How Do STEM Toys Help Kids? The Impact Could Be Great

Ad failed to load

STEM toys have been gaining popularity recently, and for good reason. As society and schools are encouraging kids to get into science, math, and technology, different child-related industries are looking for ways to assist (and, to be honest, cash in). As we head into the holiday season, and you start getting bombarded with advertisements, you might be wondering if STEM toys are worth the hype and the money. How do STEM toys help kids? As it turns out, they're definitely worth your consideration.

Getting young kids to build the intrigue and confidence it takes to garner a long-term interest in STEM subjects is paramount, noted Business Insider. STEM toys can help your little ones begin to dabble in relevant technological and scientific processes, develop skills in those areas, and gain confidence as they do so. STEM toys are often brightly colored and often involve light, music, or sound to draw in young kids, and the idea is that once little ones become involved in shaping and building something on their own, the love of the process will take over.

STEM toys are a way to maximize playtime, and often are enjoyable enough for parents and kids to play with together — which is, likely, the whole point.

Ad failed to load

According to Purdue University's Women in Engineering Program, toys can help children turn their ideas into reality, and toys which encourage building, critical thinking, and advanced mental processes are a great first step in inspiring kids towards a science, technology, engineering, or math career. The hope is that toys like that will help children realize they can impact the world through their ideas, Purdue suggested. Research shows that kids, especially girls, become interested in things that they are confident in doing. Introducing STEM concepts early through relatable and likeable toys can provide big benefits in how kids approach certain subjects in the future.

According to Fast Company, STEM sales only account for two to three percent of the toy market, but it is on the rise. Though STEM toys will likely never be a mass market, its fans are, largely, parents that are committed to education, and will likely be repeat customers that hopefully inspire growth. With STEM, "parents are more inclined to spend money because they don’t necessarily view the purchases as 'toys,' but rather as educational aids," Fast Company noted. This is one of the reasons that STEM toys are probably pricier than the average toys — the other is that these toys often involve electronic processes or parts, as well.

Ad failed to load

But, a toy doesn't necessarily have to be labeled STEM to promote STEM-related thinking or skill-building. When you break down the basic concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math, you'll find a foundation of sequencing, matching, building, and spatial planning and awareness. Many toys, especially those that encourage active thinking and process, are educational and have STEM-related benefits.

While early childhood educators have long stated the benefits of open-ended toys — toys where the child has to manipulate or create change in order to entertain themselves as opposed to entertainment being created via a button or switch — and STEM toys definitely implement this idea in order to encourage creativity and impact.

Ad failed to load

As it seems, STEM toys aren't going to go anywhere anytime soon, and it may be beneficial for parents to take a closer look at what their children are playing with. As public funding for arts, sciences, and physical education continues to get cut from school budgets, what can you do at home to ensure your kids are being challenged to use creative and critical thinking skills? How can you promote their problem-solving skills, their persistence in completing difficult tasks, their independence in creating valuable change? If there are benefits in the toys you choose for your babies, it couldn't hurt to try something new.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills