Children are truly amazing. They are born with a will to learn, they are innately curious, they love to explore, to discover, to create and to understand the world around them. With no bias or boundary.
In their early years, it is therefore very important to provide our children with activities and opportunities to learn all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). This early involvement will help to prepare them well for school and ultimately their future careers ahead.
Having fun with STEM activities both inside and outside may spark interests that you never knew your child had. Activities in STEM are a great way to develop thinking skills, problem-solving skills, investigation skills and encourage curiosity and creative thinking.
At Northampton High, we always use a variety of multi-sensory opportunities to promote STEM. From using light-boxes, growing food, building with a variety of materials and sorting and classifying objects there are always new ways to learn.
A great way to start is to gather a box of tools for investigation and experimentation, try adding a torch, a tape measure, a magnifying glass, a mirror. Task your toddler with taking these to the park and see how they can use them to investigate what lurks under leaves and hides under twigs, how flowers grow to different sizes and how the world looks so different upside down. See if they can help you to build a small shelter to fit a squirrel in or even a big one to fit themselves in! Soon there will be no stopping the ideas and fun.
Have a go at home
How can you help the dinosaur eggs hatch? The little dinosaurs are frozen in their eggs, how can we get them out as fast as possible? What happens if we use warm water on ice? What happens when we use salt? Can we bang them with our spoons? What is happening to the colours as the eggs melt?
- Place a small dinosaur or other toy inside a balloon. Make as many as you like.
- Fill the balloon to form a small ball shape with water and tie the balloon neck. If you like, add different food colouring to some of the eggs so that you have a variety of coloured eggs. You could add smells too, such as lemon or lime juice.
- Remove from the freezer and cut off the balloon. You will be left with small balls of ice.
- Place the ice eggs in a bowl or on a tray.
- Use pipettes, spoons, jugs or cups to pour warm water over the eggs. Sprinkle on some salt, rub them, tap them with a spoon, give them a good poke and prod.
Every time your child tries something new to melt the eggs, talk to them about what may happen, what they can see and how it feels. Most importantly, keep everything fun and exciting and enjoy your time together as STEM detectives!