Explaining Kids About STEM Education Just Got Easy!
Encouraging kids to be interested in science, technology, engineering and math is something that many parents struggle with. The fact is that many parents mistakenly believe they themselves need to be proficient with STEM education in order to help their kids understand or feel uncomfortable promoting it conceptually to their children. This might be because they remember struggling in those subjects as children, too. But the truth is that all parents really need to help their kids develop an interest in STEM education.
Be a positive role model! Kids are always listening to their parents. They may not always be in the mood to listen when you need them to do something, but they are always listening to what you say. Make a conscious effort to avoid casting science and math as things that are “too hard” or “not for me.” Instead, focus on the fun of learning about something new as an adventure or a worthwhile investigation. It’s okay to admit you don’t know a factual answer to a science question, but make finding out about the answer something fun to do together.
6 Ways to Get Kids Interested in STEM Education
What’s STEM education?
First things first, tell your child what STEM education is. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just involve explaining that STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Of course, this is important but there are other points that you should include to help your child understand why it matters. Use these points as a mental checklist:
– What aspects of education are covered in STEM education.
– Provide examples of STEM in the real-world.
Do STEM activities at home
Stay in touch with your teacher for information on how and when to do this. Also enlist ideas with STEM activities at your home. You can also buy STEM educational toys for children according to their age and grade level to practice at home.
Look at STEM careers
Another way to encourage STEM education exploration is to help your children visualize themselves in a rewarding career. Rapid changes in industry are creating new types of jobs that require the STEM skills you can help them develop.
At its heart, STEM education is about solving real-world problems. The world is going to need more and more workers with the skills to identify problems, visualize and create innovative solutions, and constantly improve on those solutions. Encourage your children. Challenge them. Involve them in thinking like engineers!
Encourage curiosity and questioning
Display curiosity about things you see and show your own interest in learning. Your enthusiasm may be the greatest motivator for your child’s interest in STEM education. When your child asks a question, rather than giving an answer or a solution, urge them to research information and to come up with several possible solutions for one problem.
Discuss STEM education topics with your child
For example, talk about gravity when your child tosses a ball in the air. Discuss fractions or percent when you slice a pie. Cooking provides opportunities to talk about measurement, boiling and evaporation. STEM education toys and vehicles give kids a chance to learn about pulleys, levers, and engines. When shopping, reinforce ideas about numbers, calculations, estimating, and so on.
Surround them with STEM Learning Tools
Let your home reflect your kids’ interests. Does your child love to assemble things? Go with it! Playing with blocks and Legos is associated with later competence in math and problem-solving skills. Got a nature lover? Set up some outdoor learning opportunities for your child to explore.
Be enthusiastic about ideas that your child wants to test (within reason). Set up a place for experimenting and building models. Provide a variety of materials and tools that children can access safely. These don’t have to be expensive. Materials might include things like paper cups, craft sticks, glue, etc. All these will help children understand about STEM education hands-on!
2 STEM Education Activities to Get Started
1. Cloud in a jar
Condensation, water cycles and states of matter all get some attention with this delightful activity. A few simple household ingredients (water and hairspray) come together to demonstrate the formation of a cloud for kids.
This activity can be very simple for the littlest ones—or scaled up for older kids into an experiment with two different methods to create a cloud, along with conversation about how water cycles work in the environment. For bonus points, take the kids out on a foggy or cloudy day and perform this activity to help them connect the dots.
2. Oil spill
Why not try a STEM education activity that will connect back to real issues? In this activity, you simply mix oil and water in a large container and add a few feathers to the mix. Then pass out materials like sponges, paper towels or little spoons and instruct the children to try to remove the oil from the water and feathers.
Have the kids try to remove the oil without removing too much water. You can use this activity to show how oil spills can affect the environment, letting them observe how the oil affected the feathers and how difficult it was to remove it from the water. The basic elements of this activity (mixing oil and water) make it easy for the learning level to be scaled up or down depending on the child’s age—oil can obviously be messy, so use your discretion with younger learners.
STEM education and learning can be fun for your child and you. STEM can boost their knowledge and lead them to be more creative in their lives. The subjects that STEM covers are usually considered as “hard” or “difficult” for children. Involving them in simple yet engaging STEM education activities will help them overcome this notion and enjoy learning!