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Embracing Engineering at any age

By Allie White

STEM products are always really popular with children of all ages and engineering toys are beginning to come into their own (having watched Science, Technology and Maths get lauded left, right and centre!). Engineers are awesome – so much of what we utilise on a daily basis relies on their skills. It’s not just the people who design and build bridges, railways, cars – there are engineers all around us (tell your dad he is an engineer for developing that recipe for the family favourite dinner or your nan for that crochet pattern she devised for baby bonnets).

 

I am so encouraged to see how many girls are getting involved in engineering. When I started teaching (a while back but still not so long ago in the grand scheme of things) girls were ‘discouraged’ from pursuing STEM subjects (not by me, I hasten to add) as these were still seen as ‘boy’ subjects. I’m not going to get started on this subject – suffice to say I am all for toys and aspirations being equal. They believed they could, so they did.

 

Ever your littlest ones can get involved! Construction toys are a brilliant way to learn some of the skills needed to become an engineer as they encourage imagination and confidence as well as developing problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills amongst other things. I absolutely love the SmartMax approach to building as it really does engage young minds – the appeal of the big chunk magnetic pieces is mighty! As they get older, they move past simply attaching pieces together to planning and constructing a variety of structures – awesome engineers!

 

Primary children like to see context in their toys – helping them to make sense of the world around them. This set from Learning Resources is a great example of how to engage primary learners in the understanding of key engineering skills: Problem solving, Investigation and Design. They can build their own playground designs and conduct hands-on investigations into the different outcomes. This is great for those children who like to have freedom in their play but also need some scaffolding to support their endeavours.

 

Who doesn’t love a science gadget? To find a toy that not only encourages the understanding of engineering but also gives an insight into how the body works, is just wonderful. Building a robotic hand has elements of spy gadgets and detective films! Once built, being able to use levers to move parts of the hand which explain how your own hand works is just inspirational, I think. To have something practical to play with that makes sense is a brilliant way of engaging the engineer in your child.

 

It really is important for a lot of children to be independent in their play. This is a vital part of their development and can help shape their long-term attitudes and ambitions. For this reason, it is not only imperative that their toys are accessible and have clear instructions, but that they also give them joy and allow them a glimpse at a dream. With a design and build toy such as Nexo, young engineers also learn about air pressure and how suction and mechanical devices can be used in different real-work applications.

 

Nexo is from Thames & Kosmos, a company who is rated highly by BrightMinds founder, Alison Quill. “As a former Science Teacher I can 100% guarantee the quality and sheer brilliance of Thames and Kosmos Science Kits. Each one has superb instructions, beautifully illustrated and above all detailing science experiments for kids that actually work and put the excitement back into Science.”

 

by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds 

 

As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.  

 

Our mission at BrightMinds is to foster “a brighter way to play” to inspire your child to be curious about the world around them & encourage creativity in a fun & relaxed way. 

 

We curate a world-class range of educational toys, games, gifts & books which are good quality, safe and backed by our extraordinary customer service. Engineering Toys are our speciality and an Engineering Toy from BrightMinds is a wonderful gift for your special girl or boy.

 

Backed by our 90 day guarantee we are the number one site for thoughtful toys for kids!

 


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