Participating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities from a young age offers a range of advantages for children. Beyond learning about underlying concepts, kids who take part in STEM activities boost their confidence, hone their critical thinking, and so much more.
Why Should Your Child Learn STEM Activities?
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With STEM activities, kids can learn about a whole lot more than just concepts in science and mathematics, as STEM education translates to a focus on hands-on learning that has real-world applications. Age-appropriate STEM activities can help children hone a variety of skills, including their creativity, 21st-century skills, and other abilities they’ll take with them throughout their lives. Skills STEM activities develop include:
- Critical thinking.
- Decision making.
- Media and technology literacy.
- Problem solving.
- Social skills.
- Ability to accept failure.
As you can see, these go well beyond concepts you might immediately associate with learning math or science. No matter their future career path, skills learned through STEM activities from a young age help children learn how to be innovative.
So, why is STEM education so suited to little ones? By nature, kids are inquisitive and look for answers as they try to figure out the world they live in. As such, STEM activities tap into that curiosity and encourage growth. Because STEM activities are typically open ended, they allow kids to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills because they’re asking questions, experimenting, and thinking about potential outcomes as they participate.
Some STEM activities can even go beyond the traditional four STEM disciplines to encompass science, technology, engineering, art, and math — otherwise known as STEAM. The current twist on STEM activities balances education and play to keep young minds engaged and learning.
What Are the Advantages of Having Your Child Learn From STEM Activities?
All STEM (and STEAM) activities offer a wealth of benefits for your child, especially when they start participating in these activities from a young age. Let’s dive deeper into some of the skills your child will learn through STEM activities.
Self-Esteem and Confidence
With their hands-on approach, STEM activities make learning not just fun and engaging but also help kids feel more confident in themselves and what they can do. As such, STEM activities often help children learn how to use tools to achieve various tasks. Young children start learning how to accomplish tasks independently as they interact with simple tools such as scissors or spoons. Along the way, they improve their motor skills, gain experience with assessing situations and learning when to ask for help, and build their confidence and self-esteem.
The interactive method of STEM activities takes learning beyond memorizing details and facts. Instead, this approach helps children learn how to process information. Experiments and projects boost a child’s ability to observe, find patterns, predict outcomes, and analyze results — all essential to critical thinking and problem solving.
Toddlers and preschool-age kids learn new words and phrases naturally when they play. With STEM activities, they can build vocabulary by exploring new concepts, tools, and materials, developing communication skills in a nurturing setting. With an enriched vocabulary, kids can better express their emotions and thoughts, and they feel more comfortable talking with their peers.
Maybe you don’t think of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists as creative people like you would artists and musicians. However, they all have to use creative thinking to find innovative solutions. Activities that let kids be creative and use their imagination help with all aspects of their development, as they see things from new perspectives and think outside the box.
Even babies use their five basic senses to learn about the world around them. During STEM activities, youngsters are encouraged to use sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste to observe, explore, and learn about their environment. Fun, engaging activities introduce kids to new textures, smells, noises, and situations, allowing them to connect positively to new sensory information.
Lifelong Love of Learning
While this isn’t a specific skill, it’s essential to continued success in and beyond the classroom. Hands-on activities and projects get young learners excited about developing new skills, helping them build a positive relationship with learning early on. A healthy outlook on learning can help children as they transition to higher levels of education and inspire them to participate in activities they might not have otherwise tried.
What Are Some Open-Ended Activities for Kids?
The reason why STEM activities are so beneficial to kids is their hands-on, open-ended nature. These exploratory activities get kids asking their own questions while they think of how they can find out the answers. A curriculum that includes open-ended STEM activities helps kids follow their interests, take charge of their education, and build confidence in their abilities.
Looking for STEM activities to encourage your child’s problem-solving skills, confidence, and curiosity? Here are a few easy activities that get youngsters experimenting and thinking:
- Crafting shapes and structures: Whether it’s with toothpicks, clay, or paper, kids can play with making shapes. This age-appropriate activity explores engineering basics.
- Thinking about shadows: Take a walk outside when it’s sunny, and ask your child to describe their shadow using adjectives or directions such as short or tall and to the left or right. Encourage them to think about how their shadow might change throughout the day, then go outside periodically to test their guesses.
- Looking for magnetic items: Let your child take a few guesses about what household objects might be magnetic. Then, take a magnet and move around the house to see what you discover together.
No matter what specific STEM activities your child participates in, the most important thing is that STEM gives them the freedom to explore. STEM can encourage a spirit of curiosity that they can dive deeper into through basic computer coding, checking out insects in the soil, and so much more.
How Can Crème de la Crème Give Your Child STEM Skills?
Here at Crème de la Crème, we let kids enjoy the power of STEM activities by including them in our unique curriculum. Our classroom rotation introduces your child to all the fundamental concepts of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics in the STEAM Lab enrichment classroom. Your preschooler will explore robotics, learn to code, build and design models, and participate in scientific experiments. Above all, your child will get to participate in hands-on activities, boosting their natural curiosity and enthusiasm while building their confidence.
Ready to have your child participate in STEM activities? Contact us to schedule a tour of your local Crème de la Crème learning center today.