Engineers Week takes place from Saturday 5th to Friday 11th March.
What is an engineer? Albert Einstein said it best when he stated, “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.”
We all create or work out a solution to problems everyday. Why not enhance those solution creating skills in a fun way when children are open to new learning options.
Engineers Week is a fantastic nationwide initiative with the objective of encouraging young people, their teachers, and parents to explore the fun world of Engineering. The idea is to generate interest and enthusiasm for Engineering in the everyday lives of children and teenagers.
A lot of resources are available online. Science Foundation Ireland and Foroige (Irish Youth Development Organisation) created a superb page on how to complete an engineering project from start to finish – they use the example of a project where you have to drop a raw egg from a height without breaking it .
Engineers Ireland has compiled a list of Reading, Documentaries, and Challenges designed for primary children and separately for secondary pupils. These resources are also relevant for parents and teachers
Even if your child doesn’t envisage a future career in engineering, they will still benefit from the skills and knowledge gained from using STEM type toys, games, or activities. Also don’t forget these toys are a lot of fun – they are hands-on, visual, sometimes sensory and always practical. We, at Mimitoys have always recognised this educational opportunity and therefore we have always stocked STEM toys and games.
STEM Toys that we hold come from brands such as UGears, Smartivity, Thames & Kosmos and Eitech. They tick all the boxes for problem-solving, creative thinking, and spatial awareness
Additionally Construction Kits such as Kapla and OPPI Piks are great examples of where Art meets Science to give toys that are visually rich, fun and educational.
As a result of our STEM Toy Range, we have supplied Irish Universities and organisations over the years. These groupsengin help young students engage with science and technology at primary school and secondary school. They specifically target the development of problem-solving skills and scientific literacy.
Dr Maeve Liston Director of Enterprise & Community Engagement and Senior Lecturer in Science Education from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick is an active campaigner in this area. It is so refreshing and encouraging to read Maeve when she says:
“We want children to get out of the way of thinking that science is difficult or that it lacks creativity, and instead be able to say to themselves, ‘I can solve a problem, I know how to do this.’
“By doing activities in the classroom, the students can understand what STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] is all about and, whether or not they go on to study those subjects later at second and third level, they will have those skills for life.”
We met Maeve at an event in Cork and she has continuously bought toys and games from us for Engineering and Maths week. There is also a number of primary schools and other universities involved in developing STEM activities that have also bought STEM toys from us in the past. The similarity in their orders are summarised here:
Kapla Wooden Construction 1000 Planks
Kapla Wooden Construction 280 Planks
Piks Construction Education Kit
Piks Construction Big Kit – 64 pieces
Engineering Makerspace Geared-up Gadgets
Zig & Go Action Reaction 54 pieces
Let’s remember, these STEM toys and games are fun to use. Children and preteens will develop life-long skills using them. Whether they decide that this is their path or go on another path, the skills will stay!