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/2013/11/gift-guide-2013-top-learning-toys-for-building-stem-skills.html and www.amightygirl.com/holiday-guide

Explore further: Playing with blocks may help children's spatial and math thinking

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

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

20 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

23 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...