One of the best ways parents can help their children cultivate an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects is to help them experience these topics outside a school setting. This type of informal learning can be guided by what children are naturally interested in and can lead them to develop new interests through activities your family can enjoy together.
Read below for a few activities you can try out today!
Take a STEM Nature Hike
Take advantage of pleasant weather by taking your child on a hike at a local park or a walk around your neighborhood. On your walk, be on the lookout for different types of rocks or feathers you can collect and analyze when you get home. Bring a notebook and pen along with you so your family can record observations about the environment. Are any flowers in bloom? Do the trees have leaves on them? Are there any animals or birds? All of these questions have the potential to lead to additional discussions about the science behind aspects of nature. If your child develops a particular curiosity in something they see on your hike, help foster and encourage that interest.
Try a Virtual Museum Visit
Even when museums are closed, some offer virtual tours you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. We invite your family to explore free online exhibits from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Museum, where you can learn about hundreds of world-changing Hall of Famers and discover the power of intellectual property. Once your family has virtually visited the NIHF Museum, you might also take an at-home tour of the National Museum of Natural History, Oxford University’s History of Science Museum and the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Enjoy STEM Books and TV Shows
The next time your child needs to unwind, check out a few of our favorite STEM-related books and TV shows for a fun way to explore fascinating STEM concepts and meet innovative role models together.
“Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons” by Arlyne Simon
This uplifting story follows young Abby’s innovative journey, showing how inventors must follow their curiosity, be persistent to overcome challenges and think creatively to develop solutions. Included in this book is an activity page that children are sure to enjoy.
“What Color is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
Written by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, this enlightening story follows a young pair of twins as they discover the stories of inventors whose ideas and solutions have changed the world.
“Gary and the Great Inventors: It's Laundry Day!” by Akura Marshall
Children will enjoy following young Gary as he learns the amazing story of NIHF Inductee Thomas Jennings. The first Black man to be granted a U.S. patent, Jennings became an influential leader in the abolitionist and civil rights movements.
For more great STEM book selections, we invite you to check out our blog.
STEM TV Shows
“Emily's Wonder Lab”
With each episode of “Emily’s Wonder Lab,” children learn all about action-packed STEM activities and at-home experiments that the whole family can enjoy. From making rainbow-colored toothpaste to glow-in-the-dark paint, children are sure to find something that gets them curious and excited to explore the world around them.
Especially great for kids who love nature, in each episode of this show, brothers Chris and Martin Kratt introduce viewers to amazing creatures. While imagining what it would be like to share each animal’s unique “creature powers,” they take children on thrilling, educational wildlife adventures.
Developed by The Jim Henson Company, this preschool series features an entertaining squad of characters (whom parents may recognize from the series “Fraggle Rock”) who call themselves the Pod Squad. Together, they design, create and innovate, showing kids that through teamwork and persistence, no problem is too big to solve.
To find more STEM-related shows you might enjoy, please visit our blog.
Keep Exploring STEM Together
For more ideas about how to bring STEM learning home for the whole family, we encourage you to stay tuned to our blog.