Five Things Parents Can Do to Help Their Young Child Develop STEM skills
How early is too early to introduce STEM concepts to your young child? I would say you can start as soon as two. Parents of young kids can easily provide their children with opportunities to learn and experience STEM concepts, and it’s not as hard as you think. In this article, we will discuss five things parents can do to help their young child develop STEM skills.
Encourage children to communicate effectively
Children need to know how to communicate effectively and as a parent, you can extend this skill easily by asking your child to “grab two eggs for the cake we’re about to make,” or by asking them “how many, garbage bags do we have left?” Simple questions like this can significantly increase your child’s ability to communicate.
Board games are also useful for helping your child to understand one to one communication. This is because to be competitive at board games you must be able to communicate with the people that you are playing with. If not, moves and intentions can be misread, which can lead to all sorts of argument and disagreements. By playing board games, children learn to say what they mean and mean what they say.
Encourage children to develop spatial awareness
Ask your child to reflect on the space that they are in right now. If you are in a zoo, provide them with a map of the zoo and ask them to figure where they are relative to the Tigers and Bears. When driving to a soccer game require them to provide you with directions on how to get there.
Or have them to remember the landmarks on the way to somewhere that you regularly visit like the nearest shopping center. Can your child recognize their own house from a picture that was taken from a plane or can they describe where their bedroom is relative to your bedroom? As you grow older, you slowly began to see how vital spacing and spatial awareness are.
Encourage children to observe their environment
Ask your child to notice things then their environment such as what color are the leaves on the trees or are their new buds on the trees or how do things move with the wind. Your children are way more observant than you mainly because you’re worried about work and all the other things that you need to do as an adult. Talk to your kids about their observations and yours as well. Also, use the language and the lexicon that is usually associated with observation; such as observe, examine, and analyze.
The process of observation is a fundamental scientific element, as we create hypotheses and collect data using observations. With a little practice, your children will be able to move from observing basic features to more nuanced scientific features.
Encourage children to describe things they see and do
Ask your children to explain the features of the things that they do and see. When your child sees a butterfly, you should ask them to describe it in terms of its shape, size, and colors.
Also when your child is creating or building something, ask them to describe what they are doing and the steps that they are following to get to their desired result. You can restate what they tell you in your own words, which will increase their vocabulary and confidence in using nuanced language.
Ask ‘what’ rather than ‘why’ questions
When you ask your child questions, make sure they center on what your child can see or do, instead of “why” questions. This will allow your child to answer questions with confidence and have success. What is happening to the rice is way more natural for them to respond to than why does the rice pump when we cook it.
With the right guidance, your child can begin to understand the complicated things around them. Also, early experiences with STEM can set your child up for future learning and STEM education. You want your child to be confident and involved in the learning process. You want them to believe that they can be successful with STEM learning as well as understand and speak the language that is used in STEM.
To get your child started with STEM learning, you don’t need to buy fancy toys or science kits. Also, you don’t have to possess a degree in STEM education to teach your child STEM concepts or provide them with STEM infused learning experiences. Waiting for your child to begin kindergarten is way too late for them to start learning about science. As a parent, you can help your child become a confident and capable STEM learner at a very young age.