What do the names Sarah Buckel, Cassidy Goldstein, George Nissen all have in common? They all invented commercially-successful products when they were children. While they conceived of these ideas on their own, there are now several toys on the market that help stimulate inventive creativity for kids. While it may be a little too late to put these under your tree this year, these STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) toys could still be a big hit with the kids, or kids at-heart, in your life.
The Turing Tumble game can most easily be described as a combination as a Price is Right Plinko board and a mechanical computer. In general, players build mechanical computers, powered by marbles, to solve a series of fun logic puzzles in order to rescue Alia the space engineer from a forgotten planet. Turing Tumble teaches not only coding, but also how computers work. Players use a set of 6 different types of parts to build computers that can generate patterns, add, subtract, multiply, divide, compare numbers and more.
According to their website, the game takes a completely new approach to teach coding. Typically, when kids are learning how to code, they often get bogged down right away with language syntax: proper spellings, semicolons in the right places, etc. It takes a while fighting with syntax before they can finally begin learning how to write algorithms to accomplish useful tasks. In Turing Tumble, programs are coded without any language at all. Instead, programs are coded by where the different parts are placed on the board. It builds raw programming skill without an initially steep learning curve.
According to an IBM global survey of more than 1500 CEOs, creativity was determined to be the most crucial factor for future success. The Creativity Can definitely had that purpose in mind when creating their toy. The only thing that is uniform about the can is its contents: air-dry clay, foam eggs, felt, glue, pom poms, wiggly eyes, printed paper, etc. After opening, the only limit is the imagination. It is completely open-ended, and the only rule is that there aren’t any rules when it comes to what you can create.
For a new take on the classic sliding tiles game, Asteroid Escape is also an interesting option. Playing as a spaceship stranded in an asteroid field, players must shuffle the ship around to free it from the field while avoiding the protruding asteroid tiles. The game includes 60 challenges that increase in difficulty, but that incrementally teach strategies for planning how to get around future obstacles.
Do you have some more games/toys that you think would be helpful to kids in the STEAM area? Be sure to share on our social media platforms.