While educational initiatives are important for kids, a little bit goes a long way sometimes — sometimes to the point of backfiring.
Take the case of all-things STEM. You know, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (in case you live under a rock). STEM’s the educational buzz word of the past decade. But the arts sector got jealous, and suddenly STEAM initiatives hit the scene (“A” for arts, in case you’re still under that rock). Do arts really fit with STEM? What’s next? History buffs insisting inclusion as well? Are we gonna start seeing stamps of SHTEAM approval?
We digress … Or do we? New toys for the holidays are widely labeled “STEM” or “STEAM,” going after the buyer who wants his kid to be smart, smart, smart.
Does educational have to infiltrate every aspect of a child’s life?
STEM Baby Toys … Seriously?
Recently, browsing a catalog of toys for our upcoming Holiday Gift Guide, we were smacked in the face with pages of baby toys marked “STEM approved.” We’re talking infant playthings mostly comprised of toys that wind up and go straight into Baby’s mouth. Or ones that stimulate Baby’s motor skills development like the classic ring-stacking pyramid toy.
Can’t we just let kids enjoy imaginative play without an expectation that they’ll learn something? Isn’t the best learning curve the one where a kid discovers for himself?
Education’s important. But forcing it doesn’t work. Remember when kids’ music became “edutainment” years back? Where’s educational kids’ music now? That’s right. Went the way of the dodo.