Science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM subjects, play an essential role in setting the foundations for the future learning of children.
STEM builds creativity, ingenuity, and resilience in children. It encourages experimentation, teamwork, and the use of technology.
STEM also helps children hone their problem-solving skills.
These are valuable skills that everyone can apply in various ways in school and in real life.
Because of these reasons, instilling in children the importance of STEM and its applications can give them an edge academically at any educational level and once they pursue their careers.
Helping Children Develop a Lifelong Interest in STEM
If you want to start introducing the concept of STEM to your kids and help them develop an innate interest in this discipline, below are seven tips you can follow:
1 . Consider your children’s ages.
STEM education in Dubai can start at any age. This means that you can begin teaching your children about this concept, even if they are still toddlers.
However, this does not mean that you can teach your kids anything. You have to consider their age when introducing new concepts to them.
If your young learners are toddlers, start with light topics they like. If they are interested in animals or dinosaurs, get pictures and coloring books and toys suitable for their ages.
Additionally, come up with activities that involve their interests. For older kids, introduce them to the world of paleontology by buying a dinosaur fossil kit and burying them in your garden. Once they have dug the bones out, help them complete the skeleton.
2. Make learning fun.
Children love to play. Incorporate some STEM concepts into their games to help them learn something from their activities and build interest in this subject.
Building blocks are excellent toys that teach children different STEM skills. Have them create a neighborhood or town as a project. Ask them to create a simple blueprint or plan or let them build and add buildings, houses, and other structures and features as they want.
Whether they follow a blueprint or engage in free play, playing with building blocks introduces them to the world of engineering.
You can also incorporate STEM concepts in other activities, such as cooking, baking, and creating magnetic slime.
When you are consistent with integrating STEM concepts in your children’s games and activities, the more they will learn and appreciate their application in school and real-life.
3. Encourage your children to ask questions.
If your children are always asking why, how, and what questions, answer them and encourage them to continue being inquisitive. Being curious is a STEM mindset that you will do well to develop in your little ones.
Having a questioning mind fuels a person’s need to answer their own questions and solve various problems. It is a trait that can help anyone achieve success academically and career-wise.
If you can’t answer a question, don’t be embarrassed to look it up online or read a book.
Better yet, have your children find the answers online or read the book with you so that you can start training them to do their own research.
4. Organize outdoor STEM activities.
Kids also love spending time outdoors. Boost their interest in STEM by taking them to places that feature this subject.
Look for science museums in or near your area and visit those with your children. These places showcase exhibits that explain complex and fascinating scientific, technological, and engineering concepts in creative, fascinating, and engaging ways.
Some museums also have interactive displays that give visitors the chance to try their hand at some experiments, play with gadgets, or watch video presentations. All these features will delight and educate your children and pique their curiosity even more.
Ecotourism spots are also excellent places to teach children about some STEM concepts. Your kids will discover interesting species of flora and fauna in rivers, lakes, nature trails, and mangrove forests, broadening their knowledge in botany and zoology.
Bringing your children to a public park or letting them play in your backyard also allows them to know more about the plants and insects found in your area.
5. Let your children watch STEM TV programs or videos.
If you have older children, allow them to watch TV or online videos for an hour or two every day. After all, not all TV programs, movies, and online videos are bad for kids.
There are many TV programs that can educate your children about STEM. If you do your research right, you will find ones that are appropriate for your little ones’ ages. Moreover, you will come across ones that they will love watching.
Aside from documentaries, there are many prime time TV shows that have STEM themes that will satisfy your children’s curiosity.
However, make sure you limit your children’s screen time. Although they are watching educational programs, it is unhealthy for them to stare at the screen, regardless of its size, for hours every day.
6. Download some STEM apps for your kids.
Aside from TV programs and online videos, there are several STEM apps and games that can boost children’s interest in this subject and entertain them at the same time.
Puzzle games help develop children’s analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Mobile games about physics also allow kids to use and hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they advance through the missions.
There are also apps that let children make their own inventions, allowing them to unlock their potential as scientists.
Lastly, coding apps introduce kids to the world of computer programming, a STEM skill that is highly regarded today.
Again, limit your children’s use of computers or mobile gadgets to minimize the harmful effects of staring at a screen for long periods.
7.Look for STEM after-school activities suitable for children.
Your kids’ after-school activities do not have to be confined to sports or arts. There are STEM-themed options that your children will love, too.
Many learning centers offer STEM programs that teach students key concepts and provide them opportunities to apply what they are learning.
For instance, if they are learning about robotics or coding, they will be given projects which they have to complete using the knowledge and skills they acquired.
For older kids, encourage them to join science fairs or robot or engineering design competitions. These contests will help them unlock their potential in the field of STEM.
With these tips, you can instill in your children a love for STEM and help them develop the skills they need to get a head-start in succeeding in this field.