STEM- and STEAM-friendly toys for kids

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Parents might be hearing a lot more about STEM and STEAM education these days, especially as kids get deeper into the school year. But what do those letters stand for, and why is that learning approach so important?

First off, parents, don’t be intimidated! There are so many fun and easy ways to engage your kids in STEM/STEAM activities. For the uninitiated, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, while STEAM adds an “A” for art.

But why is this educational curriculum so important? The STEM/STEAM approach helps kids learn problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that are helpful not only on their educational journey but in their future careers as well.

Here are three STEM/STEAM-friendly toys that will encourage kids to think critically, problem-solve and get creative in the process. In fact, they’ll have so much fun, they might not even realize they’re learning, too!

Just Play Ada Twist, Scientist On-the-Go Lab Set, $44.44

Credit: Walmart

Based on the book — and now the new Netflix showAda Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, the Just Play Ada Twist, Scientist On-The-Go Lab Set with Experiment Cards is perfect for kids who like to get hands on. Packed with kid-friendly scientific accessories like test tubes, beakers and a working scale, this lab in the shape of a roller backpack will inspire kids to get creative, too. The set comes with six experiment cards, so kids ages 3 and up can test all sorts of hypotheses and solve problems in the process.

Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes, $29.99

Credit: Walmart

Kids will enjoy getting active with this STEM-friendly activity. Designed by aeronautical engineers, the Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes will have kids running, jumping and, of course, stomping to see just how high or how far their stunt planes can fly. Each plane boasts a different design that gives it unique movements in the air. Kids ages 5 and up can also adjust the air-powered rocket launch stand to test out different flight plans for their stunt planes. Talk about adding some kid power to engineering!

KiwiCo Koala Crate — Camping, $26.95

Credit: KiwiCo

The camping-themed Koala Crate from KiwiCo, designed for kids ages 2 to 4, definitely inspires kids to get crafty and firmly puts the “A” in STEAM. While kids use the battery-powered tea light to illuminate their felt-flamed campfire, they’re also learning how to create real-world objects from abstract shapes. The project kit also comes with a backpack and a kid-friendly magazine with puzzles and games. Kids might even want to assemble their campfire accessories in the backyard or a nearby park, where they can see science and nature up close! (Keep in mind that KiwiCo subscription prices vary.)

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