How to Get Your Child Interested in STEM
Many parents want their children interested in STEM subjects because they can lead to lucrative and fulfilling careers.
If you want your child to be interested in STEM subjects and learn relevant life skills in this area of knowledge, there are some easy and fun ways to get them interested.
What Does STEM Mean?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Any field that focuses on one or all of these four areas will be considered a STEM profession. The word gets used a lot these days as the science and engineering job market continues to grow and flourish.
STEM is not something exclusive to scientists, researchers, or mathematicians. STEM surrounds us in everyday life, from the weather news we watch so we know how to dress or the cake recipe we follow to make a tasty dessert. Simple things like this that we take for granted all came from studying STEM topics.
Children will likely not know the term STEM but have some knowledge on the subject anyway. The basic curriculum in the US requires children to learn fundamental sciences. They take classes like biology, chemistry, algebra, and statistics. Many people think we don’t use these, but you do more than you realize.
Importance of STEM for Development
The importance of STEM subjects cannot be overstated. Without the study and implications of STEM, modern civilization would not exist. Introducing your child to STEM subjects will educate them on how the world works and the importance of these topics.
Children are naturally curious about how things happen, like when it rains or the wind blows, and answering these questions encourages their curiosity and zest for life.
STEM professions create new inventions, build bridges, literally, and continue pushing the modern world forward. And today, one of the most important topics in STEM is climate change and how humans can combat it to preserve our home planet.
Opening up a child’s mind to STEM topics will promote creativity that could lead to the next great invention and possible ways to help the planet.
5 Simple Ways to Promote Your Child’s STEM Interest
It may sound hard to get your child to care about things like calculus or engineering, but it’s much easier than you think! Below are fun activities or habits that you can do with your child to pique their interest in STEM subjects.
1. Explore Nature
One of the best and easiest ways to get your kid interested in STEM topics is to go outside and explore nature. Looking at different kinds of trees, plants, animals, and even rocks can get a child excited about science topics and how technology has changed the world!
Go on a stroll through the woods, play at the beach, or explore your backyard! Bring attention to interesting bugs or plants that you see so your child can soak up the wide variety of flora and fauna that exist in the world.
2. Visit a Museum
If you feel like you don’t have enough information on STEM topics or don’t know how to explain certain things, take them to a museum where everything is explained. You can visit a science museum, an architecture museum, or an engineering museum.
3. Visit a Library
Libraries are full of fascinating information for both you and your child. Explore the science and technology section of your local museum to find interesting books for kids on STEM topics. Children often love how large and eclectic libraries are, so this will be a memorable outing for all.
4. Answer Questions
One of the easiest ways to interest your kid in Stem topics is to answer their questions. When they ask things like “why is the sky blue?,” “why do birds fly?,” or “how long do horses live?,” rather than saying you don’t know or “because it is,” use this as a learning opportunity!
Take out your phone or find a book that can answer their question and explore the answer together. Doing this together will not only get your kid interested in these topics, but it will continue to encourage their curiosity, so they keep asking questions! And asking questions is what STEM is all about.
5. Ask Questions
When focusing on a STEM subject, ask your kid questions to get their gears turning. When you ask children questions that they don’t know the answer to, it often results in them asking you more questions. Through this habit, you and your child will learn more about STEM in daily life and how the world works.
Pointing Out Everyday STEM Applications
The first step to getting your child interested in STEM is pointing it out in everyday life. STEM is all around us and constantly impacts our lives. Showing your child how things work and how STEM makes up our world will pique their interest and encourage them to wonder about the world and possibilities other people haven’t thought of yet.
Below are examples of each STEM subject in everyday life that you can point out to your child, getting them interested in STEM topics and discussions.
There’s no need to teach your six-year-old Microsoft Excel, but there are simple things you may not think of as technology. Even the whisk in your kitchen can be considered relatively modern technology for cooking.
Teaching your child to use a pair of kid scissors introduces them to simple but valuable technology. Draw some shapes on a piece of paper and challenge your child to cut them out as carefully as they can. Tools like scissors are just the tip of the iceberg for modern technology, but a great place to start with your young child.
Give your child opportunities to play in a new environment like the beach or the woods. Or you can create an experiment in your kitchen with some baking soda and vinegar. This type of play will teach them how things interact together, creating more curiosity.
Puzzles and brain teasers like sudoku or jigsaw puzzles are more examples of problem-solving using STEM subjects. If you can work your way through a sudoku puzzle, you have a firm understanding of numbers and problem-solving. Sudoku may be too complicated, but simple puzzles are a great place to start.
You can create a scavenger hunt for your child with a map they have to follow. Maps are another example of simple technology that can begin your child’s interest in how technology can be used to help people. You can also play with building blocks and explore the concepts of gravity by creating a ramp and rolling something down it.
Future Careers in STEM
STEM skills can open up a wider range of career options for your child. Below are just a few careers that use STEM:
- Operations Research Analyst
- Financial Advisor
- Mechanical Engineer
- Marine Biologist
- Data Analyst
- Software Developer
- Agricultural Researcher
- IT Specialist
These careers are just a fraction of the professions that involve STEM subjects. The career options for STEM students only seem to grow as more technology companies grow and new inventions become popular.
Whether you hope your child becomes a doctor or mathematician, or you just want to give them some foundational knowledge and encourage your curiosity, STEM is wonderful for children.
Children should always be encouraged to keep asking questions and exploring the world they live in. Doing these things naturally provokes interest in STEM. All you need to do is create an environment where this curiosity can thrive.