Smart Toys for STEM Education

November 9, 2022 by Charlene Wan
Kids participating in STEM education

It’s widely accepted that children learn through play. Recent research underscores the importance of introducing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education to young children to better prepare them for future careers. So it’s no surprise that there is now a wide array of STEM-related toys, proving that learning the most challenging scientific concepts can still be fun and informative.  

People learn best by interacting with a problem or idea, so being able to see a concept in action through a STEM toy can help consolidate understanding, make the learning approachable, and improve critical thinking.  

According to Wikipedia, critical thinking is defined as “the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgment,” and smart toys can help develop critical thinking skills in both adults and children. Indeed, as an essential element of managerial positions, it’s important to constantly build and improve critical thinking skills. 

Robotics and Coding Smart Toys  

Children created robots with STEM

Although the idea of handling robotics can be intimidating, it’s a great way to start learning  STEM at home. Complete with a how-to resources guide for parents and educators, the Sphero Mini Robot ball is a great way to individualize guided learning for kids and young adults. Users can build their own mazes and obstacles and play STEM-inspired games from the Sphero Play App. Older and more experienced learners can advance to programming the Mini with Javascript or Block Based Coding in the Sphero Edu App. 

Another good option for younger users is the MakeBlock mTiny Robotic Toy, which looks adorable as a little panda and teaches children ages four and up about screen-free coding. The mTiny comes with themed maps, coding cards, and an enlightening storybook. Plus, the mTiny comes with ten pre-set emotions and hundreds of sound effects to guide and encourage kids as they progress. 

With up to 5 companion apps, the Coding Bot STEM Companion (also known as ‘Callie’)  is a great block coding teacher for kids ages six and up, and is excellent for illustrating the real-life applications of coding.  

If you are looking for a product for older children, consider the Makeblock mBot Neo. This coding companion is compatible with Scratch and Python and takes the form of a remote-controlled car. Unlike the Sphero, the mBot Neo allows users to assemble electronics and improve their robotics knowledge through trial and error. This voice-controlled smart STEM toy is also internet-enabled, allowing users to learn about the Internet of Things (IoT) first-hand and experience the concept of creating products for smart homes.  

Build-It-Yourself STEM Toys 

Several smart toys focus on the electrical and programming elements of STEM.  

KEYESTUDIO’s Smart Home Starter Kit is a great way to get familiar with the electronics and programming that power smart homes. The kit features 15 projects to teach users about the basics of modules such as buttons, LEDs, sensors,  and other features of smart homes. Users can move on to lights, human infrared sensors, steam sensors, and even gas leak alerts when they feel confident with the basics. The coding elements can be done via computer, Android, or IOS phones and shows users the real-life applications of what they learn. 

Another option is the Creation Crate Bluetooth Speaker Challenge Project, which allows users to learn about  Bluetooth technology by building it themselves. The kit is designed to be a one-stop shop for building and programming a Bluetooth speaker and contains all the real-world components an aspiring STEM professional needs, plus includes access to an education-focused Online Classroom. 

For budding scientists who have always wondered how meteorologists measure environmental factors like temperature or air pressure – or even how digital clocks keep track of the time, Creation Crate is the answer. The company offers kits for building personal weather stations and digital clocks, both featuring all the real-world components needed, plus access to an education-packed online classroom. 

Girl assembling robot with STEM

How Ambiq Contributes 

Smart IoT devices require reliable and ultra-low-energy components for a seamless user experience. Additionally, their processors must be optimized to perform these tasks on a low electric charge. The Apollo4 Blue Plus SoC has set a new standard in energy efficiency for battery-powered devices with an integrated Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor with Floating Point Unit (FPU) and turboSPOT®, increasing computational capabilities while dramatically lowering the active power consumption. 

For more than ten years, Ambiq® has been laser-focused on inventing and delivering the most revolutionary system on chip (SoC) solutions in the market. Through the advanced Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT®) platform, Ambiq has helped many leading manufacturers worldwide create products that can operate for days, months, and sometimes years on a lithium battery or a single charge. 

Written by Charlene Wan
Charlene Wan
Written by Charlene Wan

Experienced marketing and communications executive with a successful track record in the technology industry on a global scale. Skilled in branding, go-to-market strategy, media relations, executive communications, and social media.

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