Contributed by Audrey Matalon
Of course, STEM is good all year long. But when the holidays roll around, from late November to January 1st, parents, like me, might well be tearing the house apart looking for vacation day activities.
I was looking for something …developmental. I wanted quiet things. I was looking for “wholesome”. Here’s two top, award winning, no-tech, STEM super holiday gift ideas.
Are you wondering why it’s referred to as “the principled block”? When my son opened the box, I was surprised by the shape of the individual pieces. Lux pieces are shaped using the design ‘principles’ within nature. They’re shaped so built LUX structure are not stagnant. It can operate with the flexibility and intelligence inherent in nature. That includes creating rounded structures and structures that move and bend.
When you open the 88pc, 200pc or 450pc box you’ll find the interlocking pieces, straws, dowel rods, popsicle sticks, but no instructions. LUX Blox purposefully does not include instructions in each box. Why not??? Their mission statement explains it, “…to light the imagination of all who create with Lux and give children the power to build whatever they wish.” LUX Blox is powered by your child’s imagination. Early childhood educators stress the importance of unstructured free play as an important instrument for child development. LUX’s no instruction-policy supports this. (You can visit www.luxblox.com for creation ideas and how-to’s.)
I was inspired by the LUX Blox manifesto, “…genius can be taught.”, “…play and discovery are inextricably linked.” and “…to be successful you must do what others fear.” These are ideas I want to whisper into my chi
ldren’s ears when they’re sleeping.
88 piece set is $29.99; 200 piece set is $69.99; 450 piece set is $199.99
The 450 piece set is currently *on sale* for $89.99 and all shipping is free till Xmas day on www.LuxBlox.com or find it on Amazon.
(For Ages 6+)
Your kids will make their playtime personally gratifying by making the very toys they’re playing with. “Using your hands to think.” is one of the goals of Paper Punk. Paper Punk projects are a vehicle for stimulating the brain, fine motor skills and the wonder of watching something transform from the 2D plane to the 3D plane.
There’s a current subculture of what’s known as Makers. It ranges from making with natural materials to the intersection of technology and physical design. It includes hacking, robotics, 3-D printing, as well as metal working, wood working, textiles and fibers designs. Engineering, designing, and science as well as wholistic approaches to creating all fall within the world of making. At the base of maker philosophy is thinking, tinkering and hands on creating. Paper Punk is the essence of the Maker culture designing with such a basic medium as paper.
What I love about Paper Punk is it is accessible. Paper Punk brings the basics of tangible, hands-on crafting to everyone. Open up a kit and there are directions even a non-reader can follow.
With Paper Punk’s Pup, Kitty, Unicorn, Ape, Bot, Urban Fold Paper Block City, Ride Toy Car, Jewelry Fold and all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael your child gets a doable introduction to crafting with paper, similar to the art of origami. (pic / Ninja Turtles)
And Paper Punk says the process of making changes the way the maker thinks and the process changes the way the maker behaves.
Each Paper Punk kit allows for personalization by including stickers that customize your punk. And of course, the showering of your imagination over the punks make them a reflection of their creator.
Between $9.95-$14.99 for the individual character kits. Urban Fold is $24.95. Find it on Paper Punk’s website at www.PaperPunk.com or on Amazon.
Disclosure: There was no compensation for this post. Product was supplied for the purpose of review. Everything expressed here is authentic.