STEM: Science, technology, engineering, AND math? That’s a lot of complex material to cram into one acronym. Fortunately for young learners, robotics makes STEM simple and fun to learn.
If you’re looking to get your kid or teen more involved in STEM, but are stuck looking for the right introduction that’s engaging and accessible, the wide world of robotics is a great starting point.
Sparking a passion for STEM and getting a child of any age started along their journey can begin right now: learners as young as preschool age can explore and learn from a range of robots and its applications.
Why is robotics important?
There are endless educational possibilities with robotics, and it’s easy to tackle each area of STEM in a fun way. Sharpening math skills? Check. Learning computer science? Definitely. Engineering and technology? Yep!
With so many options for what kids can learn with robotics, it’s easy to see the skills-based payoff of picking it up as a hobby. And there’s even more good news: learning the ins and outs of robotics means building real-world and career-based skills.
So why not dive in today and get those gears turning?
Top educational benefits of robotics for kids and teens
Thanks to this field’s interactive, tactile nature, plus the availability of robotics clubs at school, simple robot toys for home, and online classes and virtual robotics camps, there are a number of ways to get your child started in a way they’ll be excited about.
Robotics offers great opportunities for teamwork & collaboration
In case you didn’t know, a robotics club is a gathering of students, who after school, will get together to learn and work with—you guessed it—robots. Such clubs typically take place in a school classroom, and are moderated by a member of the teaching staff or school administration.
Clubs sometimes compete at local STEM competitions, where teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to take on opponents in a series of challenges.
The main benefit for those interested in STEM—but unsure of where to begin—is that a robotics club is a relatively easy, low-cost way to get your student involved.
Such clubs help to strengthen your student’s STEM skills, both hard and soft. Creativity and problem-solving are essential in building a 'bot that can overcome obstacles, and your child will have to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions when the robot doesn’t perform as expected.
Last but not least, hanging out with like-minded peers is always beneficial, providing a valuable way for kids to make friends and build their networks.
Kids can learn at their own pace at home
Many of today’s “toys” barely resemble the traditional definition of the word thanks to the inclusion of different educational components. Robots offer perhaps the most sophisticated individual learning opportunities while still appearing to be a fun gadget for kids and teens.
For instance, the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit (SIK) is a great way to get your child started with coding and hardware interaction using the Arduino programming language.
I know what you’re thinking... that’s a lot for kids to learn on their own. And I thought this was supposed to be an easy way to get involved?
Well, the best robotics kits out there offer step-by-step instructions and often a wealth of YouTube tutorials, online forums, and how-to’s that can guide their individual journey. At home toys and sets for teens make robotics easy to learn and an incredibly engaging and motivating project.
For example, the SIK includes everything your child needs to complete five in-depth projects consisting of 16 interconnected circuits. These projects teach everything from blinking an LED to reading sensors and more. The culminating project is your child’s very own autonomous robot!
This is just one example of many different available robotics “toys” that are useful in getting kids and teens interested in robotics. LEGO, Cozmo, and VEX are additional options to look into.
With each hardware-based project, kids can learn at their own pace without the worry of deadlines or mandatory content, but still with tangible rewards for progress.
Through robotics, kids can explore multidisciplinary projects
Think of robotics as a potentially all-in-one STEM learning experience. Not only do kids step into engineers’ shoes as they build and program their robots, they’ll build their tech savvy along the way, and even get thinking about how science can solve real-world problems.
Kids can get really creative as they become more advanced and find innovative ways to incorporate their other interests into what they build.
Robotics camps offer more than humdrum academic enrichment
One of the biggest benefits of summer camp is that it allows campers to build a unique interest in something they might not otherwise have a chance to explore. While many schools don’t offer courses in robotics, summer camps do. They also provide an environment free of pressure, homework, and tests.
Think of a robotics summer camp as a combination of robotics club and school, to an extent, where students get to experience the camaraderie and teambuilding of a club, and the learning aspect of school.
In the end, however, an entirely new experience is created; one that doesn’t really resemble a club or school at all, where kids can explore to their heart’s content, without being bound by curriculum and large, impersonal classrooms.
Instead, they have the freedom to create the projects they want to create, and can receive personalized learning thanks to small class sizes.
Summer camp is a unique venue for growth, allowing kids to become independent and self-confident, while socializing and making new friends, and even learning new skills, like robotics.
Robotics encourages kids to learn valuable life and career skills
Robotics is an integral part of cutting-edge careers like aerospace engineering, computer science, and hardware design. If your child loves to tinker and would enjoy learning about STEM in a concrete way, their new robotics project could be just the thing to help them envision a future in one of these professions.
And then of course there are the “soft skills” that go along with advancing as a young robotics engineer.
Think about, for instance, the perseverance it takes to patiently and meticulously assemble a piece of hardware or the problem-solving necessary to program a robot to complete an obstacle course. These skills are essential not only in the STEM world, but in the working world as a whole.
Ready to get started?
iD Tech offers a range of online tutoring lessons that help students get into robotics with expert, personalized guidance. Plus, summer is just a few months away, and our virtual robotics camps are filling up fast!
We encourage you to consider the world’s #1 summer STEM camp for ages 7–19, with over 20 years of experience and 500,000 alumni. This season marks the second summer of Virtual Tech Camps, and we’re pleased to say that our 20 years of experience, plus and inaugural summer of fully online programs
Courses are led by top-tier instructors, so students build in-demand skills for futures in robotics, coding, game development, design, and more. Guaranteed small class sizes ensure personalized learning for all skill levels.