What are STEM Activities?
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You have probably heard or seen the word STEM. Not all parents are familiar with STEM activities or what STEM stands for, but most know it’s something educational.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math.
When it comes to Science we want young children to become exposed to questioning, exploring, observing and predicting. It’s important to create opportunities for our children to work on making educated guesses and ask them why they made the guess they did. You can scaffold their thinking by saying, “I’m thinking it will do this because XYZ.” This will get them in the mindset of trying to piece together an educated guess based on prior knowledge from something they recently observed or explored. The Children’s Factory science table shown below where I share the activities is perfect for STEM activities.
Technology is obviously used by majority of young children. The importance is teaching children about technology and how we can use it to create things and help us explore. Izzy likes to take photos of her creations with her iPad. We also use the iPad to explore concepts we are discussing and I want to further elaborate on with her. For example, Izzy watched a show that discussed volcanoes. She became curious about them, so we started drawing some. After this we explored how technology can be used to research and find information. Izzy and I looked up videos of volcanoes and looked for maps of where some large volcanoes are. There are many coding games and toys now that help children to work on building their software engineer skills. We are loving KidloCoding.
Engineering involves critical thinking, problem solving and innovation. Children that have hands-on experience with materials used to challenge multiple solutions to a problem are working on engineering skills. As stated above they can also work on their software engineering skills with new kid coding apps such as KidloCoding.
Math for young children looks very different than what you may be thinking when you try to define your memories or solving long math problems in school. For younger children, early math skills involve patterns, sorting, number recognition, counting and shape recognition. Work on creating activities that can involve opportunities to count, sort, create patterns etc. These skills are vital for our children so they can build strong foundations in mathematics.
STEM Activities & Products
This marble run set from Really Good Stuff was used on the science table creating a marble run and exploring how the balls move around on a the table top surface. Since this set is magnetic, we then created a marble run on our playroom tri easel and later in the day our on our fridge to explore how the movement differed from being on the table. We talked about how the balls only needed to be dropped and moved with gravity vs being pushed along by our hands. We also explored different ways to create the marble run so they wouldn’t bounce out and didn’t get stuck along the way. (science & engineering)
The Science table has 2 white magnetic pieces and 2 mirrors. Izzy enjoyed using both when exploring the magnets. Specifically in this magnet set from Really Good Stuff we discussed force and how the magnets were moving (science). After exploring the set we moved into activities working on patterns (math), and created a magnet run (engineering & science) with our marble run set and the next day with Wikki Stix and legos. The blue center bin of the science table easily holds the Wikki Stix and lego pieces allowing us to have all we need up on the Children’s Factory science table as we played and explored the magnets. Izzy and I used the iPad to look up cute and kids friendly videos that explain what makes magnets “stick” together (technology).
Wikki Stix are perfect for patterns, sorting and creating shapes (math). They are also amazing for creating towers, marble runs and more (science & engineering)! We cut our Really Good Stuff Wikki Stix up into different sizes and even keep some in a plastic baggy in the diaper bag for entertainment when out to eat or during travel.
Word Formation Sand Tray
The Word Formation Sand Tray from Really Good Stuff is amazing for writing letters and words , creating and shapes (math), and searching for objects or magnets in the sand (science). Let your child explore and play in the sand before encouraging them to do specific things.
I hope you all loved this post and learned something new about STEM and how to expose your child(ren) to STEM concepts. If you are as obsessed with this Science Table & chairs from Children’s Factory as me, snag the table here and chairs here.
Shop Some Products That Promote STEM Learning