It’s that time of year again. We can hardly believe it either, but the holidays are right around the corner!
The mad scientists here at the Science hub are currently developing a way to order presents through telekinesis; but, until that’s ready (in the next hundred years…), we wanted to touch base on the most important present you should have under your tree this year!
Lots of toys claim to provide hours of fun and entertainment for your kids, but what are they really doing for their well being? At most, toys like dolls and blocks encourage the use of imagination, and don’t get us wrong, fellow mad scientists; the imagination is a beautiful thing! But educational toys, like books, hobby kits, and—you guessed it—microscopes, really help children to learn while having fun! After all, according to the National Science Teachers Association, it’s important that “parents and children value science learning and recognize the tremendous opportunities that can arise from being more scientifically and technologically literate” (NSTA).
One of the biggest ways educational toys can help children is by developing problem-solving skills. By accomplishing simple tasks, like grouping similar objects or rearranging different shapes to make them all fit, the child is learning how to create order out of chaos, how to take a wrong situation and make it right. In science terms, this might mean viewing a rotten piece of fruit under a microscope and being able to determine where the bad section is, as well as what caused it. And in case you’re worried about giving a microscope to a child, here are 5 misconceptions about kid’s microscopes.
Image courtesy of http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/Many educational toys also develop language and vocabulary skills. Even if the toy isn’t focused directly on teaching new words or a new language, they can often have a similar effect simply by exposing the child to new and different ways of thinking. A science kit, for example, might use technical terms like “microscope” or “centrifuge,” and may even include more obscure and complex words like “analyze,” “hypothesis,” or “cellular.” When used in context, it helps the child to learn what they mean, even without a written definition.
Because a lot of educational toys deal with the manipulation of tiny objects, they can even improve a child’s fine motor skills. When using a microscope, children have to learn to position a slide properly and adjust the viewing knobs to just the right zoom and focus in order to see the object they’re looking at. By doing this repeatedly, they develop the skills to control their movements on a very small scale.
As you can see, there are a lot of good reasons to buy an educational toy like a microscope for the holidays. Microscopes and similar toys go a long way in helping a child to grow and develop in a lot of important ways. Do you have any favorite educational toys that you received as a child, or are planning to buy for a child this year? If so, let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Science Hub for plenty more great information.