You hear the term thrown out in the news, articles, and books for children, but what do STEM objectives mean? How do you ensure your children are prepared for our highly competitive academic world? Let’s break down what STEM means, the objectives, and how we can help our children reach them at home, at school, and through active play.
What Does STEM Mean?
The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Those are heavy words when looking at toddlers and preschoolers but fear not! Don’t let your math phobias prevent you from allowing your child to get a head start on these essential critical thinking skills.
Why are STEM Skills Important?
With the rise in popularity of the term “STEM,” you may think that it only matters if your child is destined to go into a world of math, science, or technology. So why are people discussing STEM for toddlers and STEM for preschool? First, let’s look at what skills can be obtained through STEM skill strengthening education:
- Critical thinking
- Decision making
- Acceptance of failure
These skills can be transferred across many curriculums and are valuable to your child as they grow and develop. They are also the basis for innovation, which is the foundation for our future society’s development.
How Can We Engage STEM for Toddlers?
You’re thinking, “STEM for toddlers? I can barely get my toddler to wash their hands!” But yes! Plenty of activities engage STEM for toddlers and harness their natural curiosity and energy. Let’s look at the basic tenets of STEM and how they relate to toddlers.
STEM for Toddlers: A Breakdown
Science – What is science but exploring cause and effect? Take ordinary objects, like baking powder and vinegar (throw in some food coloring for bright fun!), and combine them to see what happens. Discover textures, tastes, and smells.
Technology – When it comes to tech in STEM for toddlers, it’s all about the tools, which is a dream come true for them. So, take out the essential tools toddlers love: magnifying glasses, glue, large screws, paper bags, and more, and create something new!
Engineering – Engineering is exploring how things work together and what is the best material for each task. Ask your toddler to try stacking blocks and then try stacking something soft, like their stuffed animals. Which works best?
Math – STEM for toddlers can go as deep as you want when you venture into the math category. We all know counting games, but you can also weigh and measure items. Start exploring the concepts of physics, motion, and gravity with your toddler. For example, when you drop a feather and a rock, which falls faster? Why?
How Can We Engage STEM for Preschool?
When we look at preschoolers, we have the perfect audience for STEM experiments. Their minds are ripe with curiosity and conditioned to explore and solve problems. With a bit of artful design, we can nestle STEM for preschool easily into our current curriculums. STEM for preschool learning can and will support children’s early math development and other vital skills.
An example of a perfect STEM for preschool activity could be “How Does the Wind Move Different Objects?” By testing different items outside in the wind, the preschoolers can guess (theorize) how different weighted items might move in the wind. Then, inside, they can test different items’ movements with their breath.
Deepening the STEM for Preschool study, the next week, the students can design cars that can travel with the wind, designing cars from toilet paper rolls, scrap paper, plastic bowls, and paper plates. See how easily children will meet all the requirements of STEM? Children naturally want to learn and stretch their mental muscles.
STEM for toddlers and STEM for preschool is something that can easily be added into their everyday curriculum and even their natural play! At The Breakie Bunch Learning Center, we are committed to making sure your children are on the right path, helping to expose them to the tools they need to guarantee success in their future. It helps to keep all our futures bright!