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07
Mar

STEM at Play

By

Cubetto

cubetto-kickstarter

Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Manufacturer: Primo Toys
Price: $225.00

There’s a lot of learning here. And it’s not just “coding.” The set includes the star itself (the wooden robot), an interface board (its control panel), 16 tiles (its commands), a storybook, and a map (the world according to Cubetto) that serves as a playmat for learning. The beautifully designed set is approachable and welcoming, the pieces are easy to hold and to place, and the controller is simple (aka elegantly designed).

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar™

Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Manufacturer: Fisher-Price
Price: $49.99

The Code-A-Pillar is a robotic caterpillar composed of ten command segments (head, tail, and eight “body” pieces) that easily snap together and pull apart. Each section commands the caterpillar to turn left or right, go straight or play a sound. They can be arranged in any order, and that order determines the caterpillar’s path.

As packaged, the eight command sections limit the length of the caterpillar’s journey. Best suited for introducing three and four year olds to the concepts of planning and sequencing, the Code-A-Pillar is well made and works without a glitch.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Brackitz 170 Piece Inventor Set 

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: brackitz
Price: $99.99

These easy-to-handle playful planks and connectors are appealing to the eye, the touch, and both left and right sides of the brain. The three and four way connectors work at any angle, and the motion connectors allow designs to rotate.

As children’s skills develop, their designs will become more advanced in complexity and creativity. A good investment in playful learning.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

DIY Electro Dough Kit

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Technology Will Save Us
Price: $27.00

What could a kid love more than playing with dough? Playing with dough that lights up and makes noise, of course! This kit contains a recipe and instructions to make conductive dough as well as a cookie cutters, a variety of LED lights, wires, and a battery pack.

The purposefully minimal manual explains important electrical concepts and vocabulary such as molecules, free electrons, LEDs, polarity, circuits, and so forth. It also gives basic instructions and diagrams on how to wire the components to light LEDs, create a buzzer, button, and even a tilt switch.

The kit is an engaging, hands-on way to teach children the basics of electricity while encouraging imagination, creativity, and experimentation.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Primary Science Outdoor Discovery Set

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Learning Resources
Price: $29.99

This kit uses common household ingredients, pebbles, twigs and bugs, and craft items to conduct and complete 10 different experiments. It includes three plastic plant pots, watering can, bug jar with vented lid, ten activity cards, three plant stakes, sprouting jar, solid lid and handy scoopers for creating the projects. The “extra” items needed to complete the experiments – such as craft supplies, carrots (preferably with greens), popcorn kernels, seeds (flowers and beans) and blue food coloring – are inexpensive and easy to find if not on hand.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Kids First Science Laboratory

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $50.00

Packaged in a clear storage/carrying case, this hands on introduction to science kit includes 25 pieces (large six hole disk, small test tube, 2 small lids, 2 large lids, large connector for the large sieve disk, 2 funnel vessels, small connector, 2 measuring spoons, magnetic rings with stand, magnifying glass, large test tube, test tube rack) a 16-page instruction guide for parents, and 10 laminated experiment cards. Common household ingredients are needed for the experiments ranging from Sour Milk, to Making Rain, to Bending a Pencil.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

DIY Electro Dough Kit

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Technology Will Save Us
Price: $27.00

What could a kid love more than playing with dough? Playing with dough that lights up and makes noise, of course! This kit contains a recipe and instructions to make conductive dough as well as a cookie cutters, a variety of LED lights, wires, and a battery pack.

The purposefully minimal manual explains important electrical concepts and vocabulary. It also gives basic instructions and diagrams on how to wire the components to light LEDs, create a buzzer, button, and even a tilt switch. The kit is an engaging, hands-on way to teach children the basics of electricity while encouraging imagination, creativity, and experimentation.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

GeoSafari Jr. Subscope

Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Manufacturer: Educational Insights
Price: $27.99

The submarine-shaped water-resistant light up magnifying scope lets young aquatic explorers see what swims and lives in the water without submerging their heads. Colorful, durable, and easy to use, the 2-eye viewer fits comfortably around a child’s small face. There’s even a notch cut out for the scope to rest on the bridge of a nose. The 2x magnification and the LED lights illuminate what lurks beneath the water’s surface. Our testers, from bubble bathers to pond pioneers and sand/water table surveyors, were delighted by their discoveries.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Grippies Builders

