My son was begging and pleading with me as I was paying for groceries the other day, and I could feel my blood pressure rise as his shrieks grew louder and louder. “Mom, cars! Please!” For a split second, I considered getting him a car for $1 just to stop his whining (mostly to get people to stop staring), but I stopped myself. It was just one more toy that he would get bored with and end up lost somewhere under the couch or in a toy box. I told him, “No”, and did my best to get out of there as quickly as possible.
When we got home, I made my son gather up every toy car of that he could find, and we put them in a pile. We searched high and low and found cars I didn’t even remember buying and many so long forgotten that my son thought they were brand new. I looked over that heaping pile, and I did a rough estimate of how much money was spent on all of those cars…It was well over $300! On cars that my son gets bored with after a day.
Seeing that heaping pile of toys has been just one more instance that has made me reconsider my entire approach to how my son plays and how I spend money on him. Toys should be a resource that encourages imagination and makes them curious about learning…Not wanting more toys. It seems like all I have managed to teach my son is that he gets a new car whenever he acts up at the store. His school years are right around the corner, and I am realizing I need to start doing more to challenge him. As I try to navigate this part of parenting, I have to find ways to inspire my son to learn and give him a head start in school. In my search for educational toys, I had the opportunity to try the MagnaFlex by WowWee, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
MagnaFlex are flexible and magnetic toys that can be used to create whatever your child can imagine. These STEM toys bend, flex, and stick together to construct a variety of creations. All of the sets are interchangeable so kids can make anything from animals to cars and even accessories they can wear. They are perfect for ranging age groups because of their ambiguous nature. Kids can use them in a variety of ways from simple play to building sophisticated structures. They are one of the few toys that actually grow with kids, and these STEM toys encourage kids to think more broadly compared to other toys.
Children that play with STEM toys such as MagnaFlex have an advantage over kids that have only played with traditional toys. These magnetic tiles strengthen a child’s spatial awareness, their ability to visualize objects then create them, and their hand eye coordination. Many kids don’t learn to truly develop their hand eye coordination until they are older which makes it more difficult for them to think spatially and perform abilities that require visual mathematics. Toys like MagnaFlex are a child’s introduction to the world of STEM. As our world continues to grow more complex and reliant upon technology, so too do jobs. Future generations will need strong mental skills built upon the foundations of STEM, and it is crucial that children begin working on STEM skills when their brains are still developing.
“According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%. STEM degree holders have a higher income even in non-STEM careers. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future.” Engingeeringforkids.com
We start at an early age teaching our children educational basics from colors to letters, and now, we are beginning to understand the importance of introducing STEM concepts at a young age. By providing them STEM toys early on, we are opening the channel to a broader range of thinking and the ability to problem solve and create in ways that traditional toys just don’t encourage. This is more than just learning building blocks during play. STEM is the future of our country, our economy and our country’s global role. We owe it to our kids to provide them STEM experiences early in life so that they may be able to chase down competitive careers while being active participants in the shaping of the future. Our world is constantly changing, shouldn’t toys be too?
Visit WowWee™ for more information on STEM toys and to order a set of Magnaflex. Your kids will be smarter than you before you know it.
I was fortunate enough to have the chance to review Magnaflex. All opinions remain my own.