making things work, identifying issues, and using computers and other smart devices
    Engineering: solving problems, using materials, designing, creating, and building
    Math: pattering, sequencing, exploring shapes, numbers, volumes, and size

    Why is it so important all of a sudden?

    In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels that surpass what was considered acceptable in the past.

    STEM-based jobs are growing at a pace exceeding 20% per year compared to non-STEM which are increasing at 4%. Also, STEM-based occupations out-earn their counterparts often 2:1 according to a recent PEW study.

    Who benefits most from a STEM-based education?

    STEM education helps to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps sometimes found in math and science fields (remember the part above when I mentioned I was often the ONLY female in my science and math classes?).

    Initiatives have been established to increase the roles of women and minorities in STEM-related fields. STEM education breaks the traditional gender roles. In order to compete in a global economy, STEM education and careers must be a national priority.

    Toys cost an arm and a leg nowadays; why not spend your money on items your children will learn and grow from?

    Here are some fun options for the “smarty pants” in your life:

    Ages 4-7

    1Beginners Marble Run

    The 30-piece set helps kids develop logical and motor skills. Think of it as the introduction to engineering while your tot builds their dream run.

    2Build-A-Bot Puppy Robot

    It’s like color by numbers, but instead, your child can build your own pet robot that can be trained to run, walk, hop and play. A build certificate comes along with the toy to name your pet.

    Ages 8-12

    3Human Body 100-Piece Floor Puzzle

    For all the future doctors, nurses, surgeons, and scientists, this floor puzzle can keep your kid entertained for hours while giving them a glimpse of how bodies work. Plus, it’s the literally the size of a child.

    4Toysmith 4M Brush Robot Science Kit

    This clever toy teaches kids to tidy up and is STEM friendly.

    Ages 13+

    5Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

    This one is for the Star Wars lovers. Although your child won’t be able to build the droid, they can create and view holographic recordings. The adaptive robot personality changes as you play and with your interactions.

    6Scientific Explorer Kitchen Chemistry Mini Lab

    This is for the kids who love slime, bubbles, and rock candy. The Slinky Science Kitchen kit is a fun spin on chemistry in common household items.

    The Jewish Chick
    What started as a fun distraction grew to be a passion project for Liora Rez; but her career did not start in the social media industry. After a decade of working in structured finance, her life changed as she became a stay at home mom; Liora was unable to just sit still and needed a connection to the outside world. Her hobby has grown today to one of the largest Jewish social media accounts and features her passions of fashion, her unapologetic support of Israel, her relationship with Judaism, and her amazing family. Liora uses her continuously growing platform to collaborate with brands and organizations from both the Jewish and Fashion worlds. Her social media pages leads by example that you never have to be just one type of person, and showcasing all of your passions together can create a unique story.