With 76 Baby Boomers expecting to retire within the next 20 years, the expected workforce shortage in manufacturing can be alleviated by getting the younger generation interested in engineering jobs.
Bill Nye, of Bill Nye the Science Guy, once said, “There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.”
So… How do we do that?
We can expose children to crafts, toys and literature that has engineering themes such as designing and building. This can help foster an interest in those subjects and also make them realize that engineering can be fun.
This holiday season, get the kid in your life (child, niece, nephew, friends’ children) interested in engineering by giving them one of the following gifts:
1. Subscription to KiwiCo
(Image Credit: KiwiCo)
Recommended Age Group: 0-18 years old (and beyond)
KiwiCo, a Los Altos-based company, is a toy subscription service that delivers DIY toys to kids from as young as 3 months old up to 18 years old on a monthly basis. Created by a team of educators, makers, engineers, and rocket scientists, each crate is expertly designed and tested specifically for its educational and fun functionalities. The idea behind each toy is that the kids get to design and build the toy themselves. It also inspires them to use their imagination on what else they can build with the tools sent to them in that month’s crate. One mom’s review of this toy subscription says, ” (With KiwiCo) play time just got more fun for kids, less stressful for parents, and more educational for everyone.”
To try out KiwiCo, visit their website: https://www.kiwico.com/
2. Monkey Pod Puzzles
(Image Credit: Amazon.com)
Recommended Age Group: ALL
If the child in your life likes to solve problems and tinker, then he/she might have the instincts of an engineer. To further foster his/her analytical mind, check out Monkey Pod Games. Monkey Pod Games has multiple brainteasers and puzzles made with wood harvested in a sustainable fashion from Thailand. Monkey Pod’s Founders, Ron and Gilad Levy, are two brothers who left their tech jobs to create games that challenge players to think mathematically and exercise their spatial skills without plugs, batteries, computer chips or screens. These puzzles are sold through Amazon at under $25.
To purchase them, check out their Amazon store: https://www.amazon.com/l/2596775011
3. Book: 100 Inventions That Made History
(Image Credit: Barnes and Noble)
Recommended Age Range: 7-10 years old
All the modern day technologies that we enjoy from the telephone to the smart phone, were created by inventors mostly consisting of scientists and engineers. “100 Inventions That Made History” covers inventions from the wheel to even the flush toilet, on its historical impact to mankind and who was responsible for them. This book goes over the many contributions of famous engineers such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, but it also introduces them to lesser known inventors such as JP Holland who invented the modern day submarine, and Charles Babbage who invented the first computer. This is a great book to inspire kids on how one idea turned from concept to product can make history.
To purchase this book, visit your local Barnes and Noble or order the book online.
4. Robot Engineer
(Image Credit: Thames and Kosmos)
Recommended Age Range: 3-10 years old
Nothing says mechanical engineering more than designing and building your own robot. With Thames and Kosmos’ Robot Engineer, kids can build their own robot while following the adventures of two inquisitive kids, Ty and Karlie. Thames and Kosmos is a science kit distributor based in Rhode Island which was founded by a science museum director and her son who saw the great need and demand for better science education materials. According to the toy’s description, this kit helps develop fine motor skills, science and math skills, visual-spatial skills, and reasoning and concept development skills. It has won many awards, including Parents’ Choice Gold Award.
To learn more about this or other Thames and Kosmos products, visit their website: https://www.thamesandkosmos.com/
As a partner to the engineering community, SoloPoint Solutions understands the importance of cultivating the next generation’s interest in manufacturing, engineering and technology not only to address the upcoming workforce shortage, but also to inspire a new generation of inventors, scientists and makers.