from Live Science
by Stephanie Pappas
With a rocky year of pandemic-related educational disruptions ahead, many parents are looking for ways to help their kids learn at home. Toys advertised as teaching STEM might seem like one way to fill the gap. But do they really work?
The answer is yes, research shows that toys can indeed teach science, technology, engineering and math concepts — but don’t focus on advertising or fancy labels to find the best bets. There’s no minimum educational requirement that toys must reach to label themselves a “STEM toy,” so almost everything on the market is untested. Instead, experts say, look for toys that encourage open-ended, active play and problem-solving. Some proven winners? Tinkertoys, board games, decks of cards and building blocks.