5 STEM Activities Parents Can Easily Conduct at Home
Guest post by Jessica Robinson
The 21st Century is witnessing radical changes and these are cultivating a new path for the future. When it comes to the education sector, there are many new trends that are altering the nature of education that learners receive or will receive in the years to come. With all that, we can’t fail to notice how STEM education is conquering the globe.
STEM education or STEM learning puts emphasis on four core areas that include (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). That’s generally because governments and educators believe that the modern world depends on it. The latest report by iD Tech indicates that the STEM landscape has given rise to millions of jobs yet many of them are projected to remain vacant in the near future.
So what STEM education or activities do is impart skills that are needed to produce future doctors, innovators, engineers, and scientists that can make the world a better place.
Fortunately, STEM education and its activities can be conducted anywhere, in person or virtually. Little learners don’t need to first reach school to indulge in STEM learning. Parents can help their children develop an interest in science subjects with the help of STEM resources readily available online or in physical retail stores.
STEM learning develops creativity and logical thinking in kids and this type of experimental experience helps them to learn how concepts are applicable to real life. Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, here are some of the best STEM activities that can easily be conducted at home.
1. Growing Plants Experiment (Science)
Do plants have life, how do they take in carbon dioxide and give us oxygen? This is one of the easiest STEM activities to do at home. It is engaging and can be conducted with a few resources readily available in our kitchens. The experiments can be conducted using beans, mushrooms, herbs, or cress seeds.
It is a fun and engaging activity that can teach little learners about the environment and how tiny seeds can sprout into the food we eat. This type of hands-on experiment also helps kids learn how plants grow in different conditions i.e with or without light, the type of soil, or growing from food scraps.
One of the most fascinating and detailed activities is growing beans. Parents can also teach their kids about plants using cress seeds, but bean growing activities are more detailed and will bring out a perfect picture. All you need is a clear jar or a pot, a piece of tissue, and bean seeds. With the bean growing activity, children can observe how the seeds germinate and how the roots develop.
How to Do It: Place the crumpled-up tissue at the bottom of the pot and then place a few beans at the edge of the container. Sprinkle some water on the beans and then place the pot in light and then watch the beans grow. Ensure to water the tissue and the beans every few days. You will be able to see the plants after a week.
Try to let your children engage in the activity by showing them or providing the resources for them to do it themselves. You can also compare your plants with theirs after a few weeks to learn how the plants grew or why the process would have failed.
Once developed, you can let your children pull out the plant and then dive into the learning session, i.e drawing the plant, and naming the different parts. Plant-growing STEM activities are possible whether you have a garden or not. In fact, this is one of the best activities families can consider apart from leveraging a range of learning apps at home.
2. Sticky Note Number Match (Maths)
Want your children to develop a love for maths? Want to teach them how to count, the meaning of numbers, and how they come about? The sticky note number match is an excellent way to do it. It is ideal for kids who find maths or counting problematic.
It is an engaging activity and can be upgraded depending on the age of the kids or learners. With this type of activity, you will require colored markers, scotch masking tape, star or dot stickers, and a whiteboard (if necessary).
How to Do It: Draw at least ten boxes on the whiteboard, the same size as the sticky notes. Fill the boxes with dots in any order. Then write numbers on the sticky notes i.e 1,2,3,5, To make the activity more interesting, you can disperse the numbered sticky note throughout the room or house, to make your child look for them. Then ask them to place the sticky notes on the dots representing that number.
You can play this fun game in many different ways i.e using pictures, the addition approach (3+5), or the subtraction approach (10-5) to help your kids learn beyond numbering.
3. Bridge Building Challenge (Engineering)
There is a range of bridge building challenges for kids you can try out at home depending on the available resources. This hands-on experiment can help kids explore engineering ideas, building materials, and shapes that can hold more weight. It can be conducted using several materials such as straws, spaghetti noodles, popsicle sticks, gumdrops, cardboard, toothpicks, tape, strings, scissors, newspaper, glue, meter stick, and toilet paper rolls, etc.
How to Do It: Here we are going to show you how to make a popsicle stick bridge. First and foremost, you have to decide on the shape and length of the bridge. Shapes range from suspension bridges and draw bridges, to truss bridges. Suppose you decide to build a truss bridge, you will have to first make a blueprint.
Together with the kids, arrange the popsicle sticks to make the four beams. Glue the truss beams together then lay out the trusses. Allow the glue to dry and then measure the cross supports. Construct the deck and then lay it out. Anchor the deck then measure the cradle supports then join them together.
There are many bridge building activities suitable for all age groups and these can help develop several skills such as coordination and problem-solving skills. Besides, they can help learners understand that SMART Goals are achievable with the right approach.
4. Coding & Stop Motion Videos (Technology)
Kids love animated moves and games, but instead of simply enjoying them, help them obtain hands-on experience by teaching them how to make stop-motion videos or how to code. You won’t require a lot when it comes to teaching your kids how to make stop-motion videos. You will only need a smartphone and a stop-motion app. Learning how to make stop-motion videos won’t only help kids create their own videos, but it will also help them produce quality assignments.
Computer skills are becoming a necessity today and besides teaching your kids how to type, help them learn how to code too. There is a range of apps such as ScratchJr, Daisy the Dinosaur, Bee-Bot, Robot Turtles, and Code Adventures that can help parents teach their children how to code. Technology STEM activities are ideal for teaching logical reasoning, communication skills, and critical thinking.
5. Scavenger Hunt (Maths)
You’ve probably heard a lot about scavenger hunts, but did you know that they can help build your kids’ character? Apart from being fun and engaging, scavenger hunts can be done anywhere (indoors or outdoors) i.e in a house or playground. This type of activity requires participants to search for objects or shapes within a given location. Your scavenger hunt activity may involve collecting a certain type of leaves, scholastic material, or anything you may decide upon before the game.
Scavenger hunts are not only a perfect way to spend time with your family, but they can also develop a range of skills in a child such as problem-solving skills, and creativity. Want to offer a push to your child’s education at home, incorporating STEM activities into the plan is one of the finest decisions you can do in modern times. Besides, many home activities can act as learning experiences as long as the child is included. For example cooking, a child can learn about different concepts such as evaporation, boiling cooling, and gasses.
There are a lot more STEM activities that can be conducted at home besides the ones mentioned here. These will not only keep your child active or interested in studies, but they are a perfect way to establish a parent-kid bond.
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Jessica Robinson loves to write interesting and knowledgeable blogs regarding business management, education and life to satiate the curiosity of her lovely readers. Currently, she is serving as a content manager at the ‘Speaking Polymath’. Every piece of content that she writes demonstrates her immense love and passion for her profession.