Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. The STEM subjects were the root of my academic struggles all the way through university. I could ace my humanities courses with my eyes closed, but STEM classes were the bane of my existence. To this day, I still catch myself saying: “I suck at math.” In Grade 12, I was accidentally enrolled in Math 12, with no other course options available to transfer into. I wanted straight A’s for my university and scholarship applications, and I didn’t want to take math because I was sure an A was impossible. I remember deliberately seeking out my male classmates for help because I was convinced they were intrinsically good at math. As a parent, I assumed my husband would be better equipped to install our children’s car seats because anything manual makes me squeamish. Guess who got over 90% in Math 12? Guess who is now a Child Passenger Safety Technician? (Me!)
I am eager to get my kids comfortable with STEM-based skills because I know that that’s where the jobs are and will be. In particular, I don’t want my daughter to fall into the “girls don’t do science” mind trap, and it is MY job to show her I’m willing to tackle this subject matter even if it’s not my comfort zone.
This Saturday, August 19, at Toys“R“Us locations across Canada, kids of all ages can explore STEM in the best way: through play. Wonder Event toy demonstrations will be taking place from 11 AM to 1 PM, and activities include an in-store scavenger hunt and giveaways from Magformers (one of my kids’ favourite toys, and one that helps me work on my spatial reasoning). Children will also be able to make slime and snow, learn about electricity, see robotics demonstrations and do hands-on building.
We received a few of the toys that will be front and centre at Saturday’s events to try out at home. Spin Master’s Rusty Rivets Botasaur immediately caught five-year-old Cub’s eye.
The Botasaur can be built into a dinosaur or a dino-vehicle, with parts that are big enough for him to manipulate, working on his fine-motor skills.
When Cub’s buddy came to play, it was time to take the Cra-Z-Slimy Creations Slime Kit for a spin.
From a parent’s perspective, the fact that this kit came with absolutely everything we needed to make slime (aside from tap water) was much appreciated. Kids can choose to make transparent or opaque slime, and even today Cub was looking at his Duplo and pointing out which pieces where transparent, since we added a new word to his vocabulary while creating slime!
Both boys were giddy with delight as their glue, water and chosen colours turned into ooey, gooey, oddly satisfying-to-touch slime. They played with their slime for a surprising amount of time, then came back to the table for more slime fun an hour later.
For older kids, or just kids at heart, we also received the Hexbug VEX Robotics Catapult Construction Set. When I sent my husband a picture of the toys we got in the mail, he immediately wrote back telling me not to touch the catapult without him.
Cub has a lot of good questions about how electricity works … a lot of questions that I cannot answer. I remember finding the chapters on electricity particularly challenging back in high school, so I am hoping that by doing this kit with my son, I might learn a thing or two myself!
It’s almost back-to-school time, so what better way to get your kids back into STEM than at Toys“R“Us?
Plant the Seed of STEM learning at Toys“R“Us this Saturday!
Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as a Toys“R”Us Wonder Event influencer. All opinions remain my own.