STEM Toys for the Summer - Elenco Teach Tech
With remote learning and homeschooling taking sway the last half of this year, a lot of kids may be needing some extra learning over the summer and an easy and fun way to trick your kids into doing whatever activity you can come up with is to invest in STEM toys and activities. To help you decide which STEM activity to get your kids for the summer, we have a few options from the newly released Elenco Teach Tech series. You might recognize a few of these STEM toys as models formerly produced by OWI, but there are quite a lot of new items too. Elenco has really stepped up their game.
As mentioned before, we’ve already taken a good look at the TTG-752 Salt Crusher which is a toy that uses salt water and a magnesium fuel cell to produce a chemical reaction to power the monster truck. The fuel cells probably do need replacing at some point, so while that will still cost money to replace, it has a much better environmental impact than batteries, not to mention it teaches kids about alternative power.
Another great kit being carried over into the Teach Tech catalog is the TTG-615 which we’ve highlighted and actually reviewed. The robot can be configured into one of 14 different forms, most of which are pretty different from each other. There are a lot of small pieces, so this is a great STEM project for older kids and teenagers and it’s a good introduction to solar energy. This kit can make a good class project for middle school summer STEM camps provided the teacher is willing to get their hands dirty too. There isn’t anything in it that would be beyond the ability of any kid or teenage who puts model kits together.
For really advanced STEM projects the TTR-535 Robotic Arm has been pretty popular. While it does require a fair amount of assembly as well as attention to detail, you get an impressive amount of customizability in terms of programming and high-level STEM projects. Some of the more advanced projects involve mounting the arm on a rover, using your hand as a motion control and using Arduino and Raspberry Pi as an interface – all projects that will help with programming and hardware applications. Great skills to build as we move into a more and more automated future.
Of course with Teach Tech there are quite a lot more options. If the aforementioned robot arm looks cool but overwhelming, maybe the HydroBot Arm Kit TTR-632 gives you a robotic arm kit powered by hydraulics and controlled by six separate levers. There are also quite a few solar powered robots to choose from. There’s very basic and cute ones like the TTG-683 Bugbot Solar Crawler aimed at younger kids. The TTG684 Solar Rover is good for slightly older kids and for tweens, teens and beyond. The Rivet-Rex 12 TTG-618 is more build-focused and allows you to construct 12 different models and uses hydromechanical movement and solar power for movement. The Rivet-Rex also allows for customization beyond 12 forms for those with the creative wherewithal to try it. These few would be best geared to older elementary and maybe early middle school depending on their skill level.
There are of course many other options available in the Teach Tech Catalog and you can review all of the selections here to find the right STEM activity for your kids. Other projects mainly deal with more possibilities with solar and alternative energy and involve fun and exciting ways to use alternative energy to power vehicles and robots. These STEM activities will be great fun over the summer if summer daycare programs remain closed or are open at diminished capacity.