The STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are seen as among the most vital fields for children to develop an interest and expertise in. Even more importantly, to do so at an early age. Interest in these fields helps produce a generation of problem-solvers and world-changers. A generation who will be ready to take on any challenge, all whilst working in a lucrative field. With all these benefits, it makes sense you’re eager to start engaging your child in STEM early in his or her life.
Engaging your child in STEM early in life
Here are four methods to help engage STEM learning as young as possible.
A Strong Model
One way young children learn the most: through examples. If you’re modeling an interest in STEM, then, your child will naturally mimic this interest. Whether you perform silly experiments that your children can understand and enjoy or you allow your child to offer age-appropriate help as you fix your own computer, you are helping to instill a love for STEM from an early age.
Engage the Whole Child
One great thing about the STEM fields is that they don’t simply engage the mind. Instead, these fields, properly practiced, engage all five senses. Utilizing these skills allows them to succeed. Therefore, it’s important to make use of various sensory toys to engage the senses of your children, allowing them to make use of their special skills, even at a young age. There are countless sensory toys for kids, ensuring you can find something for each age and ability.
The STEM fields demand critical thinking skills at all points of contact. After all, STEM has at its foundation the solving of challenging problems of various types. To help engage your young learner in this process, then, it’s important to give them the freedom to solve problems that they encounter on their own. Of course, you can always be there to provide appropriate assistance when a situation is beyond a child’s skill level. However, allowing them to do tasks such as resolving conflicts with their siblings, fixing broken toys, or finding the answer to a challenging question will help them develop the imagination and perseverance that are required to excel in these fields.
Spark Their Wonder
Another beautiful aspect of STEM fields is that they often deal with truly wondrous things. Astounding technological advances, breakthrough scientific discoveries, and a host of other “ordinary miracles” are all part and parcel of a career in a STEM field. To help spark a passion for the wondrous, then, it’s important to expose your child to wonderful things as early as possible. The best way to do this, by far, is to have your child in nature as often as possible. Nature is full of wonder, if only you’re willing to take the time to notice it. If you do, and teach your child to do the same, they’ll engage in STEM.
In some cases, parents push their children incredibly hard toward a STEM field so they can become the next great scientist in much the same way some parents push their children to become the next great athlete or entertainer. Unfortunately, pushing your children faster and harder than they’re ready for will typically lead to burnout and an aversion to the STEM fields instead of a love for these areas. Rather than pushing your child, follow the tips above, and before you know it, you’ll realize that your child is gravitating toward these fields and loving every second of it.
Author bio: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. Raised in a big family, voting on things is normal. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.