Tag Archives: engineering concepts

All Aboard! Train Fun for All Ages

30 Jun

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All aboard the choo-choo train! Does your child love to play with trains? Although they may seem like basic toys to keep your child occupied, trains can actually boost your child’s development. The following are ways playing with trains can benefit your child’s developmental learning.

Teaches Traffic Safety

Playing with trains can increase your child’s traffic safety awareness. Your child will learn that cars cannot cross train tracks when the level crossing is down to indicate that a train is coming. The LEGO® DUPLO® Town Push Train Set has a level crossing as well as a car to demonstrate this traffic safety concept. Additionally, playing with trains on the Thomas & Friends™ Zipbin® Toybox Playmat™ will help your child visualize and understand traffic safety rules between trains, automobiles, and people. This play mat displays train tracks, roads, businesses, a hospital and more. Your child will love exploring traffic safety in a fun way.

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Strengthens Fine Motor Skills

Encouraging your child to play with trains will also strengthen his or her fine motor skills. Fine motor skills refer to the control of the movements children make using the small muscles in their hands and fingers. These skills are important to many of life’s everyday activities, such as eating with silverware and tying shoelaces. Building a toy train set involves working with small objects to create the set, which develops fine motor skills piece by piece.

Develops Engineering and Problem-Solving Skills

Playing with trains also helps develop engineering and problem-solving skills. Building train sets requires innovative thinking and determination. Your child will learn to use his or her engineering skills to design and build train sets. Additionally, when a problem arises with the train or track development process, your child will use problem-solving skills to fix the issue. The Smartmax® My First Animal Train Set requires engineering and problem-solving skills because not only do children build the train set, they are also faced with the challenge of magnetism. Your child will love using engineering skills to build and problem-solving skills to understand how magnets attract and repel.

The skills learned from pretend play with trains are transferable across many age groups. Accelerate the developmental growth of your child by encouraging him or her to play with trains. Your youngster will appreciate learning from these classic toys!

Encouraging Young Engineers with Robotics for Kids

16 Mar

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With recent developments as innovative as medical robots performing surgery and as hilarious as a 3D printer making pizza in outer space, the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (commonly known as STEM), and more specifically robotics are taking humanity farther than we ever thought possible. Allow your children to actively take part in shaping the world around them with the help of STEM practices.

In fact, by including robotics in regular play, you can engage children in different aspects of engineering and teach different scientific concepts. When children work with STEM toys and activities, they learn problem solving skills, creativity, ingenuity and critical thinking alongside developing a passion for science and mathematics. Keep reading for some great activities and toys to help foster your child’s interest in engineering.

Origami Robots – Start simple by creating a robot using origami. Using traditional Japanese paper folding, you can introduce your child to basic engineering concepts and help them begin to understand the importance of following instructions when it comes to larger projects. The Paper Punk Build Your Own Paper Bot002 incorporates creativity and individuality into construction. Instructions are simple, but stickers and a variety of patterns and designs keep kids from getting bored and allow them to explore their own ingenuity.

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Starting Easy Mio the Robot allows children to construct their own real life, programmable robot. The amount of interchangeable parts helps children think critically and encourages creativity as they bring their robot to life. You can also help children learn some programming basics and work on mathematics to make the robot move!

Explore Versatility – With the Smart Lab Motorblox Robot Lab, children will learn how to build something from scratch. The Robot Lab allows children to build and test three different walking robots. Adding movement allows children to develop problem-solving and experimentation skills while learning about mechanics.

 The Big Leagues – Step up the programming game with the ReCon 6.0, a programmable rover that young engineers can program to navigate specific courses. Children can program the robot to deliver a treat to a pet, surprise a family member with a personalized message, carry a soda, guard a bedroom, or even dance! By working with a more complex type of programming, they will engage with early mathematics and delve into more complicated problem solving.

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Schools are pushing for more STEM concepts in the classroom, but who says they have to stay there? Allow your young ones to put on their thinking caps and encourage exploration, experimentation, and excitement at home with their own personal robot friends! For more STEM toys and products, visit the STEM and STEAM section of our website.

Help Kids Become Future Innovators with Fun and Educational Toys

10 Mar

Innovators like to ask questions about the world around them and use their creativity to solve problems, so being creative and inquisitive are important traits kids should practice and develop. Here are five educational toys that can help children become future innovators by introducing them to engineering concepts and helping them increase their problem-solving skills:

1. GoldieBlox & the Spinning Machine (4-9 years)

goldibloxIf you’re looking for a construction toy for girls, look no further! A 2014 Educational and People’s Choice Toy of the Year Award Winner, GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine uses storytelling and construction materials to introduce engineering principles and help girls build spatial and problem-solving skills. Girls can help Goldie, the main character, build a belt drive machine and experiment with a variety of design ideas. Girls can also learn about wheels and axles with Goldie and her friends in GoldieBlox and the Parade Float.

2. Magna-Tiles® (3 years & up)

46315Kids of all ages love playing with Magna-Tiles because they can build castles, houses, and a variety of other 3-D objects. The colorful magnetic tiles are a great way to introduce kids to basic engineering concepts and can also help kids expand their building and critical thinking skills. Be sure to browse our Ideas for Your Magna-Tiles® Creations blog post to help kids further expand their creativity and understanding of building concepts.

3. Candy Construction Building Kit (4 years & up)

141407aAn alternative to traditional building blocks and marble runs, the Candy Construction Building Kit gives kids a sweet way to build eye-catching structures while helping them develop their fine motor skills. Kids will love using their creativity and critical thinking skills to make structures that look like edible works of art. The colorful set includes 92 pieces and an activity guide with building directions and structure ideas for kids to make.

4. Monkey Business Gear Set (4-7 years)

22019Kids get to build their own “gears jungle” with the Monkey Business Gear Set. The jungle-themed set includes plastic gears, connectors, base plates, and a crank to help monkeys swing and turn through palm trees. This fun set includes 136 pieces with instructions and building ideas for kids to use. If your kids love visiting the ocean or talking about ocean animals, an Under the Sea Building Set is also available.

5. LEGO® and DUPLO® (18 months & up)

141628dThese classic building toys are a great way to introduce kids to engineering concepts, especially since a number of different themed building sets are available. Whether your kids are interested in Star Wars™ or Cinderella, you can find a LEGO® and DUPLO® building set that they will enjoy. The great thing about LEGO® and DUPLO® is that they offer building sets for a variety of ages, so your children can continue to play and learn with LEGO® and DUPLO® items as they grow older and gain more building and critical thinking skills.