In a world that is dominated by science and technology, there is great value in exposing children to STEM at a young age. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are all academic disciplines whose skills can lead to quite rewarding careers. In this blog, we’ll break down the ways that you can encourage children of all ages to find interest in STEM learning. Even if a child does not pursue STEM-related careers in their future, exposure to STEM skills helps to strengthen their curiosity, creativity, problem-solving abilities and analytical thinking skills, which are important for any career!
Start introducing STEM concepts with fun games, coloring sheets, and books. Little ones need engaging activities to stay interested, which is why reading interactive books and doing age-appropriate science experiments with your child, can be a great way to introduce them to STEM subjects. At this age, kids are also heavily observing their care-givers, which is why it's important to demonstrate your own interest in STEM-related activities, as this will spark your child's interest too. Monkey-see, monkey-do.
Encourage problem-solving by engaging your child in everyday STEM-related activities. For instance, have them participate in cooking, shopping for food, building Legos, exploring nature, and so on, to help them learn and grow. If their school hosts a science fair, help them with their project and get them excited about their experiment. This is the time to give them plenty of opportunities to explore the world of STEM and encourage their natural passions and interests.
This age group can be tricky, so be careful of being too pushy, as this can deter your child from exploring their own potential. With that said, this is a great time to entertain kids with engineering, as the hands-on physical approach of figuring out how things work can be quite alluring. Most children won’t get introduced to engineering until High School when their interest in STEM may dissipate, which is why early exposure to engineering can help spark their curiosity before it's "too late."
High school is a time when kids start to really form their identities. Listen to your child’s passions and encourage them to pursue their interests. If they're naturally interested or curious about the world of STEM, encourage them to take advanced STEM courses at school, or propose the idea of trying a STEM-related elective class or extracurricular. Support them in finding their own genius through helping them find opportunities to exercise their STEM skills. Most importantly, high schoolers need encouragement from their caregivers. They need someone to believe in them, so that they can believe in their own potential too.
Keep The Curiosity Going
No matter how old your child is, you can spark their curiosity in STEM learning through leading by example and actively finding ways to help them learn and grow. Cheer them on when they're problem-solving, being creative, or curious, but above all else; let them discover their own strengths, passions, and interests without force or pressure.