Tag Archives: STEM

Building an Indoor Garden

27 Oct

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Grab your gardening tools and gloves! We have provided some ideas to get you started building your very own kid friendly indoor garden! An indoor garden is a fantastic way to teach your children about the concept of gardening, responsibility, and patience. Kids can join in on the fun with their own gardening tools, watering can, and gloves made for little hands.

  1. Brainstorm the type of garden you would like to create. The possibilities are endless!
  2. Choose a pot, planter, jar or container. You can even recycle old newspaper to create a pot for your seedling with the Seedling Pot Maker. Make sure your plant has enough room to grow!
  3. Pick the type of seed you would like to plant. Encourage a healthy lifestyle by planting yummy fruits, vegetables, and herbs to include in your meals that come directly from your very own garden. You can even plant a colorful oasis of vibrant flowers or succulents and watch them grow and blossom right before your eyes.
  4. Choose the type of soil you will need. We recommend using a multi-purpose potting mix but an organic, multi-purpose potting mix is ideal for edible plants.
  5. Go ahead and fill your pot with the necessary amount of soil and plant your seeds!
  6. Watering your plants is a very important step when taking care of an indoor garden! Remember to water your plants at least twice a week or when the surface of the soil is dry.
  7. Make sure your garden is an area with plenty of sunlight! You can place your garden close to a window for natural lighting or use a grow light.
  8. Now you are ready to watch your plant grow and thrive!

Helpful Tip: To prevent messes, place down newspaper before you start your indoor gardening project for an easy clean up.

We offer fun, kid-friendly kits that introduce kids to gardening and can be used in an indoor setting. Kids can get crafty with the Flower Garden Kit. It comes with everything you need to cast and paint a garden pot and grow flowers. The Odd Pods Cactus Garden comes everything you need along with easy instructions to grow over 25 different varieties of cacti in a space-age capsule. Create a whimsical indoor garden with the My Fairy Garden™ Willow’s Tree Hollow.

Get inspired to create a one-of-a-kind indoor garden that you can enjoy year round!

Source: https://growagoodlife.com/indoor-garden/

Toys that Make Coding Fun!

8 Sep

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Coding is not just for engineering students anymore! Because technology plays such a fundamental role in our everyday life, programming has become a useful, almost essential, skill to have. With coding being often referred to as the “new literacy”, programming has become more common in school curriculum. Coding doesn’t have to be a complex and confusing subject. It can be a fun game that challenges your child’s critical thinking skills and encourages problem solving. Explore these three fun products that makes coding approachable and enjoyable, giving your child a leg up on learning this valuable skill.

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Think & Learn Code-a-pillar™

Perfect for little learners 3 years and up, the Think and Learn Code-a-pillar will wiggle its way across your floor, following your child’s programmed commands. Includes eight segments that direct the Code-a-pillar to move and turn in different directions. Practice sequencing and problem solving skills by connecting segments of the Code-a-pillar to make it move to the destination target you selected. The Code-a-pillar’s lights and sounds with every wiggle are sure to delight your child as they code!

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Ozobot Starter Pack

Meet Ozobot, a tiny robot with lots knowledge! The Ozobot uses optical sensors to read and then follow your child’s color code sequences that they have drawn on a piece of paper. With included games, brainteasers, and reusable coding stickers, Ozobot is sure to provide hours of STEM play. Your child can even give their Ozobot personality with included decor stickers!

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Primo™ Cubetto Children’s Programmable Robot Playset

Cubetto is an adorable wooden robot that your child can program and guide to lead Cubetto on adventures across the world map. As simple as placing coding blocks on an interface board! Don’t worry about your child become bored with coding, once they have mastered the world map, they can send their Cubetto on even more exciting and complicated adventures with additional maps and coding blocks sets! Cubetto combines the fun of a wooden robot’s adventures with a tangible coding learning activity!

With the use of fun, technology based toys such as these, you can make coding an accessible and engaging subject for your child. Giving them fundamental knowledge to help them excel at school and future possible career paths.

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.

Hands-On Fun! Digging for Dinosaurs

4 Nov

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Sensory exploration is important for young children as they not only develop their senses but also learn new ways to explore the world around them. One way to engage the senses, teach science skills, and encourage hands-on play is by digging for dinosaur bones! Here are four simple steps for starting your very own mini-excavation with kids:

86665f.jpg1. Pick Out Sand.

