By this point, you have probably heard the buzz about the importance of STEM education. Although my oldest naturally gravitates toward STEM toys and activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics), I share the philosophy expressed in the Washington Post about why a focus purely on STEM education can be dangerous to our society. As an educator, I believe encouraging my child to explore his interests in STEM, while providing him with experiences in art, social studies, and language arts is a plan that will give him the skills he’ll need to really work in a STEM job.
One of my favorite companies for age-appropriate is HEXBUG. So, when they offered to send me the VEX Robotics Catapult Kit to build with my oldest, of course I said yes! My 6 year old is pretty mechanically-oriented and has good fine motor control, but he still needed some help with assembling the catapult. It was a comfortable challenge for him and he and my husband had a lovely afternoon together building this kit (my son has learned I am not the best with these types of tasks!)
Bud sorted the pieces of the kit on a cookie sheet and got to work following the directions.
Once he had it all built (he needed some help stringing the launching mechanisms and getting the arm in the right place), we took it outside to test it out. He twisted the knob to cock the arm, and then set up buckets to “shoot” baskets. With each launch, he learned how tightly to twist the knob and how far the buckets should be from the catapult to have a chance at getting a basket.
Although we have only built the catapult so far, you can build a trike and a formula 1 car with this kit as well. You can guess what we’ll be doing this fall. Until then we are busy learning how to control the trajectory and force of the catapult, and creating all kinds of challenges for ourselves to test our skills.
Disclosure: I received a HEXBUG catapult for the boys to try in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed within are my own.