Here at Create and Craft HQ we are SO excited about the fact that we are bringing in a whole host of STEM educational toys from the brilliant Learning Resources, that we couldn’t resist getting our hands on a few of them and trying them out with our own little ones!
PR & Events Executive, Sam, and her daughter Lottie (nearly 2), as well as Campaign Marketing Executive, Donna, and her son Nico (6), had a great time exploring this amazing range of education toys as well as getting to know more about the benefits of STEM itself…
So, what is STEM Learning all about?
STEM Education is a term initiated by the National Science Foundation. It is an approach used in education, focusing on one or more of the following subjects:
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
One of the key benefits of STEM learning is that it puts children at the core of the experience, turning them into active learners instead of passive listeners. It also encourages kids to experiment, make mistakes and learn from their own experiences, engage in critical thinking and logical analysis.
STEM boosts children’s curiosity, making learning fun, relevant and everlasting.
Create and Craft have teamed up with Learning Resources, the brains behind a fantastic range of STEM and educational toys which span all ages from 18 months to 11 years. No matter the age, there is always something new to be learnt and experienced from this fantastic collection of toys. And you never know… honing those STEM skills early on might lead you to having a budding astronaut, medic or physicist on your hands!
Lottie’s Pick of the Toddler Education Toys:
The Snap-n-Learn Counting Sheep are a woolly, wonderful way to learn new number and colour skills. These educational toys include 10 friendly two-piece number sheep who are numbered 1–10 and ready for early math lessons in number recognition, counting, sequencing, and more. Each sheep also features a different colour of the rainbow – instead of the usual white or black, these sheep have wool that’s red, blue, orange, green, and more.
Suitable for 18 months +
Early learning skills will spike with this peg-play fine motor hedgehog! Featuring 12 coloured ‘spikes’, young learners can push their pegs into Spike’s back as they build colour recognition, counting and matching skills. This early years themed set builds fine motor skills in small hands and encourages early math learning.
As a parent, I often struggle to find a learning activity for toddlers which is easy for an under-2-year-old to really engage with. These two toys from Learning Resources have been great at encouraging Lottie to participate in some independent play; once I had given her the toys, she immediately started to engage with them on her own with little input needed from me.
The first toy we tried out was Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog. As soon as we got the box out, Lottie started to laugh and get excited. We began by putting him on the table and I demonstrated how his spikes went in and out. She was great at pulling them out and after a few attempts she worked out how to put them back in the holes as well.
I can see this toy growing with her over the next year or so – we have already started identifying the different colours of his spines, and once she starts counting I’m sure we will count the spines as we put them in and out too.
We then had a go with the Counting Sheep which I think were her favourite. She loved the fact they came in their own plastic tub and she has spent a serious amount of time since receiving the set simply pouring them out and then putting them all back in again! I can see this pre-school toy being really beneficial as Lottie grows and starts verbalising her colours and understanding the concept of numbers more.
I love the fact that when you clip off their fleeces there are numbered dots to match up to the number on their fleece.
For us now though, the simple fact that they are bright, colourful and toddler hand-size is enough to keep Lottie thoroughly engaged with them; it’s a thumbs up from us!
Nico’s pick of the school-age toys:
Age 6 +
This set of 114 brightly coloured sentence building dominoes will help children identify and learn sentence construction with ease. The colour-coded plastic dominoes are printed with nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions and prepositions, and encourage children to create hundreds of different sentences.
Encourage children’s imagination as they mix, match and build engineering-themed creations. This fantastic set is designed to encourage creativity and develop fine motor skills as children are introduced to early STEM concepts. Players build using 116 plastic pieces including colourful gears, propellers, chains, pulleys and more. Problem-solving skills are also reinforced while cause and effect concepts are introduced.
My eldest child, Nico, is just starting to learn sentence structure at school. The Sentence Building Dominoes were just what we needed to help him master the use of nouns, verbs, adjectives and more.
All the dominoes are colour-coded which made it easier for him identify the different parts of a sentence, and there is even access to an online activity guide. It kept the whole family entertained on a Sunday afternoon, and it was great to turn this into a real-world physical activity for him to engage with.
We also had the chance to play with a toy from the Gears, Gears Gears collection, so we chose the Machines in Motion Building Set. I would definitely recommend this to friends and family looking to buy STEM toys for the young people in their life this Christmas! There are so many pieces and creations that you can make with the set and my son absolutely loved playing with it.
Although some aspects were a little advanced for him, it is something he can continue to play with and hopefully master the more complicated bits as he gets older. What’s also really great is that all the Gears, Gears, Gears sets work together, so we can add to the collection over time.
At Create and Craft, we love to get our hands on the most exciting new ranges, and never turn down the opportunity to have a play ourselves, whether it’s the newest crafting vogue, or the latest educational trend. But you needn’t take our word for it – check out the full range of STEM toys from Learning Resources, and discover for yourself why this hands-on learning approach has been such a hit with our team’s littlest testers!
Looking for more ways to keep little hands busy, and little minds creative? Check out all our kids’ craft projects, articles and tutorials right here.