Smart toys, or STEM toys, are becoming increasingly popular. At their core, they’re designed to help kids learn more by having fun with tech.
However, they’re advanced toys that stimulate creativity and make learning fun for both kids and adults. After all, what adult can resist some of these innovative playthings?
By combining science, tech, engineering and math, manufacturers are able to boost interest in fields where the next generation is needed most.
A Growing Industry
If you haven’t heard much about the smart toy trend, you might think it’s nothing more than a passing fad. However, the following stats tell a different story:
The global smart toy industry is estimated to be worth $8.4 billion by 2020
Smart toys will make up 10% of toy sales in 2018, up from 7.7% in 2016
An estimated 224 million smart toys were shipped in 2017
While they’ll never replace traditional toys, like dolls and toy cars, they have made a place for themselves and that trend is expected to keep growing.
Encourages Natural Creativity
Many smart toys are designed to help children create things. For instance, some toys allow kids to build their own robots and program them to do different things. Others let them create their own games. Having toys that spark this creativity, especially in STEM fields, is a great way to build confidence and encourage them to pursue careers in these areas.
Adults Play Along
Sometimes it’s difficult for adults to tap back into their childhood imaginations. With smart toys, adults are engaged too. Having parents play along makes the experience even more fun for kids. While children, especially young children, just think their parents are playing with them, they’re actually learning valuable skills along the way.
Teaches A Variety Of Skills
While smart toys often target specific skills, such as programming or engineering, they actually teach a wide variety of skills. Some of the most common skills include:
All of these are skills kids will use throughout their lifetimes. A single smart toy has the power to teach all of these and more.
Makes Difficult Subjects Fun
Sadly, most kids tend to hate math and science classes. They may even hate tech classes, especially when they feel like they’re tech experts because they play games on their smartphones. However, the world needs kids to get more involved in STEM related areas.
While a typical classroom setting might not inspire the desire to learn difficult concepts, toys turn those difficult concepts into a fun game. It makes a world of difference. Think of it as the difference between listening to monotone voice droning on about words you don’t understand and learning the exact same thing through playing your favorite game. Which do you think would be more effective?
Board games have long been used to get kids excited about reading and math at any early age. Smart toys just take board games to the next level and add even more skills to the mix.
Designed For All Ages
When you hear the word toy, you probably get a mental image of young kids only. However, smart toys are designed for all ages, including those hard to please teenagers. For instance, Fast Company talks about the variety of toys manufacturers are creating, including Amazon’s STEM Club line that focuses on ages 3-13.
To get an idea of the variety available, check out these lists of smart toys designed for all ages:
Smart toys make a great addition to any kid’s toy bin. Have you ever purchased one? If so, how much did you enjoy it yourself?