We’ve been putting the children’s fine motor skills and creativity into action this week with this brightly coloured, exciting construction toy Stems by Learning Resources UK.
What are they?
Stems are bright coloured, ‘C’ shaped, plastic construction toys that can be popped/zipped to one another to build anything a child chooses! Their unusual way of connecting with each other makes them completely unique from other construction toys we’ve seen.
What did we like about them?
- Fun!- Always the most important point when describing a toy, Stems are good fun to play with! We found that the children loved the bright colours, the feel of the Stems and also the challenge of connecting them. They were really proud of their creations too.
- Fine Motor Skills– Fine Motor Skill activities are those that help develop the tiny muscles in the hand and fingers that are necessary for tasks such as learning to write, doing up buttons on clothes etc. (Find our more about Fine Motor Skills here). By picking up, twisting, manipulating and connecting the Stems, children are provided with a fun opportunity to practise Fine Motor Skills and build their hand strength (without even realising!)
- Develop Creativity– Stems are a brilliant resource for developing a child’s creativity. You can build anything from them, a child’s only limit is their own imagination. To provide some initial inspiration and to help illustrate the potential of this construction toy, helpfully, the set comes with instructions on how to build a few creations such as a ball and a double helix. We found that once we showed the children these ideas of what could be built they were encouraged to go off and create their own builds. We also witnessed their creativity and confidence with this resource grow over time, from creating simple shapes to now 3D creations.
- STEM Resource- As the name suggests, Stems are a wonderful STEM resource (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Children can utilise their maths skills for example by creating and learn different 2D and 3D shapes. They can be also be introduced to scientific thinking, technology and engineering through planning, building, testing and then adapting their creations. As a former Science teacher myself, I can see huge potential for this resource in the classroom especially for developing problem solving skills.
- Infinite Possibilities- What is truly wonderful about Stems is that the possibilities of what a child can build are infinite! Because of this, the longevity of this resource is fantastic. Children can use it again and again to create different builds each time. We enjoyed playing it together as a group, allowing the children to be inspired by each other to try out different shapes and different ways of building with them.
- Fidget Toy- Although not designed specifically for this, it struck us from a predominantly Special Educational Needs point of view, what a fantastic fidget toy Stems could be. Fidget toys are those that children can fiddle with to help with self regulation. In my experience, they can be extremely beneficial to help children relax and to improve attention. The tactile input you can get from fiddling with the Stems could help some children to focus more in lessons.
Where can you buy them?
*Please note, this post was sponsored and we received a sample set of Stems for the purpose of this review. However, all thought and opinions are our own.