Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are important subjects which most parents feel strongly about in terms of their child’s learning. Exploring STEM subjects at home with your child is a great way to begin introducing them to the many exciting opportunities which STEM affords.
This independent school in Surrey believes that a strong STEM curriculum results in more rounded learning all round. Children are naturally inquisitive, and you can take advantage of their innate curiosity to help them to develop into critical thinkers and to be more confident learners with STEM.
STEM is an approach to learning and development that combines the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and through STEM, children learn to work together, to think creatively, learn new ways of doing things and ask questions.
Activities at home
You can encourage your child’s curiosity by providing lots of opportunities at home. Here are some ideas:
Junk box sorting
Gather together a collection of various items of interest. You can choose all sorts of things from within the home. Choose items of different size, weight, material and texture. Good examples include cotton reels, toilet paper tubes, straws, pinecones, acorns, empty boxes, teaspoons and other metal utensils, tiles, plastic counters.
Jumble the items up in a box and ask your child to sort them out into weight, size and texture.
Discuss what each item is made from as your child chooses different things from the box. How do we know if something is made from plastic? What is the difference between a man-made item and a natural item?
In the garden
The garden can provide a wealth of STEM discussion and experience. You can create a rain gauge with an old plastic bottle and talk to your child about how rainfall works. Where does it come from and how is it important to life? You can also create a bug trap by sinking a plastic container into the earth and coming back the next day to see what kind of insects have fallen in. Talk to your child about each insect and about how all insects have jobs to do.
Bath time fun
There’s a reason most small children adore bath time – it’s because the bath can provide endless learning opportunities and children are hardwired to learn. Discovering what floats and what doesn’t is an easy and interesting learning game. You can provide a selection of items and ask your child to hold each item and try to work out if it will float or sink.
Even pulling out the plug can provide a great learning opportunity. Ask your child where they think the water goes – then talk to them about infrastructure and how drains and sewers work.
STEM learning opportunities are constantly with you – in the kitchen, the bathroom, the garden and the street. Notice them and ensure your child remains curious by providing lots of opportunities for them to experience new ideas.
Nb. Collaborative post.