“One of the things that I’ve been focused on as President is how we create an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology, engineering, and math… We need to make this a priority to train an army of new teachers in these subject areas, and to make sure that all of us as a country are lifting up these subjects for the respect that they deserve.” – President Barack Obama, Third Annual White House Science Fair, April 2013.
If you have a child in grade school, you’ve probably heard of STEM and the importance of these subjects. The President continues to reiterate this importance throughout various initiatives. Many teachers are now making lesson plans that convey STEM skills to new generations of students.
But what about kids who haven’t yet entered elementary school?
Experts agree it’s never too early to start teaching kids about STEM. In fact, preschoolers are prime for learning these subjects due to their never-ending curiosity. If you’re a parent to a child between two and four years old, there’s no better time to initiate a conversation that teaches STEM at their level.
Before you start, remember that preschoolers learn best through play. They crave hands-on, age-appropriate activities that allow them to be creative. Let them get messy. Let them ask questions. Let them succeed and fail.
Supervise projects and enjoy some quality bonding time. When you see the light bulb of knowledge turn on in your child’s head, you’ll smile as much as your little scientist will. Here are a few activities to help your preschooler learn STEM:
Walk It Out
Tap into children’s innate curiosity by taking them out in nature. Simply walk down a park path and your little adventurer will immediately explore the surroundings. Then let the setting lead the conversation about science, biology and more. A beautiful bloom can inspire a conversation about bees and honey. A green leaf begs for a chat about photosynthesis. A mushroom teaches about decay. Remember to encourage exploration and don’t worry if they get a little dirty — it’s all part of the fun.
Whip It Up
The next opportunity to teach preschoolers STEM is right in your own kitchen. Kids are enthusiastic bakers and love to help whip up something tasty. Choose a recipe and have your little mix master help measure and combine ingredients. Why does dough rise? The biology of bread, of course. Why do chopped apples turn brown? The oxygen in the air is reacting with the plant tissue. Look and you’ll see STEM is everywhere in the kitchen.
Build It Big
If you’re looking for preschool engineering activities your child will adore, look no further than that tub of blocks. Build a tower, house or bridge and explain how balance and proportion affect a structure. Kids can use LEGO® Bricks to create cars, trucks and robots with basic moving parts. Help them design their own creation and watch their imagination take flight. Then sign them up for a Bricks 4 Kidz class. Programs start for preschool kids as young as 3!