This morning I woke up and began to help my sisters get ready for the day. Its summer now so they are spending most of their day scarfing down chips and watching tv. I began to think of ways I can make these next few months educational yet fun. They are 4 and 5 years old and it seems like an opportune time to keep their engagement and interest in learning. I began to research more and more on ways I can do this. The idea was to expose them to STEM related topics and get them interested, so thought up with a few ways to introduce these subjects.

I wanted to begin incorporating these activities because having done some research, I found that early STEM experiences predict later academic outcomes that exceed the norm. According to a study done by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and New America, “STEM Starts Early”, the advantage of teaching STEM to students is two-fold. Not only are important traits like perseverance and determination ingrained in children through the trial and error process inherent in science education, but also children are already naturally predisposed to curiosity and hands-on exploration. This study also found that 4 out of 5 k-2 classrooms do not spend time teaching science on a daily basis. If Science isn’t being taught adequately in school, then it is imperative that it be taught at home.

First step on my mission to incorporate STEM into my sisters’ minds are by taking them outside. Letting children explore is one of the most important parts of showing the fun in learning. Exploration gives way to creative thinking and desire to learn about new things. Taking them to parks and children’s museums not only helps with STEM but also on social skills which is also I big skill to have when reaching adulthood. There are many activities you can do at home to engage kids minds. For example, a Coca-Cola rocket, Newtonian pools, making gooey slime from scratch, etc. Activities like these show kids the basics behind how things are made. This newfound knowledge can stick with them long term and keep them always wanting to explore. The ability to break things down and see how it works sparks kids desire to learn. Playing with Legos or breaking apart a toy can inspire this. There are many ways to incorporate STEM into a kid’s everyday life. Letting them venture out and explore is important to their mental growth. Having conversations and asking questions develop critical thinking.

Kids are the future and we need to ensure they are ready to take on the challenges that face them. Taking on the challenge of teaching my sister STEM in a fun way is an important part of their young lives and I encourage you to do the same. Challenge yourself to be the spark in your kids life and show them the fun in STEM!

Daniela Zapata

About Daniela Zapata