Gadgets are popular with all ages and are a great way of introducing technology to your children. STEAM products are always topping best seller lists for educational toys and it is not hard to see where there are developmental benefits in gadget toys which encourage them to think outside the box..
Gadgets have grown beyond Newton’s cradle and children are able to explore all manner of technology whilst having fun! Playing with gadgets and technology toys does not necessarily mean more screen time although there are those occasions when the learning is enhanced by use of specialised apps.
The gyroscope has been in production since the 1800s – a wonderful engineering gadget which can detect whether an object is moving away from its intended path by measuring rotational motion (there’s a great explanatory article here from Sciencing.com)
This tightrope walking gyroscope from Thames & Kosmos’s STEM Experiment Kit range is such a lot of fun. By constructing the robot and performing the experiments with the motorised gyroscope unit, young engineers can learn about the science of gyroscopic devices and the indispensable role they play in our lives.
If you are looking for a gadget that will appeal to all ages, then this ridiculously cute robotic hedgehog has to be the one! There’s a look of Sonic about it which appeals to the older gamers amongst us but there’s enough realism to make it universally appealing (I am, of course, presuming that everyone loves hedgehogs as much as my family does!).
Once you have built the robot (lovely construction skills needed) it moves in all manner of realistic ways – curls up, extends its spines. The sensors allow it to react to hand claps, performing a variety of tricks. This really is a fun gadget which will keep anyone engaged for hours!
The Stikbots have been popular gadget toys for a few years now. Stop motion is a very accessible method of film making – one which makes children really think about processes, about movement and realism. Interestingly, Walt Disney started his film making journey by experimenting with stop motion film making – certainly worked for him!
Klikbots take the brand one step further and really make film gadgetry super fun. There is a whole range of learning opportunities to be had through making these films. Children learn patience and tolerance – especially when working with a sibling or friend. Story writing, creativity, imagination, coherence – the list is endless!
Who says a gadget can’t be green! We love a bit of eco-technology and this lightbulb which works by gravity (intriguing) or with a crank (dynamo action) is a great example. There is definitely a lesson to be learned in how we can work with nature to make our lives easier.
Children are very aware of climate change, and the environmental issues surrounding it, and can get overwhelmed by the thought of a dying world. Giving them a tangible model of how we can help, even if only in the tiniest way, can go a long way in easing worries. Teaching principles of gravity, mechanics and renewable energy, there are no batteries needed for this eco-bulb – a shining example of clean energy!
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.
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