What the Tech: Must-have STEM toys this Christmas

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 8:18 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Toys will be under millions of Christmas trees this year, and many of those gifts will be played with for a few weeks, and then forgotten.

But STEM toys that teach may last longer.

Emily Stout, 6, doesn’t know it, but she’s learning how to write computer code.

She’s playing with the Osmo Coding Starter Kit on an iPad. Osmo toys have a camera thatsees how kids interact with pieces or tiles. On this one, each tile moves the character on the screen one space.

The goal, or challenge, is to move this character from one place to another. It’s Computer Coding 101, and it’s fun.

Emily just doesn’t know it yet.

Osmo has games for all ages. With this one, you draw on a pad and the camera captures and then casts the drawing to a character on the screen. Emily’s sister, 9-year-old Cora uses the Coding Starter Kit to effectively write computer code to create music, one note at a time.

Jude, 3, and brother James who’s 6, play an Osmo detective game.

Using clues, a magnifying glass, and world maps, kids solve a case. The Osmo teaches problem-solving and geography. To a 3-year-old. His mom Christine, a former teacher, says he’s learning important skills while he’s just having fun.

I think they’re great for his age to start out with for communication and problem solving.

Another popular STEM toy is a Boolean Box. Aimed specifically at young girls, it teaches how to build their own computer.

Amd then there’s the GoCube, a techy Rubik’s cube that teaches them the right way to think and solve the puzzle

There are similar toys for all ages. Just don’t tell them they’re educational.