STEM Toys of Summer

Summer is the perfect time to relax, recharge, and research new things for the coming school year! I, of course, am kind-of a STEM fanatic these days so I’ve been looking around at new things to use with my students. It’s a little overwhelming out there but I finally found some that I can see myself actually using on a regular basis. These are not new in the sense that they were just released this year, but they are definitely current and engaging for students. All 3 are PERFECT for elementary-age students, so I wanted to share these 3 amazing STEM toys with you!

-Bee-Bot-

What is it?

Bee-Bot is a super cute programmable robot that makes coding friendly and inviting for young learners. Our district recently rolled out training on these cute little guys and is providing them for some of our teachers. So far, nothing but rave reviews from all! They charge quickly, stay charged for a long time, and don’t require any other devices to get started. I really love these because they’re durable and easy-to-use for little hands, they’re affordable, and they work with whatever materials you can find in your classroom. Bee-Bot moves 6 inches at a time, so it works best on a grid, though, until you get used to its movements.

Using Bee-Bot is very simple. Press the arrows to program Bee-Bot’s path, then press Go when you’re done. The X button towards its tail is used to clear out programmed directions and the pause is used to pause Bee-Bot’s movements for 1 second. As he moves, Bee-Bot’s cute little eyes light up and he makes sounds when he reaches the end of his programmed path.

**Teacher Note: While the noises are cute for a little while, we all know that these things wear on us after a while, especially in an already-noisy classroom. Don’t worry, they thought of that! There’s aΒ Volume On/Off switch conveniently located next to the power switch for you. πŸ™‚

Where can I buy one?

Lots of different options on this one. You can buy Bee-Bot directly from the creator, on Amazon, or from Lakeshore Learning. The price is pretty much the same, give or take a few dollars. Terrapin is the creator of Bee-Bot and they have lots of other attachments and resources in their shop. Amazon of course has that freaky fast Prime shipping {if you’re impatient like me!}. If you subscribe to Lakeshore Learning emails , you can use one of their 20% coupons to purchase and they take Purchase orders if you’re using school funds. Pros and Cons of each, pick which works best for you!

-Code & Go Robot Mouse-

Photo from InspirationLaboratories.com

What is it?

Similar to Bee-Bot, Code & Go Mouse is an adorable coding toy for young learners. The buttons on it’s back are used to program its path and the green button in the center is used to start the program. What I love about this little guy is the resources that come with it. The green maze pieces can be interlocked in any sort of path you like and the plastic cheese reward is just too cute!

From a teacher standpoint, I also love that this kit comes with arrow cards to help children plan out their moves and visualize what the mouse will do with each arrow. I also love the challenge cards that are included! These provide you with over 20 maze and cheese puzzles to build and solve! Like Bee-Bot, you could also take the Mouse off-roading and design your own grid or maze.

Where can I buy one?

-Brain Flakes-

What are they?

Little plastic snowflakes of awesomeness!!! Ok, that’s probably biased, but they’re exactly what they look like- small interlocking flower/snowflake shaped plastic pieces that can be used to build anything. {My 5-year-old cousin kept reiterating this to me as we were building today. “Auntie Kali! We can actually make ANYTHING we want with these!” lol Love him!} They take a good amount of brain power to build things at first because they differ greatly from the Lego brick design we’ve gotten used to, but once you get going the possibilities are truly endless. These would be great for STEM bins, engineering projects, or just regular old play time.

*One thing to consider…Part of the appeal of these to me was the fact that it would help build my kinders’ fine motor skills. That being said, they can be a little tricky to snap together and apart, so adult help will be needed with younger ones, at least in the beginning.

Where can I buy them?

Ok, so there’s a lot of different versions of these floating around on Amazon. I can’t say which is necessarily “better”, but I personally went with the “original” version. I’m all for supporting the creators and share the love, and honestly there was barely any price difference.

Also, I purchased the set of 500 and this is definitely enough to get you started. With 3 of us building today we only used about half the jar at a time and we had quite a few creations going at once. If you’re looking to build some of the bigger projects like the Ferris Wheel or giant lion advertised on the container, then I would suggest picking up an extra set or two.

Coming Soon…

I’m currently putting together a few different resources to compliment these cool new STEM toys. Everything from printable lessons, to QR code directions, to how-to videos for my kiddos. Look out for these in my (also launching soon….) Teachers Pay Teachers store and on the Freebie section of my website.

Thanks for reading!


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