Seven simple things you can do to encourage your kids in STEM
1. Go ahead, get dirty
Next time your little ones are shaking a bottle of pop to see what happens…let them! Okay, maybe take them outside. But you get the gist: curiosity begets curiosity. So in the name of science, let your kids get a little dirty when they play.
2. Play with their toys
There are tons of STEM toys that encourage kids to be curious about the world around them. But kids love to have someone to play with, so choose toys that sound like fun to you, too. If you buy a microscope but it doesn't turn your crank, chances are it'll be gathering dust in the corner in no time. Find cool STEM toys.
3. Send 'em to camp
There's a lot of competition to get a spot in some coveted summer camps, but did you know that there are over 100 organizations in Canada that offer day programs, summer camps, robotics clubs and university mini-courses in STEM? Two great places to get started? Actua and Camps.ca
4. Have the (ahem) talk
The science talk, that is. With science classes being optional in some high schools, talk to your children about how choosing a science class now can open up possibilities later.
5. Share the housework
Turning everyday tasks and chores such as cleaning, cooking and gardening into a scientific learning experience can have a big impact! Baking is chemistry (why does a cake rise when baked?), and growing a tomato is biology and botany in action! Spending time explaining how mixing certain ingredients or how cleaners work around the house can ignite your child's curiosity—and you get an enthusiastic helper!
6. Ask why
We all know that kids love to ask why. And it can drive some people crazy. But think about it…why is the sun yellow? It's a pretty interesting question, and finding the answer together can be a great journey. Maybe you can come up with a few challenging questions of your own that you can solve together!
7. Blow their minds
Lots of ordinary things that we see and do every day are connected to science, technology, engineering and math. So blow your kids' minds. Here are 10 great conversation starters to get the ball rolling:
- #10: You really can invent anything you want. Scientists in the U.K. have used pee to charge a mobile phone!
Source: BBC News
- #9: Your kids probably recognize smells all the time—good smells, bad smells and weird smells! How many smells do you think the human nose can detect? The answer might surprise you. Here's a hint: it's more than 1,000—a lot more!
Source: National Geographic
- #8: What's smaller than you but has more bones? A baby! While mom and dad have 206 bones, babies start out with about 300 bones and cartilage. So where do all those extra bones go?
Source: How Stuff Works
- #7: When you see a sunset, you're actually looking into the past. Light from the sun takes 8.3 minutes to travel to Earth, so even though you're just seeing the sun slip below the horizon now, the sunset actually happened 8 minutes ago.
- #6: About 63 light years away, there is a planet with a temperature of over 1000 degrees Celsius, and it rains glass, sideways, in howling 7000 km/h winds. Think about this the next time it rains.
Source: Hubble Space Telescope
- #5: Ever had a dinosaur burger for dinner? No? Think again. Chickens are technically dinosaurs.
- #4: Right now, Earth is spinning at 1000 miles per hour! So how come we're not dizzy all the time? Because we're all spinning at the same speed. What would happen if we all decided to spin in the opposite direction?
Source: NASA SpacePlace
- #3: Upset tummy? It's understandable. Stomach acid is strong enough to dissolve metal. In fact, your stomach lining has to completely replace itself every 4 days!
Source: FEEL guide
- #2: You might be XX years old, but some parts of your body aren't. Your eyes are as old as you are, but your taste buds? They're only about 10 days old! Still, they work together to make your cake taste as good as it looks! How old do you think your skin is?
Source: Daily Mail Online
- #1: Those clouds might look light and fluffy, but the average cumulus cloud weighs about 1.1 million pounds. That's like a herd of 100 elephants! In the sky!
Source: The USGS Water Science School