Engaging your child in STEM while having fun

Father And Daughter Looking At Frogspawn In Jar

If you are the parent of a school aged child, I’m sure that by now you are familiar with the word STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Because children are curious and eager to learn, many schools incorporate STEM program as early as elementary school, which allows kids to participate in a variety of activities to explore and understand how things work through the application of science. These STEM based programs or science fairs promote an environment that ignites curiosity and creativity.

As a parent, the first time I received a letter to invite my son to participate in the school STEM fair, I had no clue about the meaning of STEM. At the time, I wasn’t certain about the benefits of the fair or how to support his participation. As smart as kids are, my son came with a great idea, “I have an idea mom and dad!” he said, “I like magnets, and because I have learned in school how they work, I want to share that at the fair!” – So, at this first year, he did most of the work by himself, and we were there only as helpers.

Young children are natural learners, they ask questions all the time, anytime, and we may not always have the answer. However, this may be an opportunity to learn together, as we help them get prepared for the future.

With this in mind, we should not limit our kids’ opportunities based on our limitations. There is much more that we can do to motivate and to help them learn the basic concepts of STEM. Here are a few things I learned after I investigated STEM and what you can do to help your child benefit from their school’s STEM education.

  • Motivate your child’s curiosity by paying attention to what they have learned. Listen and praise them, ask them questions and challenge them even more, asking them to investigate something else they don’t know yet.
  • Educational destinations such as science museums, aquariums or the zoo are great places to teach and learn important lessons about science.
  • Attend science fairs or events, search online to find some that are close to you. These fairs have plenty of information, and can be very inspirational for your kids to learn and develop more ideas.
  • DIY, visit pinterest and develop family projects based on STEM ideas. It’s not only funny but inspiring for the kids.
  • If your child’s school is one of the lucky ones to have a designated STEM teacher, contact him or her, and ask how to help your kids at home. I’m sure they have plenty of ideas and resources for parents like you.

Historically, the educational system has fallen behind in science for years, so this is a great opportunity for students to get involved and overcome that gap. Science is the base for everything, so just imagine how amazing it is for your child to get an early interest in one of the most evolving branches of education with no effort, just by playing, exploring, and having fun.

By: Silke McDowell (@mamlatinaphilly)



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