10 Ways to Spark Your Child’s Interest in STEM
STEM education helps kids learn many valuable life skills. Parents can spark their child’s interest in STEM with these 10 ideas.
The value of a child’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is far-reaching. STEM based education helps children develop numerous 21st century skills, such as media and technology literacy, productivity, social skills, communication, and more. STEM education also helps children attain skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision-making, leadership, and others.
As a parent, you can help foster your child’s interest in STEM
Many of the skillsets that children pick up through STEM are valuable, real-world assets. If you and your co-parent are looking for ways to spark your child’s interest in STEM, try these 10 ideas:
1. Encourage curiosity
Helping your child gain an interest in the world around them and how things work is a simple way to encourage their curiosity. This natural wonder will automatically bring up STEM related questions for your child, which you and your co-parent can either answer or help them solve on their own.
2. Introduce STEM related games
From boardgames to apps, there are tons of ways for kids to play while learning STEM skills. STEM related games can help show your child the fun side of science, technology, engineering, and math, which will help spark their interest. You and your co-parent can check out this list of STEM boardgames or this list of STEM apps to help your child get started.
3. Challenge them to problem-solve
An integral part of STEM education is problem-solving. Teaching your kids how to problem-solve through everyday experiences will make STEM related problem-solving come more naturally over time. You and your co-parent can teach your kids simple problem-solving skills by allowing them to work through some questions or challenges on their own and helping them come to a solution.
4. Help them understand practical STEM applications
Making sure your kids understand how STEM fits into the real-world is important. You and your co-parent can do this by pointing out how STEM is applied to certain processes, functions, and thinking each day. It’s beneficial to bring these conversations up in relation to things like cooking, driving, working, etc. in addition to standard schoolwork or activities.
5. Get outdoors
Encouraging your kids to get outside and play is another great way to help spark their interest in STEM. Weather, insects, plants, and more are all examples of STEM processes at play in the real world. You and your co-parent can use fun outdoor activities like bug catching, gardening, or star gazing to grow your child’s interest in STEM.
6. Sign them up for a STEM summer camp
Consider sending your child to a STEM related summer camp. These types of programs range from robotics and coding to space camp and physics. You and your co-parent can help spark your child’s interest in STEM by giving them a dedicated place to learn and play with other like-minded kids.
7. Buy them STEM related toys
Giving kids toys and activities that show them how to take things apart, build things, and experiment is important for STEM education. You and your co-parent can check out this list of STEM toys that are made to sharpen kids’ critical thinking skills.
8. Visit a museum
Many museums and science institutes offer hands-on learning and experiences to kids, which can help spark their interest in STEM. You and your co-parent can research museums near you to see if there are any STEM related options.
9. Foster out-of-the-box thinking
Provide your child with an environment that facilitates out-of-the-box thinking. Encourage them to think beyond one solution to a problem or develop their own hypotheses. You and your co-parent can help your child do this by asking them open-ended questions, giving them a creative space, and encouraging reading.
10. Teach by example
Children learn by example. You and your co-parent can help spark your child’s interest in STEM by showing your own interest or involvement. You don’t have to work in a STEM related field to do this. Simply take part in many of the ideas outlined here with your kids!
Encouraging your child’s interest in STEM has many long-term benefits
Aside from opening up an array of stimulating and profitable career fields, STEM education is crucial to helping your child develop so many positive attributes. If you or your co-parent are looking for additional resources related to your child’s education, check out these articles.