The love of learning runs in our family. Bill’s parents were both educators, and their own dedication to teaching him to be thoughtful about the world around him helped him go from a curious kid to a successful adult.
We see that same love of learning in our son, Duke. Duke’s interest in science emerged early on. He’s always been quick to take gadgets apart to see how they work, and ask questions like a little engineer. After a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry’s Maker Lab, he even asked for a 3D printer for his 7th birthday. That’s why we made the decision to enroll Duke in a STEM-focused program for half of each school year. There, using play-based learning, his teacher help spark and develop Duke’s own curiosity in the subjects of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. One of them even brought him an old VCR to take apart and reassemble.
As parents, we’ve embraced Duke’s love of STEM, as well as his school’s playful approach to teaching these vital skills. Our experience with Duke has also inspired us to look for ways to help parents incorporate STEM into their children’s everyday routines. Below, you’ll find some tips for bringing STEM into your home.
Identify and Nurture Your Kids’ Individual Interests
Every kid is different, especially when it comes to the educational subjects they’re passionate about. When you’re first introducing STEM to your kids, give them lots of things to explore. This could mean an engineering-themed building set, or an early coding class, or a trip to the botanical garden. Once they find the STEM subject they like the most, help feed that appetite and curiosity. It’ll give you an instant shared interest that brings you closer as a family, and you might just learn something yourself along the way.
Seek Out Experiential Learning
When it comes to learning, the lessons that stick the most are often the ones that let kids get their hands dirty. Whenever possible, seek out experiential learning opportunities for your kids. Whether they’re discovering how 3D printing works at the museum or going on a backyard bug safari at home, they’ll build the creativity, adaptability, and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in school and beyond.
Substitute Screen Time for Active Learning
We all know that the work day doesn’t always end when you get home, and that it’s easy to fall into a habit using screens as a pacifier when you get home. Instead, ask yourself these question: How much screen time is right for my child? What alternative for screens works best for me? How can I develop a plan to substitute excess screen time with active learning? With the help of STEM toys like Beaker Creatures, we’ve been able to replace some of Duke’s screen time with hands-on science experiments that teach him about the real world in a fun, engaging way.
There’s More to Life Than Sports
So often, it feels like sports are the only option for after-school activities, especially for boys. As parents, we’ve made sure to show Duke that there’s a world of exciting opportunities that don’t involve a ball, stick, or basket. We try our hardest to make sure he gets a healthy balance of physical and educational activities. Usually, he goes to a coding class one day and basketball practice the next. By keeping that balance, we’re making sure both his body and mind stay healthy.
Save it for later!