Want to Raise a Smart, Young Scientist? Try This

Amazon introduces a monthly STEM toy subscription box aimed at kids – because we're all born curious.

Amazon has unveiled a STEM Club subscription plan, that delivers educational toys for $19.99 each month. The program takes a learn-through-play approach, like many STEM programs for kids. It’s a growing product, especially since the future is moving more towards science, technology, engineering, and math-related jobs.

These are the fields of the future as factory and labor jobs move towards automation. For many looking to the future, this is an investment for our economy. But not much is needed to light the spark of curiosity of a child.

“If you’re a child, you are curious about your environment,” Neil deGrasse Tyson told us. “You put things in their midst that help them explore. Why don’t you get a pair of binoculars, just leave it there one day? Watch ‘em pick it up. And watch ‘em look around. They’ll do all kinds of things with it.”


Not much is needed to fuel a kid’s imagination. Encouragement is the primary weapon in a parent’s arsenal. In order to help an inquisitive mind grow, it’s always good to throw in some new gear. Amazon’s STEM Club is a smart business move, monetizing on a growing market and idea.

What’s more, their toys are marketed towards boys and girls.

Many toys for girls are "pinkwashed" as this Barbie typewriter shows, simplifying play rather than encouraging young girls to explore mechanics and work through problems. For too long the toy market has been built on the assumption of a gendered play pattern, says Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of Goldieblox

When she first went to the New York Toy Fair with a prototype for Goldieblox, industry veterans thought her mission was a “noble cause,” but ultimately it wouldn’t sell. So, she turned to crowdfunding to let the consumers vote with their dollars. The response was overwhelming, and her pitch video went viral. The people wanted this product. By the end of the campaign, Sterling had a million dollars before making a single unit. 

Toy makers, much like the STEM industry itself, have been under this assumption that women don’t fit into inquisitive or constructive play styles, or these industry roles. This assumption was created by marketing, constrained by the design of gendered toy aisles. These distinctions are beginning to become blurred with the rise of internet marketspaces. Amazon, for instance, doesn’t make the distinction “For Boys” or “For Girls” in its toy section. Toys "R" Us, first a brick-and-mortar toy seller, allows online shoppers to filter products by gender if they choose, but the toy company does not use gendered categories to its organize in-store offerings.

--

Editor's note: A prior version of this article failed to distinguish between how Toys "R" Us organizes its toys online versus in-store. 

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less

Brazilian scientists produce mini-brains with eyes

Using a new process, a mini-brain develops retinal cells.

Surprising Science
  • Mini-brains, or "neural organoids," are at the cutting edge of medical research.
  • This is the first one that's started developing eyes.
  • Stem cells are key to the growing of organoids of various body parts.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less