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STEM play is focus of expanding line of Raleigh made toys

Posted November 15, 2015
Updated November 16, 2015

I wrote about Beth Harris nearly a year ago and she's been a familiar face here on Go Ask Mom ever since.

Harris is the Raleigh mom of two and long-time science educator, who shares great kitchen experiments that kids can do at home. She's also the mind behind Fort Kits for Kids, creating bags of all of the simple tools that kids would need to build a fort from a sheet to clips to a flashlight. Her kits have been so popular with families!

Now, Harris is expanding her line of STEM toys to include STEMplay. Her offerings now include three new products with a focus on activities that involve teamwork, creativity and problem solving.

They're "offline toys," Harris tells me, "that promote STEM skills."

Harris started rolling out her new offerings in the summer. They include tops that Harris has made to teach kids (and adults) about color and light. Each comes with color disks that you can add to the top to learn more about how colors of light mix. It's fascinating! They sell for just $5 and would make a great stocking stuffer!

Harris also offers rollout game sets. Families can play either checkers, chess or tic tac toe on the quilted game boards. The pieces, made from bottle tops, fit into pockets in the game board, which you can roll up for easy storage or to take on trips. They sell for just $50.

Harris also has created bee houses, wooden boxes that are designed to attract Mason bees, which like to burrow in holes, and ladybugs, who lay eggs in pine cones. The boxes can come prefilled with bamboo, wood drilled with holes and pinecones. Or they come empty with instructions for families to do it themselves. The empty houses with instructions sell for $20. The filled houses go for $35.

All three items expand on Harris' mission to offer kids alternatives to screens. And, she promises, she has more ideas "percolating." (You also can find Harris running STEM field trips at United Skates of America).

You can find Harris online and at a couple of upcoming craft fairs. She'll be at the Art of Giving at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 22. On Dec. 5, she'll be selling items at the Ole Time Winter Festival in Cary.

I can't wait to see what she comes up with and share some more great kitchen science experiments from her. Stay tuned!

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