September Kids News Round up
Here is September’s run down of kids learning, education and development news in one handy blog:
Hollywood actress Mayim Bialik, who plays neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler in the TV series ‘Big Bang’, has been announced as the spokeswoman for the new range of STEM inspired toys. Mayim, who in real life has a PHD in neuroscience, will be promoting the Fisher Price ‘Think & Learn’ line. The toys are aimed at 3-6 year olds and designed to develop communication, creativity and critical thinking. A prime example being the ‘Code-a-pillar’, which helps children to practice coding and sequencing.
Research conducted by The University of Washington has shown that children should greater motivation for tasks they can complete as part of a group. The experiment was designed to explore if making STEM learning activities more social would increase engagement. Research scientist, Allison Master, and her research team created a study where 141 4-year old children were given two STEM tasks to complete, one individually and one as part of a group. The results demonstrated that children showed greater motivation for the group task 40% of the time, equal motivation for each task 32% of the time and greater motivation for the individual task 28% of time.
A tech start-up from Los Angeles has managed to raise $4.1 million in seed funding from investors to fund the expansion of their web and mobile games. CodeSpark develops games for children aged 4-9 years old that can help teach them to code. The games are designed to be gender neutral and avoid the usual gender tropes found in gaming storylines. The start-up’s first game The Foos Coding teaches STEM concepts using visual rather than verbal or numeric means, and has been downloaded by over 4 million children in 201 countries.
A Mum and former dinner lady from Grantham has developed a system of special grids to help children learn their times tables. She first created her method when teaching times tables to her own sons. The Wix Way Time Table learning system uses interesting visuals to stimulate kids, and has had a 100% success rate so far. Debbie Wicks has taught the system in a local primary school with the support of trained teaching staff, and hopes to expand into other schools along with private tuition.
Author Jessica Alexander has released a book promoting the importance of play in children’s development, as is a common value of Danish parenting. The first educational theory incorporating play was born in Demark in 1871, and to this day many Danish schools have programs in place to encourage kids to learn through play and sport. The world-famous children’s toy Lego originates in Denmark, and the name is contraction of the words ‘leg godt’ which means ‘play well’. The book is titled ‘The Danish Way of Parenting: What the happiest people in the world know about raising confident, capable kids’.