There is so much in the news these days about STEM education and how it benefits young people and prepares them for life and rewarding jobs. Do kids just wake up one day interested in science and technology? Maybe. But, what if there were ways to, from early childhood, promote and encourage a way of playing and thinking that will set them up for success in science, technology, engineering and math? Well, there are plenty of ways, and most of them don’t involve sitting at a computer or reading text.
Start early: Encourage even the youngest children to explore the world around them and make observations. Help them communicate what colors, textures and shapes they see.
Investigate often: Develop a sense of curiosity in your kids. Treat everyday situations as investigations and make predictions about outcomes.
Be creative: Use items from nature and “trash” like caps, scraps and broken household items to create their own inventions and art. Who knows what they’ll come up with!
Build: Items like LEGO® bricks are perfect for creating structures that allow kids to express creativity while experiencing concepts of engineering like load, bracing, tension and compression.
Play: Open ended, free play is one of the most valuable things that children can do. Kids desperately need time that is unstructured, where they can truly be free to explore their imagination and dream up new games or role playing activities.
All of these simple activities help children build the foundation for later learning in STEM. Encouraging kids to become inquisitive, curious beings will help them develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be used in any academic area, including science, technology, engineering and math.