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There’s something to be said about old-fashioned games: playing house, making paper dolls, fingerpainting, Etch-a-Sketch and Magna-Doodle. Often enough though, children want to use technology during both play and learning…(if only hopscotch while playing Nintendo were possible!) In a world chock full of smart (and not-so-smart, sometimes) phones, e-readers, and talking wristwatches, you’ve probably noticed a shortage of child-friendly tech toys that promote creativity and learning (and iPads, eReaders and smartphones don’t count as toys…)
Usually, school-based therapists, have board games and other hands-on activities at their disposal, but what about a tech toy that could expand children’s creative-thinking skills to new levels? A simple machine that could sky lift their engagement and motivation in therapy sessions and the classroom?
We recently stumbled upon this awesome, currently in-development product…a fully-assembled MiniToy 3D Printer by Weistek Co., Ltd (important note: we are not being compensated in any way for sharing this information.)
This 3D printer is a child-friendly product that school-based therapists and special education teachers can keep in the classroom and watch children marvel as they learn. Funds were raised through Kickstarter, an innovative crowdfunding community. Though still in development, they are currently available for pre-order on the Kickstarter page.
The MiniToy 3D Printer can be used with curriculum – but may be especially beneficial for use in schools adopting STEAM, an education initiative that integrates the arts into STEM programs. Of particular interest, MiniToy notes that its product is the only 3D printer on the market in which STEAM education and the technological application are enmeshed.
We think this is an excellent tool for the special education classroom, and for school-based speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral therapy sessions. It’s easy to use – connect to a device, install a filament spool, and start making models and toys!
School-based speech-language pathologists can help facilitate speech development as children make objects. Occupational therapists can assess skills as children cut filaments from the spool and handle the toy. Behavioral therapists can help children diagnosed with ADHD focus on the task of making an object, and persevering to the end.
Best of all – MiniToy intends to donate a portion of the funding to research and development of special education (SPED) learning modules. The company’s drive for helping the SPED community is rooted in their conviction that “3D printing, tactile abilities can significantly improve in children with special needs.”
School-based therapists – what do you think of this forthcoming gadget? Please comment below.