As parents, we want to equip our children with the skills to tackle problems and build the perseverance for solving them. A great way to enhance these skills is through innovative STEM activities. STEM is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math applied in hands-on ways that inspire creative thinking.
Here are 5 ways to get kids excited about STEM:
- Build on your child’s natural curiosity. Use vocabulary that sets the tone for exploration—let’s experiment, design, find out, predict, create, or build something that interests you.
- Create a discovery station at home. Fill it with paper, cardboard, recyclables, tape, balloons, straws and other items that spark creativity. Children will happily create on their own, but you might challenge them with a task. (Examples: Build a vehicle that floats. Design a bridge for a toy car. Create a musical instrument.)
- Spend quality time exploring together. Choose some simple experiments that stimulate thinking. Make a balloon-powered racer, create and compare bubble solution recipes, or grow crystals. You can also check out the STEM Challenges Learning Cards—there's so many activities to pick from. Imagine all the fun possibilities!
- Challenge your child with a problem of the day. In just a few minutes, you can get your child’s dendrites firing. Pose a question or problem to solve and let your child work out a solution. Hold kids accountable for more than just a quick answer. Ask them to show their thinking with pictures, words, or numbers. (Example: You have invited 28 people to a party. You have tables that will seat 3, 4, and 5 people. How many tables will you need and how many people will be at each table? Can you solve this problem another way?)
- Help students change how they view mistakes. Innovators enhance their knowledge through trial and error. Persevering in problem solving builds a positive mindset and helps a child feel capable of navigating through challenges.
Young learners need opportunities to explore, so they will develop the critical thinking skills needed for today’s competitive world. We can enhance our children’s natural curiosity by allowing them quality time to explore and solve real-world problems. Excite that love for learning with STEM activities!