STEM/STEAM Learning for Young Children

STEM/STEAM Learning for Young Children

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STEM/STEAM Learning for Young ChildrenThough Education is an important part of a child’s growth and development and families strive every day to ensure they are helping promote learning for their children, some families may not be as familiar with a specific focus of education referred to as STEM or STEAM learning.

What is STEM/STEAM Learning?

Some families may be more familiar with the term STEM learning. STEM is an acronym for learning about four specific areas of curriculum – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These four disciplines are integrated in our everyday lives and many important jobs. STEM learning usually incorporates activities that encourage knowledge of everyday problem solving and critical thinking. Recent initiatives however have been made to change STEM to STEAM to include the art and design discipline as well to promote the creative aspect of these disciplines as well.

Why is STEM/STEAM Leaning Important?

STEM/STEAM learning is very important because these five disciplines are used in everyday activities. They promote problem solving, and creative and analytical thinking. Many of the jobs that effect our economy include STEAM subjects. Accounting, architecture, medical research, and environmental studies all involve science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations have grown in the last ten years three times faster than non-STEM occupations and STEAM occupations are expected to grow by 10% from now until 2020. Non-STEAM occupations only grow at a national average of 5-8%.

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.

What Activities Promote STEAM Learning?

Activities that focus the STEAM disciplines help children learn through trial and error by experimenting and problem solving. Families do not need to wait to introduce a child to STEAM learning. 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. Families can also try different activities at home that focus on these five disciplines.

  • Science – Science does not need to be taught through a textbook or through the lab work that some families may remember participating in school. There are so many fun, creative activities that can be done right at home to engage your child in learning more about this discipline.

 Activities can include:

  1. Grow plants from seeds in a jar
  2. Make magnetic slime
  3. Create your child’s name out of crystals
  • Technology – Technology is all around us and is rapidly progressing each day. These STEAM activities not only promote a STEAM discipline, but also help prepare a child for their future and the types of skills they will need in their everyday lives.

 Activities can include:

  1. Learn about space using the NASA data from their website
  2. Programs or games that help develop typing skills
  3. Practice reading, writing or math skills through a fun, educational app
  • Engineering – Many children are already taking part in fun engineering activities on a daily because children love to build and create. Here are some great engineering activity ideas outside of the typical building activities.

 Activities can include:

  1. Design and create straw bridges
  2. Create a conveyor belt
  3. Design a structure out of cups, sticks, and blocks and test balance
  • Art and Design – The newest discipline that has been added to this specific focus of education calls for children to not only be analytical but creative as well during the process.

 Activities can include:

  1. Research what happens when mixing watercolors and oils
  2. Determine how plants absorb water with food coloring
  3. Dip dye craft sticks to build structures with
  • Mathematics – Your child will use math in their everyday lives, and just like technology it is important that families still encourage activities that promote learning about mathematics so children have the proper tools and knowledge they need in life.

 Activities can include:

  1. Practice different ways to add numbers and come to the same answer
  2. Learn about odd numbers and even numbers
  3. Learn about different coins and bills and how to add them

Families should always remember that these disciplines go hand in hand and they will find that activities that promote STEM and STEAM learning will involve more than one focus of learning. For families who are interested in learning about more activity ideas that promote STEM/STEAM learning, follow us on Pinterest!

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