5 Ways to Start Doing STEM Activities with Elementary Kids
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How to Begin Incorporating STEM Activities
So you want to start doing STEM activities with your kids, but you are already SUPER BUSY? How can you begin incorporating STEM activities into your family’s schedule without reinventing the wheel?? I’m going to give you 5 things you can do to get your kids started doing STEM activities.
Tip# 1: Buy Something that Does Not Have a Hard Learning Curve
First, I would suggest getting a STEM activity that does not have a hard learning curve that will intrigue your kids. My kids have REALLY enjoyed playing with the Snap Circuits Jr. set. There are 100 different projects that can be built with the set. Even though it says it’s for ages 8-108, my son, who had just turned 5 when I bought him the kit, was able to use it as well and do some of the beginning projects with some guidance. For kids who are at least 8, it is not hard to learn how to begin working with the Snap circuits.
The nice thing about the instruction book is that it starts with simple designs. This helps to give the child confidence. I purchased the kit from Amazon, and it was relatively inexpensive. Check it out on Amazon. It has over 5,000 reviews and is rated 5 stars!
Tip # 2: Get a STEM book
A good beginning step if you want to incorporate STEM activities into your homeschooling is by referencing a book with STEM activities. EVERY activity you do does not have to be a reinvention of the wheel. A great way to start your STEM journey with your child is to find a book with many ideas already in it. At our local library I found the book “The Everything Stem Handbook.”
The first activity we did from this book was to make a Geometry Monster. I cut out different geometric shapes, and I talked to the children about the shapes. Then Annaliese and Andre made Geometry Monsters using the shapes. I think that this is a good way to talk about shapes and to let your kids do a simple hands-on activity. Though I would suggest drawing and pre-cutting the shapes perhaps the night before you do the activity as it took me a while to draw out the shapes since I wasn’t just working with simple shapes such as squares and triangles but also with shapes such as trapezoids and parallelograms. An even better idea is probably to use simple software such as Paint to draw your shapes and then to print them out and cut them.
Tip Number 3: Buy Something They Can Play with After Building It
I like that she was able to play with it after building it.
Tip # 4: Find a Youtube Channel that will Inspire and Give you Lots of Ideas
The Design Squad Youtube channel is amazing! It is a MUST watch for anyone who wants to get their kids interested in engineering. After googling, I came across the channel. Some of the episodes my kids like the best so far are a birthday episode where a magnetic pinata is built and the episode where a bubble hat is made.
One of the things that sticks out to me as super important from watching this channel is the idea that BEFORE you start building something, first define a problem. I like that this channel helps guide the kids on the process of how to start THINKING like an engineer while being entertaining!
This channel does a good job at encouraging kids to be confident about starting the design process even if everything is not perfect. It shows kids going through the process of building prototypes and twerking the prototypes.
Tip # 5: Buy an Introductory Science Kit
For Christmas, I bought my daughter My First Mind Blowing Science Kit. The kids were super excited the day I said we would use the kit for the first time. The first day we used the kit, we worked on the first two activities. The first activity involved citric acid, baking soda and water. The second activity used water, citric acid, baking soda, and red cabbage powder. The outcome of the experiments were relatively simple, but the kids were amazed (My oldest two kids are ages 9 and 5.) They continued to play with the liquids they created for a long time after the experiment was “over.”
We ended up watching a youtube video later that evening to teach the kids about acids and bases. So if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive introductory science kit for young children, give this kit a try. My sons keeps asking me over and over to use this kit again.
So there you go. You have 5 things you can do to start incorporating STEM activities. Have LOADS of fun learning and playing with your kids!
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