Imagine a scenario where our children are not only comfortable creating with technology, but also have fun experimenting and solving problems together.
This dream, envisioned by Mr Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is becoming a reality with IDA's PlayMaker Programme.
PlayMaker Launch At the launch of PlayMaker Programme on 21 September, Mr Leonard shared that : “As Singapore becomes a Smart Nation, our children will need to be comfortable creating with technology. We are very excited that our Playmaker programme gives children the tools not only to have fun, but also to experiment and problem solve together, building up their confidence and creativity.”
It is indeed apt that the launch was at PCF Yuhua Blk 233A, within the Jurong Lake District Smart Nation Test bed. Minister Grace Fu was also there to witness the launch and had a chance to play with the technology-enabled toys. The children were all excited to show Minister Fu how the toys were played and were totally engaged throughout the session.
During the Proof of Concept stage at Temasek Polytechnic, findings suggest that children get more out of their play when they have a chance to create and problem solve. The toys also gave children a chance to learn about sequencing, collaboration and planning. These findings will be taken into consideration during the pilot phase with 160 preschools.
PlayMaker @ Early Childhood Conference and Exhibition 25-26 Sep
A carousel of fun and exciting activities were showcased at the PlayMaker booth during the 3rd Annual Early Childhood Conference and Exhibition organised by Early Childhood Development Agency. It was indeed the highlight of the event with a constant stream of children eagerly awaiting their turn to have a go at the child-friendly and technology-enabled toys. It was indeed a first of a kind experience for many participants.
Here's an introduction to the technology-enabled toys:
BeeBot is a colourful, easy-to-operate and friendly little robot that is perfect for teaching young children sequencing, estimation, problem-solving and planning skills.
KIBO is a robot kit specifically designed for young children aged 4-7 years old. It allows the child to create a sequence of instructions (a programme) using the wooden KIBO blocks., They can then scan the blocks with the KIBO body to tell the robot what to do.
With a suite of sophisticated sensors and unique functionalities such as user-recordable sounds and multi-coloured LED lights, Dash & Dot robots can easily capture children’s attention. The interface app incorporates interactive challenges for children to learn independently, and educators have used it in the classroom in social activities that teach sequencing skills, storytelling, and art & craft.
Circuit Stickers are peel-and-stick electronics for crafting circuits. With LED stickers, young children can easily add lights to their art & craft projects using LED stickers. Sensor stickers, that senses light or sound, allow for interactive projects that respond to the environment.
Delighting young and old was also Strawbees, a Kickstarter project launched last year. It is a prototype toy that allows the player to build whatever their imagination can conjure up. Watch out for the robotic hand in the video!
Look out for a PlayMaker pilot at a centre near you!
What is the PlayMaker Programme all about? This programme aims to inspire young children to Play and Make with Tech toys by offering child-friendly, technology-enabled toys that promote tactile and more kinaesthetic experiences to pre-school children in Singapore. Guided by trained teachers, these children will acquire abilities like logical thinking, reasoning, sequencing, estimation and inventive thinking. The toys also encourage them to collaborate in small groups which helps them develop social and communication skills.