The first thing you’ll need is a sand pit! Whether it’s a sand box, a sand and water table, or simply a sensory tray with sand in it, you’ll need something to cover up those dinosaur bones and fossils! If you’re looking for authenticity, add Jurassic Sand to give a rustic feel to your excavation.

Featured Resource: Naturally Playful Sand Table 

2. Find Fossils.

31828.jpgThe next thing you’ll need is believable finds for your budding archeologist! Finding fossils should be exciting as children take on the role of a scientist to assess their discoveries and ask questions about different dinosaurs. From fossils to prehistoric plants, here are some fun options below:

3. Use the Right Tools.

17447c.jpgIt can’t be a proper dinosaur dig without the right tools! Equip your explorer with shovels, sifters, and a magnifying glass to study their findings. It’s also important to ensure the tools fit their hands and are small enough to fit inside trays and sand tables without damaging the fossils. Here are some of our favorite tools for little hands:

30328d.jpg4. Go for the Kit.

Want to go even deeper into dinosaur discovery? Check out our archaeologist kits for little explorers. Kits include STEM materials, career exploration, and all of the materials needed to start an excavation for kids!

Featured Excavation Kits:


Have pictures of your dinosaur dig? Tweet them @KaplanToys by using the hashtag #littledinodigs.

Six Science Investigations for Summer

4 Aug

Curious how your children can get more involved in science learning this summer? Take advantage of the time off from school to tap into children’s natural curiosity with scientific investigations at home! Whether little ones want to catch up, get ahead, or just have fun, summer is the perfect time for creative, scientific play.

1. Kitchen Creations

Change things up by encouraging children to play with their food! Together, you can make something edible or make food discoveries just for fun. You may want to try the marshmallow challenge: make a marshmallow sink by compacting it so that it is more dense than the water in which it would normally float. Check out more science experiments for the kitchen here:

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Source: Makes and Takes

2. Grow Up

Use the summer sun to help practice planting and gardening! You can grow a whole garden outdoors, or keep a small potted plant on a windowsill inside to study with children. What do plants need to grow? Depending on what you plant, how high will it grow? Find out those answers and more with these gardening ideas here:

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Source: PBS Parents

3.Sponge Fun

Learn about absorption with a sponge! See how the sponge absorbs soap and water indoors, or take it outside to get messier! Compare the sponge to a block or other non-absorbent materials when it is both wet and dry. Why do you think it works like this? You can even turn chores, like washing dishes or a car, into a lesson about absorption. Check out the details of how absorption works and more fun facts about this activity here:

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Science Sparks

4. Tornado in a Jar

Jump into sensory play by creating your own tornado! All you need is a jar, water, and a little bit of dish soap. Now, just shake it up. For more detailed instructions, click on the jar!

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In Leiu of Preschool

5. Stargazing

If it’s a clear night, search for stars in the night sky! You can use a telescope or just look up above. Can you see planets? Any constellations? What are stars made up of? Here are the answers and some cool science facts for kids. Go even deeper into night sky exploration by checking out our related post: Planning a Family Stargazing Night.

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Easy Science for Kids

6. Fireflies

Can’t see the stars from where you are? Fireflies make a great summertime substitute! You can catch these little critters temporarily in acute bug jar (with a hole for airflow) to observe the bugs up close. Find out what makes fireflies glow and other cool facts about fireflies here:

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Smithsonian

For more summer science fun, visit our science section!

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Fresh Homeschool Ideas

14 Jul

Looking for ways to make homeschooling more exciting for you and your students? Combining work with play can go a long way. Here are three fun ways to get inspired about learning at home:

1. Make STEM an interactive learning experience.

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Math and science can be a challenge for kids, but it can also be fun! With bright colors and hands-on educational activities, children will get excited for STEM. Check out these engaging gadgets that are perfect for homeschooling with math and science.

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Unifix® Cubes

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Fish’N Math

 

 

2. Include dramatic play.

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Whether it’s considered a break or part of your child’s curriculum, dramatic play is a great way for children to learn basic social and emotional skills while becoming comfortable with social situations. Here are some fun ideas for  dramatic play:

3. Sort with colors!

Use colors to learn about different things. Sorting colors supports organizational skills and engages the senses when learning about different categories.30281a.jpg

  • Example: Teach children about different foods and colors at the same time with play food and baskets.

For more inspiration for homeschooling activities, check out our Pinterest page!