As an engineer and a mom, making STEM-based subjects fun for my daughters has always been a passion of mine. My husband and I try to bring science, engineering & math to life during everyday life whenever possible and I always encourage my girls to explore their interests in these subjects. That’s why I was thrilled when I heard about Arena STEM in Paramus, NJ.
This facility allows children to control remote control vehicles in a wide variety of environments (paved road, rough terrain, water, air, etc.) Playing with RC vehicles is incredibly educational. Specifically, learning how to control an RC vehicle exercises a child’s fine motor skills, vastly improving their 3-dimensional spatial awareness. Figuring out how to maneuver the vehicle around obstacles involves dexterity and focus. Watching these vehicles move throughout the various courses also brings to life the physics of motion. For example, players learn that in order to avoid tipping over, the cars must slow down during turns.
Planning how best to navigate around obstacles and beat an opponent at the race requires problem-solving and strategy skills. Understanding cause-and-effect is required, as a child determines which direction on the remote will cause the vehicle to move to the left. What I really love about Arena STEM is that the play is immersive. At the facility, one is surrounded by so many educational exhibits and interactive activities so the child is fully engaged & entertained the whole time.
When we arrived at Arena STEM, we were first greeted by an awesome robot. Sophia loved interacting with the robot!
Now let’s get to the various activities we experienced at Arena STEM.
Rock Crawling Course
This was the first activity we participated in when we arrived at Arena STEM. Here players drive their off-road vehicle across uneven terrain for a fun challenge. This activity gave the girls their first introduction to controlling an RC vehicle at Arena STEM. It took a bit of practice and trial & error but they got the hang of it eventually.
Our next activity was one of Sophia’s favorite spots. The Flying Field provides an introduction to quadcopters and flight techniques. There were fun obstacles and training rings. The mission was to control the drone and move it precisely from one mat to another. As an added challenge, players are tasked with flying the drone through a training ring. Sophia really enjoyed learning to control her quadcopter and has even put an RC quadcopter on her birthday wish list.
The Aqua Zone was Charlotte’s favorite activity. Here players learn to control the RC Boats around a large pool. With multiple players, it’s fun to make this into a competition and see who can complete the course first. There are both motor boats and sailboats available for navigating through the water.