Spin Master's MECCANO (known in the U.S. as "Erector" Sets) has just scored a Guinness World Record. The Big Bridge Build, a year-long project, resulted in a massive bridge over Clarendon Dock in Belfast, Ireland, built entirely out of Meccano parts. Created by the Queen's University Belfast Civil Engineering Department with assistance from Spin Master, McLaughlin & Harvey and Aecom, Architecture and Civil Engineering faculty and students built the bridge, with the help of local school children, as part of the university's outreach program to encourage more children to think about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Officials from Guinness World Records have confirmed that this bridge is the world's largest Meccano structure. Take a look at some stats!
When I was a kid, I built model kits regularly. There was a time when you could walk into any Toys "R" Us, Walmart, Target, etc. and be greeted my massive aisles that were towering with hundreds, if not thousands of model kits waiting to be assembled and customized. Modern technology has helped shrink (and in some cases, eliminate) those aisles, and that's a shame... but it's swinging back. With so much focus on "building" and "making" these days, it's important to consider model kits as part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Kids love building things, and the folks at Revell get that - and they embrace the "I made that!" sense of accomplishment that kids can have. They're bringing that into a galaxy far, far away with their new STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS model kits, and the first four are SnapTite Build & Play kits for kids as young as six. No glue. No paint. No tools. Pure fun. Take a look...
When it comes to learning, sometimes kids need a reminder that learning new things is fun - something that I’m told happens more often with older kids - ones that sit in that “tween age.” While my girls (The Rock Daughters™) are still much younger, we’re really working to embrace that sense of wonder, exploration and curiosity that both have. For Addie, our oldest, there’s been a growing tendency to conduct “experiments” on her own, and she generally pulls little Finn into the mix. Things can get messy, but that’s just fine as the girls develop their own first-hand methods of witnessing action and reaction… even if that means I might spout off like David Seville with a frustrated “Addddddie!” once in awhile (that’s my problem, not the kids’). With a lot of what they’re doing, the girls are engaging in a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) realm without even knowing it. Embracing those interests at a young age (or refreshing them at an older one) is why it’s cool to see a program like PROJECT Mc2 hitting the scene.
As an EI Insider, the folks from Educational Insights recently sent the Design & Drill Flower Power Studio here for The Rock Daughters™ to review in our state-of-the-art Toy Testing Facility (our house). This is actually the third version of a "power drill" that we've acquired here, and by far the most creative in its application.
My wife and I first discovered the girls' interest in tools about a year or so ago, when Addie (our oldest) pointed out a tool set (which included a drill) and stated flat-out that she wanted "to build things like Daddy." Since that time, we've acquired a full-blown workbench, and a set of "Mouseketools," but nothing has been presented like this. The Design & Drill Flower Power Studio is a colorful, well-made toy that presents the drill and its bolts as a "craft set" instead of a pure "tool set," and that's a pretty interesting angle.
One of the biggest stories here on THE ROCK FATHER in the past few months was the news that toys based on NickJr's BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINES were headed for Toys "R" Us. Reaction to that first-look at the new, high-octane vehicles from Mattel's Fisher-Price (especially on Facebook & Instagram) just solidified how much kids are loving the excitement of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) infused series. Now it's official - the BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINES Toys have arrived in-store and online exclusively through Toys "R" Us - a launch perfectly-timed to the debut of DRAGON ISLAND DUEL, airing Monday, May 25th at 11am ET/PT on Nickelodeon. While we have not yet had a chance to check out any of the toys personally (our eyes are on the Die-Cast collection), I've heard from a few readers that have, and the folks at Nick did provide us with an early look at DRAGON ISLAND DUEL, which is officially Rock Father-approved!
Starting this week, CURIOUS GEORGE Swings Into Spring... again, with encore presentations of the now-classic special, presented alongside all-new episodes of CURIOUS GEORGE premiering only on PBS KIDS. Building on the series’ curricular focus, the episodes integrate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts into George’s discoveries in intuitive and fun ways that kids will enjoy, as his new adventures take him to the Amazon, an exploration of Chinese New Year traditions and more. Details below...