Hong Kong — Educational toys are growing in popularity, as parents seek a way to give children a leg-up in a highly competitive world. That push could be even more visible in China.
Toys under the trendy acronyms STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM (STEM, plus art) got their own space at the recently completed Hong Kong Toy and Games Fair, held Jan. 8-11.
"Chinese parents want their children to master problem-solving skills. These are more adaptable to the real world," said Alex Wong, sales manager at Shantou-based Wange Educational Material Sci-Tech Co. Ltd., which sells STEM toys under the Wange, Dr. Luck and Dubie brands.
In a country where elementary-school teachers regularly assign hours of homework every night and middle-class parents pony up for extra tutoring on weekends, STEM and STEAM toys offer an opportunity to learn even in down time.
"Young Chinese parents are more educated than ever. They travel overseas and see the educational toys that are popular in Europe and America. They want the same toys for their children," said Mandy Hoh, a sales rep at Hong Kong's Amazing Toys Ltd.