~ Sean Olesen
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts are typically taught in school. But just because kids learn about these concepts in school doesn’t mean they have a real interest in them. Unfortunately, some parents don’t know how to encourage their kids to be interested in STEM outside of school. Research shows that children are capable of understanding STEM concepts before they’re even a year old — which means it’s never to early to start teaching your kid about STEM. So let’s take a look at a few benefits of STEM and a few ways you can get your kids interested in STEM concepts.
Misconceptions About Studying STEM
One of the main reasons parents don’t encourage their kids to explore STEM subjects is because of all of the common misconceptions that are out there. So let’s debunk a few myths behind STEM so you can know why exactly you should stimulate an interest in STEM.
STEM doesn’t involve creativity.
One of the biggest misconceptions about STEM subjects is that they aren’t creative. Contrary to popular belief, studying STEM does not just involve taking tests. While STEM may not necessarily be artistic, there is certainly plenty of creativity involved — from innovation to creative problem solving, students can come across new topics and problems that they can use critical thinking to solve. And STEAM does integrate ART into the themes of science, technology, engineering, and math.
The only subject STEM focuses on is science.
While science is certainly a big part of STEM studies, it’s not the only part. Along with science, students will explore math, engineering, and technology. But in doing this, they also learn valuable skills, like thinking creatively. They’ll learn to ask questions, make theories, and figure out what they do and don’t like. Students will get to do hands-on projects and have an engaging learning experience.
There’s just one career path in STEM.
A lot of people think that if students study STEM subjects, they have to be a scientist or engineer. But that isn’t the case at all — each and every kid can benefit from exploring, learning about, and getting interested in STEM concepts. Studying STEM teaches important problem-solving skills and the basics of technology. These skills can be used in a variety of careers besides medicine or research science. Tons of STEM topics can be built on one another to form a basis of understanding and critical thinking skills.
Tips For Getting Kids Interested in STEM
While STEM subjects are often taught in school, it’s important to encourage kids to explore STEM concepts outside of school as well. Here are a few easy ways to help encourage kids to be interested in STEM subjects and concepts.
- Try experiments in the kitchen. If your child loves to help out in the kitchen, talk to them about how different ingredients react with one another. There’s more science involved in cooking and baking than you may think.
- Use math whenever you can. Whether you’re at the grocery store, out to eat, or even just at home, there’s always a simple math problem that can be solved. Knowing how to solve even simple math problems can set your child up for success throughout life.
- Buy the right toys. When it comes to buying toys for kids, there are endless options. You should focus on the toys that encourage creativity, thinking, and problem-solving. This will show kids that thinking and problem-solving can be fun too.
- Provide the right tools. While parents often have plenty of craft supplies for their kids, it’s also important to provide math, science, and technology tools as well. Things like old wheels, pulley systems, batteries, and other age-appropriate tools can allow kids to explore at their own pace.
- Find STEM in everyday life. Science, math, engineering, and technology are all around us. From music to painting to gardening, it’s easy to find STEM concepts in things kids are already interested in. So as a parent, be sure to point out STEM concepts whenever possible.
Getting kids interested in STEM throughout their young life is important. Not only will they be opened up to a ton of new potential career paths, but they’ll also have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need in everyday life. So consider a few of these tips and encourage your child to always explore STEM concepts.
This Math and Science Night pack includes 22 math and science (STEM) games and activities perfect for a family or school-wide math and science night, or for math or science centers. They are hands-on, interactive games that can be easily adapted for different levels. Games are super fun for preK through 5th grade, and practice a variety of math and science STEM skills. Go now==>
I developed this packet in order to run a K-5 school-wide Math and Science (STEM) Night at our school, and the parents and students LOVED it! It was a huge success, and we got endless compliments about how much fun they had. If you’re looking for a complete packet with inexpensive materials and engaging activities, this is the best packet for you. Enjoy!