There are all kinds of goodies-in-a-box you can get shipped monthly via an online subscription: food, dog toys, cosmetics, clothes, and more. Monthly box subscription services are hot because let’s face it—it’s fun to regularly get packages where you may not know what the contents exactly are.
Now Amazon has a way you can give your child a surprise toy each month as well as an education in STEM.
Amazon’s STEM Club is a monthly subscription that delivers handpicked, high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math toys for $19.99 a month.
The service is broken into three categories of age ranges: 3-4, 5-7, and 8-13. Toys include math games, chemistry sets, robotics kits, etc.
Comments on the STEM club website indicate that lots of parents are excited about the new service. “Great gift idea. My niece loves it!”
However, several comments demonstrate current limitations to the service. Some people with more than one child complain they cannot sign up for multiple subscriptions.
Also, another reviewer posted that you can’t add the service to an Amazon wish list. Others are grumbling about the fact that the service is U.S.-only.
There is still a debate in the education community about the effectiveness of STEM toys in generating STEM skills in children. In an interview with The New Yorker, Jeffrey Trawick, an education professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, said there has been surprisingly little research on individual toys’ effectiveness as learning tools.
Black Enterprise’s Education Editor, Robin White-Goode concurs, based on her research. “I’m more in favor of low-tech toys,” she says, citing Legos as good toy options as well as just old-fashioned playing outdoors.
About the effectiveness of STEM toys teaching STEM skills, White-Goode says, “I think until studies say, ‘Wow this is really making a difference,’ I don’t think it really makes a difference.”
What is your take; would you sign up for the new STEM toy service for your child? Let us know in comments and across social media with #STEMToys and @blackenterprise.