Roominate is a line of wired building systems designed for young girls to promote creativity while designing their own structures with circuits, modular pieces, and universal joints.
The back-to-school season usually means the smell of newly sharpened pencils, a new wardrobe, and denial that the precious summer months have come to a close. You’ve probably heard the acronym STEAM being thrown around here and there, but this movement is making a bigger impact on the toy industry than ever before.
STEAM puts an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art, and math, and these concepts have definitely made their way to back-to-school gear. But companies are doing a lot more than just making educational toys. They’re creating products that have value added to them—something kids appreciate without even knowing, and parents love for all of the extra benefits. [Read more...]
Mary Couzin, the founder and CEO of the Chicago Toy & Game Group, has been selected to sit on an eight-person panel of judges for the 2014 DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge, which charges individuals and companies to create new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-based toys for young children, particularly girls.
Joining Couzin will be actresses and activists Geena Davis and Maria Bello, as well as Clare Munn, the CEO and founder of the social impact media company The Communication Group. Couzin and her fellow judges will critique games designed to challenge girls from the ages of three to 12.
Any individuals or companies with a valid prototype are eligible for entry to the DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge.
K’NEX Education will be participating in the third USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, hosted by founding and presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin. Designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, the Festival Expo allows kids and adults to participate in more than 3,000 hands-on activities, as well as see more than 100 live stage performances.
The K’NEX Education Build and Learn Zone invites kids of all ages to have fun with hands-on learning while designing, building, investigating, problem solving, and evaluating scientific and design principles in action using K’NEX rods, connectors, gears, tires, and hubs at interactive building stations. Kids will have the opportunity to chat with K’NEX designers and engineers, and teachers can stop by and learn how K’NEX Education building sets can complement their STEM curriculum.
The Festival Expo is scheduled for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on April 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
TinkerBots is a building set that enables kids ages 5 and up to create an endless number of toy robots without wiring or programming. The set includes “Power Brain” and kinetic modules, which easily twist and snap together along with other TinkerBots pieces, adding movement and interest to whatever robot is built.
TinkerBots is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to offer parents the opportunity to pre-order a TinkerBots robot building set, and to support the production of a toy that introduces robotics and STEM concepts to kids in the form of play. The toys are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. [Read more...]
On January 7, K’NEX will host a Forces, Energy & Motion STEM Workshop for 25 teachers from Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania. The workshop is aimed at providing teachers with the tools they need to get students excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). K’NEX Education will help teachers prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s STEM jobs, as our country faces a critical shortage of qualified STEM workers.
During the workshop, teachers will progress through a series of meaningful and rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities designed to guide their learning and challenge them to use critical thinking and problem solving skills, much like their students would in the classroom.
The K’NEX Education workshop will take place at K’NEX headquarters in Hatfield, Pa. from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on January 7.
To celebrate its 15th anniversary, The Young Scientists Club will add new kits inspired by the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M.) education. The company will show off the new kits, which feature The Magic School Bus and Clifford the Big Red Dog, at February’s American International Toy Fair.
The Magic School Bus Math Explosion features a volcano that kids can explode by getting their math facts correct, while The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab lets kids build a solar oven, design a car, construct a bridge, create solar energy, and more. Clifford Animal Science includes a colorful lab tray, measuring cup, and magnifying glass for kids to perform experiments in animal science. Finally, Clifford Food Science guides young scientists through tasty experiments with catchy titles, such as rainbow ice and ice cream in a bag.
There’s a new addition to the GoldieBlox toy collection: GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, available now for pre-order at GoldieBlox.com for delivery by December 1, and rolling into Toys “R” Us stores nationwide this holiday season. Encouraging the growth of a female presence in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, founder Debbie Sterling and GoldieBlox aim to introduce girls to the fun of building combined with the age-old pastime of storytelling, by offering an engineering role model who is smart, curious, and accessible.
The new main set, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, features nine design ideas as well as a do-it-yourself project, and is compatible with all other Goldie Blox toys. Meanwhile, the new Blox + Bits Expansion Pack includes rods, blocks, and other extra pieces that fit both the original GoldieBlox and The Spinning Machine and GoldieBlox and The Parade Float sets, and allow kids to create even larger projects.
In addition, GoldieBlox has launched an online play gallery with stop-motion how-to videos starring little girl inventors. Fans can submit their own videos to be featured on GoldieBlox.com and the GoldieBlox YouTube channel.
Recently, we wrote about a petition from mom Melissa Wardy for Lego to release a set of female scientist figures. After seeing that only 16 percent (11 percent if you don’t count the Lego Friends line) of Lego minifigures are females, Wardy knew something had to be done. She learned that one of the entries in one of Lego’s public contests to design new building sets featured a female minifigure series that included a paleontologist, a robotics engineer, a geologist, an astronomer, a chemist, a judge, and a fire fighter. This entry raised the amount of votes necessary to be considered for production, so Wardy started a petition to have these females in the STEM fields available on shelves, available for all kids to play with.
With positive role models—for girls and boys—being incredibly important, especially in a time where bullying is a very present topic in the media, I think that the toy industry is beginning to shape a new generation of women by not overlooking the importance of construction sets for girls that inspire them to be more than just “pink.” Here are a few examples (including Lego Friends) of construction sets that present introduce girls to bigger opportunities.
One of the main issues many folks have with girls’ construction sets, such as the Lego Friends line, is that they are very “pink-washed.” Just because the set is designed for girls, does everything have to have a splash of pink across it? The Lego Friends line’s newest product breaks down those gender barriers and creates a play set in its girls’ line that isn’t so pink—and even includes a boy minifigure.
Stephanie and Matthew attend Heartlake High, where they study plants under microscopes, experiment with chemical reactions, and look through an astronomy telescope in science and biology classes. Heartlake High provides a well-rounded cirriculum, with an art class and a music class as well. After school Stephanie and Matthew can play basketball with the hoop outside or go for a bike ride. The Heartlake High set includes Stephanie, Matthew, and Ms. Stevens mini-doll figures. [Read more...]