In this technological era, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills for lifelong success are increasingly critical. A Wall Street Journal article on this topic states that “While everyone agrees that basic literacy is critical for just about any job, we don’t quite have the same level of appreciation that being STEM literate is increasingly important to qualify for a wide variety of jobs in our information-based knowledge economy.” However, that is beginning to change as STEM skills importance for lifelong success is being more recognized and publicized.
This increasing awareness of STEM skills emphasis may cause parents of young children to take a greater interest in finding ways in which they can support early STEM learning at home.
Here are three ideas for parents for incorporating STEM learning into everyday life:
- Kitchen exploration. Helping out in the kitchen is a wonderful occasion for young children to learn STEM skills. Using the computer together to find a new recipe teaches beginner technology skills. Allowing children to measure ingredients and help with food preparation is a great way to introduce them to math skills and help them develop an awareness of how we use math in everyday life.
- Nature walks. STEM learning opportunities are abundant in the great outdoors. A nature walk gives you a chance to discuss animals and their habitats with your children. Together, you can count the different habitats you are able to find. With this type of natural exploration, you are encouraging early science, engineering, and math skills.
- Building. Building things with your children is a fun way to explore early engineering skills. Try using a variety of materials to make different structures. Some ideas would be to create a fort out of furniture and blankets, make a building out of blocks, or build a card house. Furthermore, you can stimulate technological learning by using the internet together to find additional building ideas.
There are many fun and engaging ways that parents can help support STEM learning for children. Taking advantage of the opportunities presented in day-to-day life is a great place to start.