How to raise a STEMist at home?
As one who designs STEM games for children, I get this asked repeatedly by other mums “How do I get my child to enjoy Math?” or “What if I don’t have the material to do science experiments at home”! I would a little jig in my mind (yay, another STEM home!) and rattle off a list of quick activities.
STEM is not just the subjects per se but a way of thinking – STEM teaches one skills beyond the classroom or tests, skills that help children evolve – logical thinking, resilience and teamwork. Skills that are critical to navigate life and careers in the future. The earlier the children start with an exposure to STEM, the higher the chances of them being interested in it when they get older.
So how do you encourage an interest in STEM, make it engaging and meaningful and raise thinkers, innovators, and creators of tomorrow? Here are few ways to get you started:
Use everyday life to talk to your child about STEM topics.
That STEM is everywhere is not a cliché. The process and steps involved in brushing your teeth is a great place to start discussing algorithms (which is nothing but a series of steps performed in the right sequence). Child dropped a pencil? Great time to talk about gravity. Fractions can be discussed over slices of birthday cake! Shopping, cooking, walking in rain – all are opportunities to talk STEM
Children are born ‘why’ people. They are curious about everything around them. Encourage curiosity by being curious yourself. Ask your child, questions, challenge them. Why does she think wheels are round and not square? If she had to design a Lego block how would she do it differently? Open ended questions are a great way to get the brain ticking.
(For games that encourage the 'why's', click here.)
Designate a DIY corner in your home
Maker spaces needn’t be fancy nor take up too much time or place for set up. Basic material like rolls of string, popsicle sticks, old bottles, bottle caps, glue sticks, old newspaper, toilet rolls and such are perfect for your little one to build and tinker around with.
(For games that intrigue kids with open ended questions, click here.)
Serious as they may sound, these subjects can be super fun if ‘taught’ well. Playing STEM games which encourage analysis, creative strategy and teamwork are another great way to get children interested in STEM. Not to mention strengthening of family bonds as everyone gathers by a coffee table on a bed for a laugh filled game night.
For games that help raise a STEMist through the power of play, click here.