If you’ve got your kids home for the foreseeable future and want to enhance their STEM education, but are unsure of how to do it in a way that retains all of the fun and the educational value, look no further. Read on to know five different ways to engage your children in STEM while home learning!
1. Science Experiments
The tried and true method for science fun -- engage your kid by asking them to join you for a home science experiment!
From simple experiments for the littles to more involved experiments for your big kids, there is nothing better than rolling up your sleeves and sticking your hands in some science.
A couple of tips for ensuring success during your at-home science learning:
- Follow the scientific method. Your child will gain so much from having to use their inferencing skills to generate a hypothesis and their math skills to collect data to indicate the results of their experiments.
- Journal what you do. This is a great opportunity for cross-curricular learning. Encourage your child to track what they are learning and either draw pictures of it, create graphs, or write explanations of their methods, depending on what is appropriate to their age and developmental level.
2. Engineering Challenges
The Engineering Design Process is a series of steps designed to engage children in problem-solving. There are seven steps:
- Ask questions.
- Research the problem.
- Imagine solutions.
- Create a prototype.
- Test and evaluate.
- Improve and adjust.
Some of our favorite engineering design challenges are those that ask children to build innovations. We like challenging our kiddos to build Rube Goldberg machines, pasta towers, or cars that can propel themselves via a balloon! Anything goes with engineering design, as long as your child is actively solving a problem on the way there.
3. STEM Subscription Boxes
Featuring a new project every month, STEM subscription boxes are the way to go for low-prep, ever-evolving science fun at home. Because children will get a new box in the mail every month, their excitement will never die.
There are subscription boxes for everyone. We like to recommend Kiwi Crate overall, Greek Kids Crafts for the artists among us, and STEM Discovery Boxes for those looking for whole family activities.
4. Nature Walk
One of the best ways to engage your child in science is to engage them in the natural world. Consider taking them on a nature walk to see what is in the world around your home. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, create a list of items to look for and turn your time outdoors into a fun scavenger hunt!
DoingGoodTogether.org offers a template that we love for two reasons: first, the scavenger hunt includes both easy to find items to ensure success and hard to find items to ensure adventure; two, there are writing prompts included at the bottom to ensure the educational experience doesn’t come to a close as soon as the door back inside does!
5. Download Science Apps
There are a variety of educational apps for children on the market today and science is certainly no exception to that. Consider having your child download an app like BrainPop Jr. that will offer them videos to watch on science topics and quizzes to test their understanding. Additionally, consider some more game-based options like Complexity Science or Curiosity Machine. They’ll love the tech time and you’ll love that they’re spending it on growing their minds instead of growing their YouTube history!
Open the World with STEM Activities
Whether you live in an area that is still isolating from COVID-19, or you’re simply trying to juggle working from home while having your children during the summer, STEM activities are sure to take your children to a world well beyond your living room. Allow them to expand their worldview with engaging science projects, digital concept explorations, and fresh subscription boxes!
Mark Coster, Ph.D. is an online entrepreneur and the driving force behind the STEM-focused websites, STEM Toy Expertand Organic Chemistry Explained. With 20 years of experience in chemistry education and research, and 3 willing children as guinea pigs, Mark has a passion for inspiring kids and adults to combine fun and learning with STEM Toys!
A note from ThinkFun
At ThinkFun, we love it when learning and fun collide. It’s why we do what we do. Every game, puzzle and brainteaser we create is aimed at igniting a spark in a young mind. Still curious? Check us out on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram.
Are you a former or current educator who is interested in guest blogging for ThinkFun? Please contact us for more information! You could be featured in our next blog post and TeachFun e-newsletter!