Welcome WNEP viewers!
Well, just when we thought that it was only going to be a few months out of school -here we go again! We are all faced with the difficult decision about the upcoming school year, but we are going to give you some piece of mind to help you find balance with remote learning, especially to make sure that your children are still learning future skills. With the recent concerns and new guidelines surrounding the Coronavirus, many families still don’t know what the school year ahead will look like. What can families do for teaching and learning of the future? Today we are going to showcase and discuss some of the latest toys and children’s products that will incorporate jobs and skills in the classroom (no matter where that is) alongside STEM.
STEAM education is sweeping the nation. School districts are scrambling to provide programs from robotics competitions to coding games while teachers filter through thousands of Pinterest pins in search of quality STEAM activities. Parents are not far behind, investing in board games and science kits with STEAM seal of approval. STEM, which is educational focus in science, tech, engineering and math, has recently been changed to STEAM, to include the arts. But now what? What should parents do that we may be back to remote learning?
We can’t just ignore the facts!
In an online article on Times Higher Education, Professor Martin Boehm of IE Business School in Spain made a startling prediction stating; “Eighty per cent of jobs that will exist in 2025 don’t exist today; we have to prepare our students and graduates for a world that’s essentially not possible to prepare them for.”
Teachers are preparing students for jobs that do not exist today and for a world where technology including artificial intelligence, will dominate day-to-day life. In short, students need to gain more respect for independent learning. We need to be educating our elementary students for the workplace of 2030 and beyond, which can be done through STEAM.
According to the US Department of Education, the number of STEM/STEAM jobs in the United States will grow by 14% from 2010 to 2020, growth that the BLS terns as “much faster “ than the national average of 5-8 % across all job sectors. Before we get started with STEM, let’s talk a little about online safety. A few months ago, I shared some Internet Safety Remote During Remote Learning but I can’t express enough how much we loved using Bark this summer.
Many parents are worried about the time spent on the screen during the “remote school day” and bark has the solution. And since we are friends, I am going to share how you can get 20% off with the special code below.
bARK App for Online Protection in Remote Learning
At the start of the summer, I did some research for my students to find some resources to help manage screen time. Up to this point, we were just using Screen Time on our iphone and I would just take it upon myself to check their devices. It was getting to be exhausting, so I was grateful when my research led me to bark app. It’s an absolute must for busy parents who are interested in knowing when and if their children come across something that could possibly cause a problem online. bark app allows you to monitor over 30 platforms from text messages to social media channels. When bark detects an issue, you get an automatic alert via email and even includes expert recommendations to make it easy for parents to talk to kids about digital dangers and other sensitive online issues. It did take me some time to set up for my three children, but it’s already been worth the time. Bark app costs $50-100 annually depending on the level of functionality desired, for younger children it’s a monthly charge of $5 and can go up to $14 depending on your desired tools. You can also check out the special code below for readers to save 20% for annual subscription. Check out one of the alerts that was sent to my email last night due to profanity in a youtube video that my 13 year old was watching. Not only did it give me the alert, but look below for some of the expert advice on how I should talk to Lucas about the profanity.
SPECIAL PRICING – SIGN UP NOW FOR A FREE ONE-WEEK TRIAL OF bARK AND 20% OFF BARK FOR LIFE USING CODE 5X7FJ6N AT CHECKOUT.
Coding during Remote Learning
Coding teaches children another language and fosters creativity.
By experimenting, children learn and strengthen their brains. Even when they make a mistake they learn. Children can be creative and creativity is encouraged. Creativity is part of the process and not always the product. Children who learn to code understand how to plan and organize thoughts. This can lead to better writing skills that can be built upon as coding skills develop over time. Coding is a basic literacy in the digital age, and it is important for kids to understand and be able to work with and understand the technology around them.
Having children learn coding at a young age prepares them for the future. Coding helps children with communication, creativity, math, writing, and confidence.
Hex just came on with a new program called Vex 123 – Take coding off the screen and bring it to life!
Vex 123 Introduce coding to students as young as 4 years old. Take coding off the screen and bring it to life! Vex follows a sequence of instructions- starting with the robot -vex 123, then you can pair it with the Vex coder to customize the code. You can also use it with the free app Vex 123, which is a coding curriculum that teaches logic and problem solving skills for life.
No Devices? No Problem! The 123 robot is programmable without a computer. Using the VEX Coder and physical cards, you can learn real programming away from screens.
Kits starting at $99. Grades Pre-K – 2.
