How to Help Your Nine-Year-old Enjoy STEM Learning
One way to get children excited about any subject is through play. Playing is enjoyable and free from the pressures of formal learning, where the need to get the answer “right” may knock the confidence of some children.
Older children and even adults can enjoy playing with the right toy. I’ll never forget the sight of the GraviTrax table in our Good Toy Guide tent at one summer family festival. At any given time you would look over and see not just children, but adults – often dads! – absolutely glued to the construction track system (imagine an extreme marble run).
Here’s how to choose toys that are age-appropriate for your nine-year-old and can help them enjoy STEM learning.
How Toys and Games Can Support STEM Learning
STEM learning is about hands-on, engaging experiences that teach children valuable skills across Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
There are lots of toys and games that can encourage your child to explore STEM, such as science kits. But one you might not have considered before is construction sets.
So where do construction toys fit into STEM? STEM subjects require logical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. All of which your child can learn through play with quality, age-appropriate construction and track building toys.
The GraviTrax Starter Set takes construction to the next level with interactive track systems. Rather than just building a static model, children can create a working marble track complete with curves, junctions, a magnetic cannon and more.
So as well as logical thinking, problem-solving and innovation, your child can experience gravity, magnetism, and kinetic energy in a meaningful and interesting way.
How to Choose Toys for Nine-Year-Olds
The great thing about toys for older children is that they can often be fun for adults too. So when choosing toys, think about what you’d enjoy playing with as well – it’s a great opportunity to spend time together and bond with your child.
A nine-year-old’s attention span is more advanced than in their younger years, so they can spend hours absorbed in an activity they enjoy. So aim to have a few toys and games that allow open-ended, creative play.
For example, there are limitless ways to build with the GraviTrax PRO Starter Set Vertical track set. Your child can join larger sets together and choose from a range of Extension sets for even more possibilities.
When making something, your child may spend a lot of time perfecting their creations and thinking about the different designs they could try. The GraviTrax sets are really easy to build and take apart, thanks to the hexagon grid base and stackable pieces, which means that your child can experiment with different ideas over and over again.
As your child develops their sense of identity, shared hobbies with others also help them feel part of a group. There is a whole community online who share their GraviTrax designs – some amazing, huge, chain-reaction tracks that your child can draw inspiration from.
In summary, look for toys that offer your child:
- Open-ended, long-term play
- Opportunities to develop their own ideas
- The chance to explore their identity
Children learn best when they have the chance to explore and be creative. By making learning playful, your child can enjoy STEM learning and gain more valuable skills. Start by finding out what your child enjoys, then use this guide to help choose some good quality STEM toys and games to invest in.
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