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STEM Learning at Home

Jul 20, 2018 12:00 AM

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, and most challenging, jobs in the world. From the time your children are born, you are their primary source of education, philosophy, and physical training. You may not realize it because parenting comes naturally to you but teaching your youngsters about life and how the world works are vital to their success throughout. Parents play a significant role in helping their kids establish a foundation on which to build on.

Now that Summer is here, why not take the opportunity to bring some science lessons to life for your kids? STEM, the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has an abundance of activities that can be done with common household ingredients and objects, which will help your kids connect to the world around them. Just about every aspect of everyday life can be turned into a learning experience for children. Whether it’s going to the grocery store, balancing the checkbook, or making your child’s favorite pizza, life is learning.

One of the best ways to do this is to read to your youngsters. DiscoveryEducation.com (http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2017/09/12/6-way-to-encourage-stem-at-home/) has some wonderful book selections to choose from. Their list of books includes:

  • Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty - Kindergarten through 3rd Grade
  • Web Design for Kids 2.0 by John C. Vanden-Heuvel Sr. and Cristian Turdera - Kindergarten through 6th Grade
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm - 5th through 9th Grade
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren - 8th through 12th Grade

Some other ways to bring STEM learning into the home is to always have STEM friendly objects and toys available. Some of these toys include train tracks, legos, lincoln logs, and Play-Doh. All of these toys are great for children of all ages and encourage the 4 C’s of STEM learning - Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Challenge your kids to design unique buildings and tracks to foster engineering and problem-solving skills.

Cooking together is another excellent way to bring science, especially chemistry, measurements, and geometry into STEM learning at home. Children will learn about fractions, adding as well as subtracting them, when you double a recipe or cut a recipe in half. Another subject you can tie into your culinary adventure is History and Geography. This can be included when you make a regional or ethnic dish that is perhaps handed down through the generations. Consider stepping outside of the box and create non-traditional science experiments in the kitchen listed on the website ModernParentsMessyKids.com (https://modernparentsmessykids.com/stem-20-kitchen-science-experiments-kids-will-love/). Some interesting experiments include:

  • Make an Egg Walk
  • Make Rock Candy
  • Make Elephant Toothpaste
  • Make Edible Flubber
  • Make Spaghetti Slime

The best thing parents can do is prompt their kids to explore and continue to ask why. When parents allow their children to do this, they foster and encourage kids to discover the world around them and become a part of and understand something bigger than themselves. An excellent website for STEM projects to do at home is PTA.org (https://www.pta.org/home/programs/stem/STEM-Families-At-Home). When youngsters feel safe and that it’s ok to make mistakes and learn from them, they will be excited about learning, no matter what the subject.


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