Heart for Home School has just completed our 2nd Annual STEM Boot Camp for Middle School students! We had a lot of fun-filled hands-on activities. Our goal was to introduce the idea of STEM-related careers and encourage parents to help keep their young students motivated throughout the year by continuing with STEM-based learning.
I thought the perfect finish to our ten-week camp is an article written by a guest blogger. Her name is Shenek Alston, and she is a native of SC, but now resides in NC with her husband and her three children, and is soon expecting a fourth child.
Enjoy this article, chock full of encouragement, ideas, and tips.
Is your child engaged with some type of electronic device for hours a day or at least more than you think they should? Would you like to learn a few tips to help you encourage your child to spend less time on their device while also integrating STEM activities? Keep reading to find out the five different things you can do with your children offline.
Here are 5 STEM activities you and your children can do:
Compete in a contest where they have to invent their own toys. You can supply each child with a box of supplies and let their imaginations run wild. The great thing about this idea is that they can play with the toy later. To make a toy with a moving part, check out a video posted by those at http://www.teachengineering.com.
Challenge your children to make different flavored honey. My kids enjoy going to a local Farmer’s Market to purchase flavored honey sticks. Have your kids research the health benefits of honey, and then let them try their hands at flavoring the honey in different ways. Remember, take a trip to the library to have your children do research instead of looking for information online.
Play chess with your child. If they don’t know how to play chess, first teach them the game. Playing chess involves problem-solving and developing strategies.
Have your children design and make their own kites. Experiment with different shaped kites and kites made out of different materials. Get some of their friends involved and afterward take the group to a park to fly their kites.
Fill a container with jelly beans or some type of candy. Have your child try to guess how many jellybeans are in the container. You can also use this as a time to talk about volume and to introduce them to statistics.
Try to plan a time at least once a week to do a STEM activity with your child and be unplugged for while. There are loads of STEM activities on Pinterest. If you want to do some STEM activities with a certain learning objective, check out my blog post “STEM With Purpose: 5 Things to Expose Your Budding Engineer To.” In this blog post, I list 5 things my brother (an MIT Mechanical Engineering graduate) suggests exposing a child to who is interested in engineering. Let’s be intentional and make time to help our kids become more unplugged.
Many children spend a lot of time watching television, using tablets or phones to watch movies, or to play games. I believe if they are properly engaged, they would have fun doing other activities, Try to make it a habit to regularly do screen-free fun with your children (I’m talking to myself as well.) It can be SO easy to stick a tablet in our kids’ hands, but engaging with them in person can lead to memorable quality time.
Despite her busy schedule as a homeschool mom, one of her recent endeavors is writing a STEM-themed fiction book for children called Anna, Kid Engineer, the first in what she hopes will become a series of STEM-themed children’s books. Shenek has a Ph.D. in Statistics and enjoys spending time with her family and attending church. Find her blog at : www.makemathmorefun.com.