Building toys are popular for kids of all ages and help to demonstrate many principles of science, math, and physics. Here’s how building toys inspire STEM careers!
1. Inspiring creativity. Building toys like LEGOs and K’NEX are designed to be modular and part of a “system” – in other words, they should generally work with another piece in that system. As a result, there are quite literally endless possibilities for what kids and teens can create with these building toys, ranging from miniature sculptures to working machines. The great thing about LEGOs is that used bricks can be easily found at thrift stores and garage sales, and because of the system’s “precision” every brick made for the last 60+ years (since 1958) will fit!
2. Understanding design physics. Building toys also teach concepts about engineering that can be difficult to describe without a visual aid – structural integrity, for instance. Building toys encourage kids to create their own designs while also taking into account factors like stability, durability, and the construction process itself. In addition, these toys are often used in classrooms to demonstrate fascinating structural concepts in physics that almost appear to be impossible optical illusions. Check out this incredible tensegrity sculpture that appears to float using the magic of science!
3. Exploration of themes. Building toys are often themed based on popular books, TV shows, and movies. As a result, they’re a wonderful way to get kids into building by focusing on a series they already enjoy. In other cases, pioneering organizations have endorsed building toys that model real-life marvels of engineering. NASA, for instance, has produced several space-themed sets with LEGO including a scale model of the Saturn V rocket that took us to the moon in 1969!
4. Direct applications. Robotics is a newer field that has become more accessible to children and teens in recent years. Thanks to video games and building toys encouraging programming and construction, concepts of robotics are easier to introduce than they have ever been before. Building toys have incorporated robotics by including sensors, app control, and programmable features into the models builders create. Click here to read more on at-home robotics projects!
5. Wide appeal. The best thing about building toys is that they never get old! In recent years, manufacturers of building toys have begun producing sets specifically designed for an older audience. LEGO produces an entire line of sets for adults, marketed for the 18+ range, that are especially challenging to complete. But when you see the Titanic built entirely from LEGO bricks, it’s truly a sight to behold!
Toys are one of the best ways to inspire kids to explore STEM concepts. Click here for more great learning toys!