With a daughter who is in her first year of a magnet high school engineering program, I’m often asked about the things I did to encourage her love of STEM. The honest answer is that I did anything and everything! I didn’t go overboard and I didn’t make myself feel guilty about what I wasn’t doing. Instead, I provided a variety of STEM experiences to both of my kids while also pointing out how science, technology, engineering, and math is all around us.
4 Unplugged Ways to Celebrate STEM Day
STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators so in honor of tomorrow, November 8, being STEM Day, here are 4 unplugged ways you can celebrate through play with your elementary aged child.
Cook for the Birds
Crafty kids will love the chance to make birdseed feeders for their fine feathered friends who might be getting ready to fly south for the winter. This kid friendly birdseed feeder recipe from LittleBinsForLittleHands.com includes plenty of math thanks to measuring out 5 ingredients (cold water, boiling water, gelatin, corn syrup, and bird seed) and is also a great way to help take care of local bird species.
Be a Marshmallow Engineer
Mini marshmallows aren’t just for hot cocoa although there’s nothing wrong with a hot mug close by as the family uses the rest of the bag and a box of toothpicks for an engineering challenge! Parents of younger kids can start their little ones with simple challenges like making two dimensional shapes. Older kids will love the challenge of building bridges, making a structure using only one shape, building a structure with multiple stories, or constructing a structure that holds a stack of Post-It Notes. Want a challenge? Think of what other small food items you might be able to use for your engineering project. Hint: Raisins and fresh cranberries could also work!
Do a Dance
Have you ever thought about how dance follows a pattern? By decomposing dance steps, kids can get an idea of how think and work by following patterns. Last month I shared 4H Code Your World as a great way for non-tech savvy parents to teach computer science concepts and Code Your Dance is a fun way to unplug and get moving in the name of STEM. Code Your Dance is a a two–part activity that teaches algorithm and program design by having kids write code for the Chicken Dance. In honor of STEM Day, do the Chicken Dance or choose another dance (anyone want to Floss?), deconstruct it, and talk about how dances follow patterns just like computers!
Build with LEGOs
Created in 1932, LEGO is based on the Danish term, Leg Godt, meaning ‘play well’ and ever since its creation, the brand has been committed to inspiring play and fostering development through play. LEGO sets help mini artists to use their creativity to create a one-of-a-kind LEGO pieces while budding engineers can design the next sustainable buildings. LEGO helps foster necessary skills for future STEM careers, including problem-solving and creativity, even at the youngest ages so go ahead and get those bricks out and have fun building and creating!
LEGO Harry Potter Giveaway!
Thinking of getting your child a STEM based gift this holiday season? Check out my Best STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen).
No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway although product was provided. Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post.