Purdue engineer: Toys can help develop STEM skills in children

Nov 28, 2013 by Judith Barra Austin

One of the hot topics on social media this holiday season is finding gifts that can help children, especially girls, develop science- and engineering-related skills.

Beth Holloway, director of the Women in Engineering Program at Purdue University, says that help children figure out how to turn their into reality - toys that let them design and build something, for instance - are a great first step in inspiring them to consider a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career.

"Toys like that will help children realize that they can make an impact on the world through their ideas," she says.

As for girls in particular, Holloway says they should have a range of toys and experiences.

"Parents need to provide girls with toys that indulge their feminine side but also those that allow them to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from designing and building something," she says. "Those accomplishments will encourage them to continue to stretch their imaginations."

Holloway says research shows that girls tend to become interested in what they are confident that they are good at doing. STEM-inspired toys can help foster that confidence in designing and building while reinforcing their existing interests.

For ideas on STEM-related toys, Holloway suggests the websites www.modernparentsmessykids.com… ing-stem-skills.html and www.amightygirl.com/holiday-guide

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Supermagnets present ongoing child health risks

Oct 27, 2013

The continued sale and availability of powerful, neodymium magnets—typically 10 to 20 times stronger than traditional magnets— are causing an increase in pediatric ingestion-related injuries, according to an abstract ...

EU bans raft of dangerous chemicals from toys

Jul 19, 2013

Childrens' toys need to comply as of Saturday with a new Europe-wide ban on dozens of chemical substances scientists say could trigger cancer, harm fertility or unleash allergies, the European Commission said.

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.