Educational toys are something that all parents look for when shopping for their little ones. Now with reading being introduced to the well-known STEAM category (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), you might be on the lookout for STREAM toys for your child for an upcoming birthday or just as a way to engage them in new activities. STREAM toys are the perfect holiday gift because they not only offer a fun and engaging experience for your child but they also build on a child’s cognitive development.
What is STREAM?
STREAM is the educational curriculum that focuses on educational activities based in science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and math. These activities are often based on the original program of STEM which focuses on creating and promoting an interest in science-based careers for students, especially women and people of color. They offer a foundation in skills such as coding, robotics, engineering, physics, and computer science.
As time went on, STEM evolved into a curriculum called STEAM which added varied arts to the mix. STEAM includes the same science and technology based programs but also focuses on the creative and artistic aspects of each of these areas. For example, engineering might include architecture or building design. Coding and robotics might include graphic design and 3D modeling.
Most recently, however, STEM has evolved from STEAM into STREAM. The curriculum programs now work to integrate literacy into a child’s foundational understanding of the different areas of science, technology, engineering, and math whereas they are reading about different projects, designs, and creators, and even writing about their own projects and skillsets.
Many educators and curriculum specialists believe that adding reading and writing to the foundations of STEAM is beneficial in that students of all interests, regardless of their technical abilities. Now students will all have an opportunity to learn and experience the foundations of STEM even if that isn’t their first area of interest.
10 Best STREAM Toys that Spark Interest in Science
Many parents and educators agree that science and technology are the wave of the future. We want to provide our children with the best experiences both at school and at home to help promote learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math while incorporating reading, writing, and the arts. STREAM toys allow children to expand on their learning at home while still engaging in activities that are fun.
Kids should be introduced to STREAM activities at a young age and what better way to get them involved than by creating their very own construction sets. This construction building set by Magformers helps kids learn how to create trucks and cranes all on their own, all while letting them have fun with the activities they love the most. It even comes with little construction workers to play with so your child can focus on their STEM skills and then switch over to their cognitive learning skills.
What’s more fun than building your own unicorn, llama, and narwhal? Building them and making them move! The story-book manual helps kids to build their own animals with easy to follow directions. It is perfect for kids ages 5 to 7 who are just learning the basics of robotics and STEM activities.
Together with Pepper Mint, an adventurous engineer, your child can build and create an adventure treehouse. As your child puts together this treehouse, they will be able to learn about physics, engineering, and electrical science as well as to conduct experiments. They can also continue to build and learn by doing additional projects to add more and more elements to the treehouse. And once the treehouse is built your child can use it to continue with imaginative play making it continuously fun. Great for ages 8 and above.
Little Passports is known for their worldly subscription boxes for kids that introduces them to cultures all around the world. Their new Science Expedition box, however, is a STEM-based subscription box for kids 9 years old and older. Each month your child can learn about different areas of science, technology, engineering, and math with an activity, a learning journal, and a hands-on experiment to expand on their learning.
Montessori programs are increasingly popular, especially among parents who are interested in getting their child invested in STREAM activities. Monti Kids is a Montessori based subscription service that brings the Montessori classroom to your home. Parents can receive up to 8 different levels of safe and age-appropriate activities to do with their children at home. In addition, they also have the support of a Montessori community and online videos to help teach their children at home. These activities are often focused on a large topic area and are expanded on in a variety of ways including science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and math.
READ MORE: What is the Montessori Method?
Bringing together reading, literacy, and technology, the ABCMouse app is a wonderful way to get your child engaged with school readiness at a young age. ABCMouse not only has its original literacy activities, but it has recently added a Mastering Math activity in which artificial intelligence is used to assess a child’s learning level. Now children can enjoy activities such as math, science, health, social studies, art, music, and literacy all while integrating and learning about the uses of technology.
If your child is ready to start coding and programming, then Botzees is the perfect introductory STREAM toy for them. This coding robot is for ages 4 years and older, and together with the app your child can build and code their Botzees to move, dance, and play. Your child can build one of the pre-designed Botzees or build their own. And with over 30 augmented reality puzzles they can learn the foundations of coding concepts like sequencing, looping, and conditional coding. Botzees are continuously fun and engaging as your child can build anything and continue to expand on their coding skills as they get more proficient.
1-2-3 Build It: Rocket, Train, Helicopter
Building blocks is a foundation of both cognitive learning skills for toddlers and for many STREAM activities. These simple 1-2-3 Build It models are large blocks easy for even the littlest scientist to hold. They are easy to build and create fun, creative toys that your child will love to play with even after the building is all done.
With this 123-piece castle set, your child can create an amazing structure (or several) using their own imagination or using the ten pre-designed instructions included with the set. Not only can your child build the castle, but they can also create a working drawbridge and catapult, and then continue their imaginative play with two knights and a horse.
Together with K’Nex and this fun activity set of over 18 activities, your child can learn about pneumatics and hydraulics with the included components and nine different build structures. This STEM activity kit allows a child to learn about physics and laws of motion while creating their own projects either by the design provided or by creating their own. It is a great way to expand on topics learned in school. The Moving Creations with K’Nex is great for ages 8 years old and older.
STREAM is a wonderful new expansion on the STEAM curriculum that includes activities like reading and writing in your child’s education. Now every child, even if they are more artistically or literary-based, can learn important components of science, technology, engineering, and math.
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