September/October 2019

Page 96



Science and DIY combine in toys that encourage kids to create, design, and build. by JACKIE CUCCO, senior editor SCIENCE TOYS ARE TAKING A HANDS-ON APPROACH THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AS MORE COMPANIES COMBINE STEAM concepts with the DIY trend to engage kids in exciting ways. DIY toys give kids the chance to feel proud about something they’ve created from scratch while also giving them a behind-the-scenes look at how their playthings are made. Kids can use these toys to make their own gardens, guitars, gumball machines, candy, blasters, robots, and more. These new educational toys encourage kids to design, build, and create practical things that they can really use while sneaking in some stealth learning to appease parents. From making edible treats with Alex Brands’ Confectionery Science and Learning Resources’ Yumology! Sweets Lab to building working robots with Pai Technology’s Botzees and SmartLab Toys’ Tiny Robots!, these toys give kids a healthy dose of science while they play. Check out some new science toys that embrace this concept below.

Kids can build gumball machines while learning about physics with KOSMOS Gumball THAMES & KOSMOS’ Machine Maker Maker. Kids can move the track segments around on the base to create a variety of different gumball machines. As the gumballs roll down the track, they perform stunts and tricks using a pulley lift, a pendulum, a funnel, a trampoline, a variable-slope ramp, a pinball launcher, and a domino slide. Each segment of the track teaches a different lesson in mechanical physics, such as simple machines, force, motion, momentum, gravity, Newton’s laws, energy transfer, and more.

Kids can construct a cardboard version of an electric guitar with rubber band strings, then add effects and produce their own tracks with the Music Kit: Electro Guitar Kit, from TECH WILL SAVE US. The kit includes step-by-step, animated instructions and videos that kids can follow to construct a cardboard body to hold the amplifier. Kids can even learn the basics of how to play an electric guitar, as well as recording, layering, and sharing music tracks in the online recording studio.



ALEX BRANDS’ Confectionery Science is a hands-on activity kit that kids can use to make DIY candy while learning scientific facts. The kit features six different activities, such as making a sugar skull to learn about sugar density. Kids can also make rock candy, gummy gems, and chocolate lollipops. The food ingredients are not included.