Purdue engineer: Toys can help develop STEM skills in children

November 28, 2013 by Judith Barra Austin, Purdue University

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

Related Stories

Supermagnets present ongoing child health risks

October 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

July 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

Chinese Cretaceous fossil highlights avian evolution

September 24, 2018

A newly identified extinct bird species from a 127 million-year-old fossil deposit in northeastern China provides new information about avian development during the early evolution of flight.

Ancient mice discovered by climate cavers

September 24, 2018

The fossils of two extinct mice species have been discovered in caves in tropical Queensland by University of Queensland scientists tracking environment changes.

The first predators and their self-repairing teeth

September 24, 2018

The earliest predators appeared on Earth 480 million years ago—and they even had teeth capable of repairing themselves. A team of palaeontologists led by Bryan Shirley and Madleen Grohganz from the Chair for Palaeoenviromental ...

0 comments

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.