In today’s digital world, it’s important for kids to learn how to think critically, solve problems and use logic to understand the world around them. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and it’s how we categorize activities that develop these essential problem-solving skills in children. With STEM education growing in popularity at schools and home education programs alike, parents may feel like they have an endless array of options when choosing activities for their child at home or on a rainy afternoon. However, not all STEM-based activities are created equal. Here are some ways you can support your child’s development with STEM so that they grow into a well-rounded individual who is equipped with the skills they need to thrive in life after high school.
Talk About STEM
The first thing you can do when trying to support your child’s development with STEM is to talk about it. When kids are young, they are still developing their cognitive skills. This means that they are learning how to think critically, solve problems and use logic to understand the world around them. In order to help your child learn these skills, you need to teach them. Talking to your child about STEM topics will help them understand the skills that STEM activities help them to develop. As your child gets older, you can use these discussions to help them learn critical thinking skills, such as evaluating information, connecting ideas and asking big questions. When you talk about STEM, you help your child understand the importance of these skills and why they are important.
Reading is one of the best ways to support your child’s development with STEM. Engaging in reading with your child is a great way to spark discussion, encourage critical thinking and help your child learn new things. When choosing what books to read with your child, try to select books that are based on STEM topics. You can also try reading nonfiction books about scientific topics and events. When reading, try to ask your child questions about the book to encourage critical thinking and discussion. If you are reading with a child who is still learning to read, try reading books that have an audio version available. This will allow you to engage with your child while reading and help them to become more interested in reading.
Go on Field Trips
Another great way to support your child’s development with STEM is to go on field trips to local places that encourage STEM learning. You can find STEM-based field trips at local museums, public parks and your local children’s museum. These field trips will expose your child to STEM-based activities while also providing them with hands-on experience with the concepts they are learning at school. Your child can also learn many STEM concepts while at home through fun activities like growing plants, creating art and trying out different computer programs. Going on field trips is a great way to provide your child with hands-on experience with these concepts while also exposing them to new ideas and ways of thinking. When your child is exposed to these new activities, they are more likely to develop an interest in STEM and want to learn more about it.
Let Your Child Lead
When engaging in STEM activities with your child, try to let your child lead as much as possible. This will allow your child to feel ownership over the project, which will likely make it more interesting for them. When choosing a STEM-based project for your child, try to find one that requires them to think creatively. This will help your child develop their critical thinking skills and learn to find solutions to problems. Additionally, when your child leads the project, they will be more likely to be interested in the project. This means that your child will be more likely to remember the project and gain the skills associated with it.
Try Computer Programming
Computer programming is becoming more and more popular among kids, especially boys. This is because computer programming helps children learn to think critically and solve problems while also creating something. It is a great way to support your child’s development with STEM because it will help them learn how to break down problems and find solutions to those problems. When kids learn computer programming, they are given a problem to solve. They have to break down the problem into smaller parts and create instructions for how to solve the problem. This type of thinking is essential for life after high school, whether a child wants to go into computer science or not. While it may seem like a foreign language at first, computer programming is actually quite simple to learn. There are tons of online resources for kids interested in learning computer programming. Kids ages 8-12 are advised to try out Scratch, a simple programming language that is easy to understand and lets kids create interesting projects.
Try Out Robotics Clubs
If your child enjoys hands-on activities, robotics clubs are a great way to support your child’s development with STEM. Robotics clubs are popping up in more and more schools, and they provide kids with a hands-on experience with engineering concepts. When your child participates in a robotics club, they will learn how to break down complex problems and find solutions to them. They will also learn how to work in groups and communicate with other team members. These skills are essential for life after high school and can help your child in any career they choose. By joining a robotics club, your child will learn more about engineering and the concepts behind robotics. This will help your child understand these concepts and why they are important.
Ultimately, the goal of STEM activities is to teach children how to think critically and use logic to solve problems. This is important for life after high school, regardless of what career a child chooses. When engaging in STEM activities with your child, try to select activities that encourage critical thinking and problem solving. This will help your child develop the skills they need to succeed in life.