Since 2015, we have celebrated November 8 as National STEM/STEAM Day, which brings awareness to the skills and careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. One of the goals of this holiday is to introduce children to the diverse facets of STEM/STEAM careers and inspire them to become a STEM/STEAM professional in the future. The other goal is to encourage students to pursue these skills because proficiency in STEAM skills can open up more educational and career opportunities for children when they’re older.
Your children may be really into STEAM activities, like building structures, inventing things, and putting puzzles together. They may also be more into artistic activities, like drawing, painting, doing crafts, and playing music. Or, they may not be interested in STEAM activities at all because they haven’t found an activity they like or maybe are even intimidated by these subjects. But here are six ways you can encourage your children to embrace math and science on National STEM/STEAM Day.
Discover Which of Your Kids’ Hobbies Are Related to STEAM
Observe what your children like spending their time doing to determine what STEAM activities they’re already taking part in and skills they’re already practicing. Do they like to paint and draw? Do they seem to pull apart every electronic toy they’ve ever had and try to figure out how it works? Are they glued to the computer? Do they like to help you cook and bake in the kitchen?
All of these activities are actually related to STEAM and utilize these skills. So, to honor National STEM/STEAM Day, you can talk to your children as they do these normal activities and show them how what they’re doing is similar to what scientists, engineers, programmers, doctors, and other STEM professionals do. For example, you might help your child connect their drawing skills to engineers who draft projects, or you might show your kids how video games are the work of creative coding professionals called developers.
Try a Science Kit Together
There are many hands-on kits that have your children building a unique invention or toy, creating a cool chemical solution, or putting together a puzzle. Consider buying one of these kits for each of your children or just one that the whole family can do together. In no time, they’ll be practicing skills like critical thinking, creativity, reading comprehension, following instructions and processes, testing hypotheses, and many more.
What’s more is that you can find a wide variety of kits suited for different age groups and interests. Break open geodes like a geologist, build your own volcano like a chemist, bring a robot to life like an engineer, or study samples with a microscope like a biologist.
Visit a Local Museum, Zoo, or Nature Preserve
Going to a museum is often an immersive and interactive experience that introduces many subjects within STEAM to children through hands-on activities and intriguing exhibits. Go to a natural history museum to learn more about animals, their habitats, and how both have evolved. Head to a history museum to hear stories of the past, see artifacts, and learn about historical discoveries in archeology, paleontology, and anthropology. Or, visit a science and technology museum to explore life sciences, earth science, astronomy and space science, and more.
You and your family can also learn about STEAM through a visit to a local zoo. These educational destinations introduce children to animal biology, veterinary science, ecology, and environmental science. Children can often see veterinarians treat animal patients, watch caretakers train and feed the animals, and become fascinated by the animals through interactive meet-and-greets and presentations. This is a great opportunity for the animal lovers in your family to ask questions about the job and become even more inspired to pursue a career in STEAM.
Or, you can get your family out in the great outdoors and explore a local nature park or preserve. These areas are dedicated to preserving habitats for native wildlife and plants to thrive. You can often check out the visitor’s center or educational center to see exhibits and learn about the local wildlife or go on a guided tour or hike of the area to spot animals and plants.
Tour a Museum From Home
If you’d rather stay at home but still have a high-quality educational experience, consider taking a virtual tour of a museum with the kids. In fact, many museums around the world have online virtual tours you can take to see the exhibits and learn more about these subjects.
For example, you can walk through the timeline of history through the British Museum’s virtual tour, explore space with a virtual tour of NASA facilities, or see a little bit of everything at the Smithsonian. You can also embrace the creative side of STEAM by touring art museums like the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre in Paris, and many others through Google Arts & Culture.
Create a Science-Themed Art Project
The “A” in STEAM stands for art, and it was included to embrace the need for creativity in many STEM careers. So include your art-loving kids in National STEM/STEAM Day with a science-themed arts and crafts project.
Consider creating a diorama of the planets in our solar system, a historical period they’re interested in or learning about in school, or a natural habitat. Bring natural science and art together by gathering leaves, sticks, and other natural items and using them as materials in an art piece. Even building an invention or putting together a model plane can combine artistic abilities, creative thinking, and STEAM. Your kids can also participate in the NASA Art Contest, too!
Research Different STEM/STEAM Careers
Build off of your conversations with your children about their favorite STEAM-related activities and spend some time together looking into STEAM careers that utilize similar skills. For example, you and your child who loves video games may watch videos about the developers who make them or read up on the qualifications they earn. Or, you might embrace your child’s interest in building structures by researching architect and engineering careers. This activity can help solidify your child’s interest in pursuing STEAM careers.At Crème de la Crème, we know how important STEAM is to your children’s education and personal development. That’s why our whole-child curriculum combines a number of STEAM subjects and activities, including coding and robotics, cooking, art, and music. Our schools also have a STEM lab that’s dedicated to promoting these skills through fun kid-friendly activities. Contact us to learn more about how our school can provide the STEAM learning environment your child needs.