I had the pleasure of interviewing Mayim recently at a Think-A-Thon event hosted by Fisher-Price. They have launched a new line of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathmatics) toys intended to teach preschoolers skills like communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. The Think & Learn toys are also designed to help preschoolers in reading, writing and arithmetic through hands-on play.
Several preschoolers joined in the fun at the party. Most of them gravited toward the Code-A-Pillar ($50), a caterpillar that encourages experimentation while developing coding, sequencing and critical thinking skills. Sounds lofty right? But I could see the groundwork being laid as I watched these kids figure out how it works. with this colorful caterpillar.
Mayim told me she got involved with Fisher-Price and their line of Think & Learn toys because STEM is an important part of her life. She says, “You don’t have to look far to find a way to work science into everyday activities.” Then she goes onto to give examples during our interview which you can listen to on the player at the top of this page.
She also tells me kids have a natural curiosity to learn how things work. And encouraging that curiosity through play is an important part of her parenting style.
She’s a mom of 2 boys and a fierce fan of the sciences. After her role on Blossom in the 90’s, Mayim went to UCLA and graduated with a degree in Neuroscience. And after working in that field for several years, decided to come back to the entertainment business and took a role on The Big Bang Theory.
In this episode we talk about:
- Being a mother to two young boys and why she values STEM and the significant role it plays in her children’s lives.
- Her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA and the impact it has had on raising her children in today’s society.
- The creation of her online community, GrokNation.com and how she has brought people of all ages and backgrounds to dive deep into conversations on contemporary issues.
- Her role on The Big Bang Theory
I also want to tell you what Chan thought about these toys. The Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar has removable segments of the caterpillar’s body that tell it where to go and what sounds to make. Kids can “program” it by adding in a left turn piece, a right turn piece, or make silly sounds. It is completely programmable and can play “games” to challenge even the smartest little ones.
Chan was fascinated with it. Even if she didn’t understand it right away, she was really curious about how it worked and wanted to take it apart, put it back together, and repeat.
She also had fun with the Think & Learn Color Chameleon ($25). This smart critter can scan and identify colors, numbers and features games that incorporate colors and numbers. It can identify colors from the paint splats that come with it, or you can scan other colorful things around the house. It’s a very visual tool for learning colors and numbers.
Fisher-Price also has the Think & Learn Smart Scan Word Dash ($30) that scans discs and offers an audio response. The goal is to help the child learn letters and words, songs and stories and participate in memory games.
Company leaders say they created this line of toys to help preschoolers engage in fun activities and build skills for school and life. As a parent I was really excited about the idea of introducing STEM into my daughter’s world.
I also love what Mayim says about finding says to include science education in our everyday lives and am now looking for new ways to talk about science. Maybe not so much math, because it is me we’re talking about. But definitely science!
After you listen to the interview with Mayim, take a moment to Subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review. What do you think about STEM toys? Would you buy one of these? Share your thoughts below on with me on my Twitter @MIHpodcast