It’s fantastic to see the popularity of STEM over the last couple of years, with so many options that are truly inspiring kids to pursue their geeky passions. But we parents know that one of the best ways to get excited about something is to be excited about it ourselves, which is why we’re so thrilled to be teaming up with our newest sponsor Meccano M.A.X.
This STEM toy — which is made by the makers of the classic Erector Sets — combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) learning and custom programming to create a completely custom personal companion that kids and their families can build together, then program him to do all sorts of tricks and tasks. Seriously, you haven’t seen a robot toy like this before.
With that in mind, we’re sharing 7 fun STEM activities for the whole family, so we can all spend more time together. And get some brain exercise while we do it. -Kristen
Make family game night, family STEM game night.
If your family loves board games as much as ours do, then adding a STEM board game into the mix is a smart idea. There are more and more of these popping up, like the popular Robot Turtles game, which actually teaches kids (and adults, too!) pretty complex programming concepts. And bonus: It’s great for preschoolers through adults, so everyone can join in.
Turn screen time into family time.
We often think of screen time as an individual activity, so we love the idea of turning it into a family affair. You’ll find no shortage of cool STEM-related movies (Hello, Hidden Figures) and television shows to get viewers excited about STEM. One of our personal favorites is Brain Games, which covers all sorts of topics from food to language, even money and superstitions, all with interactive components for the viewers. Trust us when we say you’ll find yourself wanting to watch it, even after the kids are asleep.
STEM toys aren’t just for kids.
We’ve featured a slew of awesome STEM toys on our site, from robots you can code to building kits and toys. But we appreciate that our sponsor Meccano M.A.X. combines both for an amazing experience kids can enjoy alone, or with the whole family. Not only are kids and families building M.A.X from scratch (with all the supplies and tools included right in the box), they can actually teach him helpful tasks and cool tricks, like picking up a can or navigating a maze, with simple drag and drop programming).
Look at the concentration!
And get this: M.A.X. is a social robot, which means he can actually mimic human emotion, and remember things about you and your family, like your favorite kind of music, or who won the last round of Robot Turtles. Handy!
Your kids (and you) can code M.A.X. to do everything from tell custom jokes, to delivery you your morning coffee (brilliant!), so the learning and playing doesn’t stop once you’ve put him together. Whether you’re shopping for birthdays, holidays, or any special day, this toy is a gift that keeps on giving.
Visit your local science museum.
As the weather starts to get colder, a trip to the science museum is a perfect way to beat the lower temps and avoid cabin fever. And since most have changing exhibits (like the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, for example), you can visit frequently without it feeling like a repeat experience. You can visit the Association of Science – Technology Centers to find a museum close to you.
And pro tip: We’ve also found that memberships to many of these museums are affordable and tax deductible. Plus, they pay for themselves after just one or two family visits.
Read a STEM bedtime story.
It’s probably no surprise that more and more books for kids have a STEM focus, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We’re big fans of this gorgeous Women in Science book, which features the stories of 50 female pioneers in STEM, many of whom you and your kids might not know about. And they’re short vignettes, so you can make it through the book pretty quickly, though you won’t mind it when your kids ask you to read “just another one, mom.”
Listen to podcasts. Together.
We’ve been podcast fans for many, many years now, like way before Serial made them cool again. And how awesome that there are so many great ones for kids, particularly focusing on STEM. My kids love to listen to Brains On! and WOW in the World! but truth is, I listen to them too, even when they’re not around. You’ll be amazed at how much you didn’t know about everything from space to farts. Yes, farts.
Hit the STEM festival circuit.
Just a few months ago, we attended the Young Innovator’s Fair, and wow, what a fun day. While my son was there as part of a project for his class, the event was open to the public and featured hundreds of STEM-related vendors with tons of activities for kids. From fighting robots to a Lego-building contest, it was a cool way to spend a Saturday with the family. We’re seeing more of these pop-up across the country for kids interested in Robotics, Minecraft, LEGO, and more.
Thanks to our sponsor Meccano M.A.X. for creating a STEM learning toy for kids that the whole family can enjoy. We did try to code him to write this post, but alas, some things should be left to humans. Ha!