Robotics is a branch of technology that deals with the making, programming, and designing of robots. For many, the definition sounds complicated and technical. Most of us don’t encounter robots in our daily lives. We think of this branch of science as something only those with advanced degrees can understand.
Nevertheless, robotics for kids remains one of the best hands-on and fun ways for children to learn STEM concepts. Even if parents cannot wrap their heads around robots and their inner workings, there is no reason why our kids cannot begin to explore the world of science through this interesting and appealing approach.
There are many ways to introduce children to the world of robotics without possessing the knowledge yourself; amazingly, some of these methods are both affordable and educational. Teachers and toy companies have made a parent’s job much easier; it is up to us to seize the chance to introduce our kids to a technology that can now be taught in a fun and engaging way.
There are a few things parents should know for their children to benefit from learning about robotics. Here are a few resources to help kickstart your child’s journey and improve their opportunities for success in school and beyond:
- Understand why STEM education is important and why robotics is a great way to appeal to youth. While we may struggle to wrap our brains around the batteries, wires, and conduits of robot assembly, we can learn more about the core principals so we are better enabled to guide our kids to an appreciation of mechanical concepts and the scientific process. One place to begin is STEAM Powered Family.
- Learn which robot toys, games, and apps are great educational supplements. This will allow parents to make informed and age appropriate choices when it comes to inspiring budding scientists and young engineers at home. Digital Trends has a great resource to help you find build-at-home kits. One excellent option, the Wonder Workshop has created Cue, Dot, and Dash, three programmable robots with age appropriate software to teach your children STEM concepts. For those on a budget, check out the robot app, The Robot Factory by Tinybop, available on iTunes.
- Find educational programs to provide hand-on experiences and guidance. When it comes to a truly enriching experience, a great STEM program and robotics club can really help. Programs like FIRST®LEGO® League Jr. allow children to engage in exploratory research, hands-on construction, teamwork, imagination, and fun with LEGO elements. In this program, teams of up to six students explore real-world scientific concepts, then build a motorized model and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey of discovery. Throughout the season, adult coaches provide guidance and inspiration.
Visit the FIRST LEGO League website to find a LEGO® program near you, or find out what it takes to start a robotics program in your child’s school, check out this website. Children can also learn about other kinds of machines through LEGO educational programs. You can also visit the BostonTechMom blog to discover more about robotics teams and competitions for children of all ages and interest levels.