By Camille Davis
Special to the AFRO

Gifting toys can be more than just enjoyable items to entertain children.  Toys can also be a form of educating young people while having fun. As STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) instruction becomes more popular, parents are looking for ways to teach their children the basics of the subjects, and Jasmine Byrd of Party Time STEAMing Engineers has the solution.

Following her appearance on WJLA’s Good Morning Washington, on Dec. 13, Byrd met with elementary math teachers Allen Richardson and Crystal Wilson of Randle Highlands Elementary School. Richardson and Wilson were also guests for a morning segment the same day, after a video of Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres giving back to the Southeast, D.C. school went viral. The interaction between Byrd and the teachers was not planned and very informal.

Jasmine Byrd of Party Time STEAMing Engineers (center), donated STEAM centered toys to elementary math teachers Allen Richardson and Crystal Wilson for them to offer to their students as a means for them to get further interested in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. (Photo by Camille Davis)

The viral video, featuring the former first lady in conjunction with DeGeneres’ holiday special “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways,” caught Byrd’s attention the day prior.  Thus, for Byrd, this run-in on Good Morning Washington did not happen by chance. 

Without thought or question, Byrd offered Richardson and Wilson seven-out-of-the-ten activities for kids she presented during her “Top 10 S.T.E.A.M. Gifts for Kids” holiday-focused segment. 

The seven toys donated included: Project MC2- Ultimate Makeover Bag; Nickelodeon Slime – Super Slime Unboxing;  Dig it up- Wild Animals; Nickelodeon Slime  – 3 Pounds; Jell-O Play – Monster Slime; Jell-O Play – Unicorn Slime; and Poopsie – Unicorn Crush.  

“This is the season for slime,” Byrd said.

Byrd explained that her donations to Randle Highlands align with her years of giving back to the community, by exposing STEAM opportunities to children.

Jasmine Byrd of Party Time STEAMing Engineers with Santa Clause. (Courtesy Photo)

“I have been committed to the children within the District for over a decade. Access… equity has always been my number one priority,” she said. “This is why I’ve always volunteered within Ward 7 through various local, nonprofit channels such as Bullying is not Dope’s 2019 community day. I was also able to provide a Summer Camp STEAM Program in 2018. We traveled throughout Ward 7 in various communities providing programming within the community.”

“Supporting the students at Randle Highlands Elementary School is something dear to my heart; so, the opportunity to donate toys during the holiday season is what I love to do. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to put a smile on the children’s faces,” Byrd continued.

Richardson and Wilson were speechless.

The two teachers explained the gifts provided would go towards their weekly third-grade raffle, which is used as an incentive initiative for their students. 

Every toy that was featured on Good Morning Washington was age appropriate for third graders. Byrd emphasized that third graders are at the perfect age to enjoy STEAM and use creativity to explore and innovate.

All of the games donated were tried, tested and recommended by the Party Time STEAMing Engineers, just a few of the many activities featured in their programming. Byrd’s Party Time STEAMing Engineers DC Kids Makerspace is set to open in the Petworth neighborhood on Dec. 23 at 205 Upshur Street N.W., Washington, D.C. For more information on the DC Kids Markerspace visit https://www.dckidsmakerspace.com.