From the moment we discovered we were pregnant, we promised to do everything possible to ensure the well-being and over-all health of that life growing inside the womb. I did everything from making sure to eat healthy, keep hydrated, keep active, and get enough sleep, to reading parenting books and books on pregnancy and what to expect. Once baby was born, the focus was on health and development.
Now that baby is six years old (six going on sixteen, in her mind!), the focus is still on health, well-being, happiness and development. Now that she is in school, I see how important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning is for children.
Why is STEM learning important for children?
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and STEM education are vital to our future. STEM is everywhere and it shapes our everyday experiences.
Have you ever thought of how often we experience STEM in our lives?
Science is our natural world. We teach Little One that it’s everything from the sun, moon and stars, lands and oceans, to the weather, natural disasters, the diversity of nature, animals, plants and food. It’s also the fuel that heats our homes and powers transportation. She sees this in daily practices on the farm. Little One witnesses science at work as it intersects with our life on the farm. Science is everywhere!
Technology is a vital part of our everyday as well. Technology is ever changing and has made a huge impact in how we live and work. In our generation, technology is computers and smartphones, and so much more! Many children in this generation probably wouldn’t have thought of technology in terms of the television, radio, microscopes, telegraph, telescopes, the compass, the telephone, the first car or the first light bulb! Little One sees how technology helps us on our farm with the use of our tractors, combine, tools, etc.
Engineering designs buildings, roads, and bridges, but it also tackles today’s challenges of transportation, global warming and environment-friendly machines, appliances and systems. We only have to look around to see what improvements to our lives and our homes have been engineered in the last decade alone. For our little farm girl, she sees engineering in terms of water management because our fields are tile drained. Little One also sees how important engineering is for building our chicken coop. She knows that a strong base needs to be made and that proper steps to ensure the stability of the structure need to be made so that the building will not collapse.
Mathematics – Math is something that stresses out Little One for some reason. I have no idea why. We encourage her when it comes to learning basic problem solving and teach her how to use mathematics in her everyday life. We tell her that mathematics is used at the grocery store, the bank, saving her money in her piggy bank, and in planning the family budget. Every STEM field depends on mathematics. STEM is important, because it is such an important part of every aspect of our lives.
How do we encourage STEM learning?
With the end of school on the horizon, many parents are thinking of ways to enrich their children’s lives in the off-hours. Energizer® has partnered with Walmart to provide a variety of activities and worksheets online for parents to encourage this type of learning.
Though I work with Little One every day when she gets home from school and practice her math, reading and writing with her, she still struggles a bit. This is probably due to her being a) still very young and b) born a preemie. There are numerous challenges in learning that some preemies may face. Because I know she faces some challenges with focusing on activities, I try to make things as interesting as I can.
I bring science and technology to the home through activities like science experiments. We use the help of her iPad or my laptop so she can work on some educational activities. Little One also watches educational shows that involve science, nature, etc.
You may not have thought of this, but the TV program, Peep and the Big Wide World is great for nurturing STEM development at a young age. Peep, a newly-hatched chick explores his world with his friends and finds science and fascination everywhere he looks. Each episode highlights specific science concepts. This is a great way for children to explore those concepts.
Little One has been watching Peep and the Big Wide World since she was three or four years old. At first, I thought Peep was great for the entertainment aspect, but as I watched the episodes with Little One, it became apparent just how valuable this kids’ TV program is for STEM learning.
Another thing we do is build things or use battery operated games and devices. We’re quite partial to using Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ batteries.
Energizer and Walmart
Actua, a national Canadian charity, has shared with Energizer® some hands-on STEM activities that children can do with their parents. Actua’s shared hands-on STEM activities are featured by Energizer® on its microsite.
Some interesting info:
Actua is a registered charity with a twenty-year track record of success in providing hands-on, interactive education enrichment experiences in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) to Canadian youth aged 6 to 16 years.
Energizer® is a large proponent of STEM – using these skills resulted in the new Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ battery, the world’s first battery made with recycled batteries.
You can visit the STEM activity hub at walmart.ca/energizer/en to download and print the worksheets to help encourage STEM learning with your children!
Parents, how do you encourage STEM learning?
Disclosure – This is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.