How do we get our children to be more engaged and creative? It’s a question that passes through the minds of most parents. It becomes particularly difficult to answer when the day winds down and all kids want to do is turn off their brains and turn on their screens. But it’s important to mix some brain-stimulating activities that integrate STEAM/STEM time into your little one’s day.
What is STEM/STEAM?
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The goal of STEAM education is to stimulate student interest in those core elements. It fosters creativity, collaboration, and inventive thinking. It helps build a well-rounded set of expressive and intellectual skills. STEAM projects can include anything from wire sculpture and clay modeling to building a soap box eco-race car.
1. It’s a bug’s life
Bugs play a vital role in the community, and that community is your backyard. Keep science skills fresh by having kids identify the bugs and insects in their backyards, and then determine what role the insects play in their environment. From recycling waste to spreading pollen, bugs are an important part of the ecosystem.
2. Time for a bake-off
Baking is one of the best ways to teach students about math and science. How does dough rise? What sorts of chemical reactions take place when you bake chocolate chip cookies? For many students, math is abstract. Learning about measurements is a good way to make mathematical concepts practical.
3. Go stargazing
Is there anything better than stargazing on a warm night? Get away from the glare of street lamps and enjoy the night sky in the country or along the beach. Use a telescope and other astronomy tools and books to identify stars and constellations. The night sky always changes over the summer, so why not follow and document those changes?
4. Build a paper roller coaster
Okay, so the kids didn’t get to visit an amusement park. That’s okay because you can bring the amusement park to them! Roller coasters are amazing feats of modern engineering. Explain the many engineering concepts behind roller coasters—physics, gravity, friction losses—by having students build a paper roller coaster.
Elementary students are only as engaged and creative as the challenge before them. The budget may be shoestring, but with STEAM/STEM skills, the sky is the limit.