Snap Circuits – Learn by Doing
Snap Circuits by Elenco is an educational toy that teaches electronics with snap-together electronic components to learn how circuits work. Each component has the schematic symbol and a label printed on its plastic case that is color coded for easy identification. They snap together with ordinary clothing snaps. Snap Circuits offers a variety of kits starting for kids as young as 8. We put together the Bric Structures set since my kids are super into Legos. This set will breathe new life into toys you already own and provide endless possibilities as kids use what they learn from working through provided projects to build whatever they imagine. These are great toys for those interested in Engineering, electricity, circuits and exciting projects.
STEM toys provide a great level of educational entertainment, often to where kids don’t even realize they’re learning at the same time. Educational toys provide kids tools and methods to explore new and creative ways of problem-solving, displaying data, innovating, and linking multiple fields. Whether you have basic blocks in your house or Magformers like I have here, construction toys have provided children (regardless of gender or ability) a venue for creative thought and problem solving skills.
- Click and create your own adventure with Magformers AMAZING Rescue 50-Piece Set.
- Magformers are a magnetic construction toy where the possibilities are endless.
- Build and create your own fire adventure.
- Build a fire station and fire truck, add wheels and fire accessories.
- This 50 piece set comes with 24 magnetic pieces, 2 characters and emergency vehicle accessories and much more to keep the city safe.
- MSRP $59.99
- Ages 3+
Stick-O Basic 20Pc Set
- Explore and build with The Stick-O Basic 20 Piece Set.
- Young builders can discover the joy of playtime with the rainbow-colored magnetic shapes including, 6 Sticks, 4 Sphere, 2 Curve sticks, 2 Half Sphere, 3 Cones, and 3 Discs. Stick-O is fun, safe and teaches toddlers basic STEM education principles.
- MSRP $29.99
- Ages 18m+
Adults and kids are understandably feeling nervous and worried about COVID-19, but did you know that tactile activities are a treat for the senses and can also help to generate a sense of calm? Kids are engaging their sense of touch and for so many kids, tactile activities can be such a relaxing, calming, regulating activity.
DOLCE Primo Anteater
- The Anteater does not get any cuter than this toy. It’s a very colorful character that comes with a teether, squeaks, and crinkles.
- It helps by keeping children busy with plenty of activities.
- A silicone teether is kept safe in the pocket, while the bead rattle on the left helps to improve children’s sound recognition.
- On the right foot, the crinkle peek-a-boo door can be opened and closed.
- Material: A high quality, safe design means babies can use different parts of the toy as teethers.
- Touch: The different textures and the crinkle feet are incredibly satisfying and fun for children to play with.
- The 3D design helps toddlers to differentiate patterns through tactile play.
- The toy helps to connect your babies motor skills with auditory learning through its squeaking and rattling.
- Visual learning is provoked through color perception.
- Soft parts for use as a teether toy. Non – Toxic (Formaldehyde Free, BPA Free)
- MSRP $39.99
- Ages 0m+
Blockaroo Toys are a cost-friendly toy that kids won’t get tired of since there are so many possibilities for what they can create. No batteries required, which is another bonus and they are dishwasher safe and can even go into the bath tub.Some educational benefits is that Blockaroos promote development of essential STEM skills during the early years of your child’s life. Perfect for little ones 18 months to 6 and even could be beneficial for sensory development with special needs children. Blockaroos includes skills like fine motor, counting and sorting, problem solving and engineering. Don’t forget about imaginative play, which is so important at an early age.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STEM KITS
Don’t not be fooled by just any STEM kit. We are seeing the STEM stamp on more and more toys, but many are not true STEM kits. However, with a brand like National Geographic, you can’t go wrong. Their range of STEM kits create an educational adventure which makes learning fun. Each kit has a collector’s corner specimen to display and a National Geographic learning guide in full colour, packed with amazing facts. Check out all the National Geographic STEM kits.
3Doodler is another unique screen-free play option that we have been using for years. 3 Doodler even offers an EDU program for schools that includes lesson plans and support for teachers. There are even video tutorials for kids to follow along as they create. There are sets for learners as young as 4 with Build & Play, the Start set for ages 6-13 and the Create for ages 14 and up. The EDU features sets for k-12. They also offer Learn From Home Sets, which are perfect for learning from anywhere! Paired with our free stencils, lessons, & webinars, students can explore STEM through tactile tech from home while having a ton of fun.
Don’t worry about giving too much instruction. Children are natural scientists. Let them explore and discover, then reflect on what they discovered by asking how and why that happened. The goal is to teach “21st-century skills”, which refers to skills such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that students need to learn to thrive in today’s world. We all need to reflect on how we learned best during school. Most of us remember the times when we were able to experiment, dissect or bake. We need to look back to the future. Marty McFly would STEAM Ahead and we should too.