Parents increasingly recognize the importance of teaching children STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—to prepare them for the future. Because children learn from play, toys are their first and best introduction to STEM concepts.
But what really qualifies a toy as STEM?
Child’s Play Communications has announced the winners of the inaugural Seriously STEM awards, a new program designed exclusively to review and evaluate STEM toys for kids.
“Not every toy genuinely teaches STEM skills,” said Child’s Play Communications president, Stephanie Azzarone. “Our goal is to offer valuable information to all those parents who understand the benefits of their kids’ learning STEM but who need help making the right STEM product choices, not only during holiday shopping season but throughout the year.”
Child’s Play partnered with STEM.org and an outstanding panel of independent judges—educators, industry play experts and toy reviewers—with real expertise specifically in children and STEM to evaluate the toys submitted for review. Among them were a math professor at Stanford University, the vice president of STEM education at Liberty Science Center, and the founder of STEM.org.
The winners of the 2018 Seriously STEM Awards are:
- Science: Circuit Conductor, from Pai Technology
- Technology: Sketch Kit, from Wonder Workshop
- Engineering: SNAP CIRCUITS® BRIC: STRUCTURES, from Elenco
- Math: No Winner
The Grand Prize winner—the toy that generated the most points from judges, across the board – is Wonder Workshop’s Sketch Kit.
There were also winners in specific age categories within the subjects. A full list of winners may be found here.
Criteria included whether the toy taught skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, inspired creativity, included hands-on experiences and was targeted to the appropriate age range, among other considerations.
Winners were announced November 1 at the third annual Kids’ & Family Tech Expo in New York City, along with a $1,000 Seriously STEM Awards donation to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.