Though education is an important part of a child’s growth and development, some families may not be familiar with a specific focus of education referred to as STEAM learning. Families may be more familiar with the term STEM learning which is an acronym for learning about four specific areas of curriculum – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Recent initiatives have changed STEM to STEAM to include art and design, as well as to promote the creative aspect of these disciplines.
STEAM learning is important because each of the five disciplines are integrated in our everyday lives and many important jobs. STEAM learning incorporates activities that encourage knowledge of everyday problem solving and critical thinking. Many of the jobs that effect our economy include STEAM subjects such as accounting, architecture, medical research, and environmental studies. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations have grown at a significantly faster rate than non-STEM occupations in the last ten years and STEM occupations are expected to grow 8.9% by 2024, where non-STEM occupations are expected to only grow 6.4%.
For this reason, among others, it is never too early to begin introducing STEAM learning to your child. Each discipline of STEAM helps your child grow and navigate through everyday challenges. Introducing STEAM learning can begin simply by pointing out why and how things in our everyday lives work. For example, when something falls to the ground, explain to your child that the object fell due to gravity. In each classroom at Educational Playcare, families will see that we encourage STEAM activities in our learning centers, where children are free to explore their world, discover new skills, and test out new ideas. It is so important to us that students feel inspired to learn and grow, that we included “Inspiration” as one of our Core Values.
Here are some activities that families can try at home to support each STEAM discipline. You can find instructions for these activities by searching for the project name online.
- Creating a walking rainbow
- Growing plants from seeds in a jar
- Making magnetic slime
- Creating your child’s name out of crystals
- Learning about space using the information on NASA’s website
- Using programs or playing games that help develop typing skills
- Practicing reading, writing, or math skills through a fun and educational app
- Testing different household objects to see if you can use them in different ways than their original purpose
- Designing and creating straw bridges
- Creating a snack pulley
- Designing a structure out of cups, sticks, and blocks and testing its balance
- Creating a maze for your child’s toys
- Art and Design
- Painting with a pendulum
- Researching what happens when mixing watercolors and oils
- Observing how plants absorb water with food coloring
- Dipping craft sticks into different colors of paint and building structures with them
- Counting and sorting toys and other items
- Practicing adding numbers together in different orders and observe the consistent answer
- Learning about odd and even numbers
- Learning about different coins and bills and how to add them together
Families should keep in mind that these subjects go hand in hand with each other so many activities incorporate several disciplines and encourage multiple types of learning.