Many people tend to think of science as an activity done by adults in labcoats, mixing liquids in funny shaped containers inside clean laboratories, while solving complex math problems. But the truth is that science can be messy and entertaining. You don’t need to know calculus to understand the basic principles of physics. All you need is some imagination, curiosity, and an instinct for fun.
Now, if you are thinking that this seems more like a kid playing a game than a science experiment, well you would be half right. You see, kids can do science experiments, and the best way to do so is by playing with toys. Here are 6 ways that toys can teach kids science.
1. Toys Make Science Easy to Understand
Science can be intimidating, even for adults. But when science is explained through games or a toy, learning becomes something children can touch and see. Kids have the ability to interact with science and learn a lot about the subject. Toys also allow science to be broken down into smaller parts, which makes science more approachable for younger minds.
2. Playing is Natural
Kids love to have fun. They ask for five more minutes of playtime when you call them in for diner. Or they can’t seem to put down the controller to their favorite video game when it’s time for chores. Of course kids will prefer to play than to do homework, so why not help them learn about science through an activity they love … playing.
3. Toys Engage Kids
Kids tend to focus more when they are doing something they perceive as fun. For example, how many times do you have to call out your kid’s name when he is hyperfocused on playing a game? Kids will learn more when they are engaged in an activity that entertains them, and toys are a great way to introduce fun into science.
4. Experience is Knowledge
There is a powerful quote by Albert Einstein: “Information is not Knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.” Toys provide kids with experience, while inviting questions and experimentation. Kids can apply scientific information that they get from an instruction manual and then practice what they learned through play. Fun becomes knowledge.
5. Toys Provide Goals
Achieving a goal is a strong confidence booster, especially for kids. Winning a game, or completing a puzzle proves to a child that they are able to understand science and may encourage them to learn more. Perhaps they will go from playing Minecraft to coding their very own video games.
6. The Power of Play on the Brain
Introducing kids to science through play does two jobs. First, kids learn about science in fun interactive ways. Second, studies show that playing helps kids develop critical thinking skills and strengthens brain function. Toys that make critical thinking fun can help develop a child’s cerebral cortex, and prepare them for lifelong learning.
So next time you find yourself at a toy store looking for a gift, consider a toy that will encourage science. It could be one of the funnest and engaging learning experiences that a kid didn’t know they had.