Ages: 1 & Up
Manufacturer: Guidecraft
Price: $39.99

This brightly colored 20 piece set is sized just right for toddlers ready to build. The chunky pieces encourage tactile exploration of textures, shapes and colors. Experimenting with the magnetic rods and balls lead to interesting discussions and constructions – from boxes to boats to balloon animals.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Lauri Action-Stackers – Big Builder Set

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: PlayMonster
Price: $39.99

This set includes 75 Tall-Stackers Pegs, six wheels, five hexagonal connectors, 30 square connectors, eight crepe rubber tower mats, and an 11.5-inch square crepe rubber peg board with 100 holes. The cleverly designed connectors invite building from all angles. Children can use the peg boards as bases for stationary creations or use the wheels to add motion to structures and/or movement to vehicles.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Brackitz 170 Piece Inventor Setbrackitz

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: brackitz
Price: $99.99

These easy-to-handle playful planks and connectors are appealing to the eye, the touch, and both left and right sides of the brain. The three and four way connectors work at any angle, and the motion connectors allow designs to rotate.

As children’s skills develop, their designs will become more advanced in complexity and creativity. A good investment in playful learning.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Kids First: Robot Engineer

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $49.95

This set features colorful, large, and easy-to-handle pieces that even the smallest hands can easily and successfully manipulate. And, all the pieces as well as the story/instruction booklet fit neatly into a sturdy plastic bin for storage and/or travel.

There are ten robot designs and instructions included in the storybook; however, children can use the pieces to build whatever they want. This provides excellent long-term play and learning values as well as hours of imaginative and creative play.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Sago Mini Road Trip

Ages: 2 – 5 yrs.
Developer: Sago Mini
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

Jinja the Cat is going to visit her friends, but she needs some help packing and getting there! In Sago Mini Road Trip, an app designed for children aged two through five, players select a destination, pack Jinja’s bags, choose a vehicle, and help her navigate her road trip. Changing destinations merits changing a wardrobe; we love this implied lesson about how where you’re going can effect what to wear. Players can select from six destinations ranging from the mountains to the big city. And, they can choose one of fifteen vehicles including a race car, school bus, ice cream truck and even a bathtub on wheels or a pickle car.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Shape Gurus

Ages: 2 – 5 yrs.
Developer: Colto
Download Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad

Starting with the appropriate metaphor of a bird building a nest, the app takes users through a series of geometric puzzles that require matching of shapes, sizes and colors. Players here a satisfying “click” sound when pieces are correctly placed. Incorrectly placed pieces simply spring back. No warning sounds or audible admonitions to be heard. As each puzzle is completed – a watering can, a flower, a rocket ship – an animation gives context to the assembled pieces. Progressing through the game, we get the sense of a story unfolding.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Highlights Shapes

Ages: 2 – 6 yrs.
Developer: Colto
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

 

The player follows a cheerful-looking fox through a cave filled with basic geometric objects: triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles. Players pull the shapes onto outlines that match them; in earlier levels the outlines are aligned with the shapes, but as the game progresses children need to recognize when a shape is rotated relative to the outline.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

RelationShapes

Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Developer: VizuVizu LLC
Platform: iPad/iPhone/Android

This app is designed to teach children spatial awareness and visuoperceptual problem-solving. The game features two stages: Match It and Picture It. In Match It, children are presented with two side-by-side pictures with the same number and collection of shapes; they then have to make their side match by moving, rotating, and/or resizing the shapes.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

MarcoPolo Arctic

Ages: 3 – 7 yrs.
Developer: MarcoPolo Learning
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

The aptly named, MarcoPolo Arctic app is a digital sandbox in which children explore- freely at their own pace with no rules and no limits-arctic habitats and the animals that dwell in them. The app features over twenty arctic species of tundra animals, semi-aquatic mammals, marine mammals and birds in three habitats: the tundra, the taiga, and the ocean. Children learn about various animals by completing animated and narrated puzzles; for example, while completing a puzzle of a caribou, the narrator names each body part and shares interesting facts about how the caribou uses those parts, where it lives, and what it eats. And, in addition to the puzzles, there are over one hundred interactive features on the scrolling pages. Children can tap on animals to play, lead them to water, and more.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Osmo Pizza Co.

Ages: 5 – 12 yrs.
Producer: Osmo
Price: $39.00

This virtual pizza shop teaches children about addition, subtraction, and even fractions. The game also helps to teach children about nonverbal communication and aids in their ability to read emotions based on facial expressions. The Osmo Pizza Co. immerses children in basic mathematics skills blended with hours of imaginative and cooperative play.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

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