How to help your children learn about STEM through play!
March 5, 2018
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are everywhere in our world. To prepare children for success in an environment driven by these concepts, educators are teaching these concepts to children at younger and younger ages.
You don’t need to have an in-depth knowledge of these subjects to introduce them to children. A foundation for STEM is laid by helping children increase their awareness of the world around them and to think creatively about it. This can be done by creating meaningful play expereinces such as counting everyday objects, pointing out differences in trees while taking a walk, or using household materials to build.
These—and many more—everyday activities can establish a thirst for experimenting and exploring. Here are some additional things you can do at home:
- Open up the outside for exploration. The world is always moving and changing, and nature provides a wealth of things to explore. This exploration, guided by safety, should allow children to be free to investigate. Let their natural curiosity help them discover connections. Plants, trees, dirt, animals (especially creepy crawly bugs!), the wonder of the sky are all wonderful things for children to explore.
- Foster connections by asking questions. Help children further their explorations and observations by asking them questions. Where did the puddle go from yesterday? Why do you think the trees lose their leaves? Allow the experience to be natural, giving children plenty of time to come up with their own creative explanations. Build upon previous experiences to form connections and give children only as much help as they need.
- Use all senses to explore. Children learn about the world around them through all of their senses, and STEM activities are an excellent way to fully explore their sensory environment. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy experiencing taste, touch, smells and sounds in safe, age-appropriate activities.
This article was written for the March 2018 edition of Parent Source.