With STEM industries continuing to grow, introducing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at a young age is increasingly important.
Beginning STEM education as young as possible will lay the foundation that students need to be successful throughout their education and on into their adult lives, especially for individuals pursuing careers in STEM fields. The following are several tips for parents to help them teach STEM to their young learners.
Start STEM Learning Young
As children get older, their school curriculum will cover many scientific and mathematical concepts. Luckily, there are more and more programs introducing coding, computer science, and digital literacy at a young age. There are also many toys and apps introduce coding concepts as young as five years old.
Children are naturally curious about almost everything, which leads them to ask a lot of questions about why and how things are the way they are. Sometimes children will ask questions that their parents cannot answer. Rather than brushing off their questions or leaving them unanswered, parents can take the opportunity to learn with their children. Looking up the answers to their questions together will fulfill their curiosity and allow for quality time with one another.
In addition to researching information, parents and children can watch educational documentaries, build models, and go on nature walks together. The more learning that parents can do with their children, the more they will value education throughout their lives.
Go on Field Trips
Field trips are wonderful ways to enhance any lesson on any subject. Units about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can come to life in a variety of ways. For example, visiting a science museum will give them hands-on experience. Many science museums offer interactive exhibits that teach children about energy, physics, electricity, human anatomy, and so much more. Many science museums have live demonstrations and educational programs that offer students further exposure to the STEM fields.
In addition to science museums, visiting zoos, aquariums, aerospace exhibits, natural history museums, nature centers, and children’s museums can teach students about various areas of STEM. Going on field trips is a great way to spend time as a family, as well.
Integrate STEM into Playtime
Plenty of educational toys are available that introduce math concepts, plants, animals, weather, and so much more. Parents don’t always consider these things when purchasing toys; however, emphasizing these subjects during playtime helps children establish knowledge and understanding of the most basic ideas.
A popular trend in the toy industry is coding games. These toys teach the fundamentals of coding in ways that are fun and engaging for young children. In addition to toys, computer games and apps are available for students of all ages to practice these skills and get hands-on experience with coding and other STEM-related concepts. Toys, apps, and computer games let children focus on the fun aspects, while not realizing they are also gaining valuable knowledge and laying the foundation for increasingly complex concepts.
Incorporate Lessons into Daily Routines
A child may have a routine of playing with a certain educational game; however, incorporating lessons into daily routines can further develop their skills and understanding of basic STEM concepts. Parents can talk with their children about math concepts, such as sizes, measurements, shapes, or types of objects. For example, a parent who is driving their child to school can turn it into a lesson about cars and technology by talking about the size, color, and shape of each vehicle. Practicing fundamental arithmetic can occur while completing routine activities with everyday objects; parents just need to get creative.