Being a parent means to stay ahead on all aspects. Especially on your child’s development and education. As an early learning enthusiast, I keep reading and researching new topics and this time I came across STEM learning. Though STEM learning is for kids aged 7 plus I was intrigued to know more and how it can be incorporated at an early stage to help preschoolers build a strong foundation.
What is STEM Learning?
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s a term initiated by the National Science Foundation, refers to an educational approach which integrates more than one of these disciplines.
Individually these may look like lofty subjects for tiny preschoolers. However, in reality, children are already exposed and engaging to STEM activities indoors and outdoors. With further guidance from us, they can actually learn and develop critical thinking skills.
Why is STEM important?
Science is all around us. Technology is fast growing and slowing taking over our day to day aspects of our lives. Engineering is the very basic design we see on the roads or bridges or when we talk about environmental changes. Mathematics is a part every occupation and every activity we do on daily basis.
Exposing children at a young age to STEM learning and allowing them to explore the concept of STEM may spark the passion for these subjects. Further, it may lead them to pursue a career in the STEM field.
Undoubtedly STEM learning can be very beneficial in a child’s overall academic growth. By developing early critical thinking and reasoning skills, it also enhances later interest in STEM study and careers.
STEM Activities for Pre Schoolers
So how do we encourage the little ones to explore STEM learning concepts? Here are some simple ideas to get you a hang of things. As you explore, you will understand how easy it is, in reality, to incorporate STEM learning in everything our children do and learn.
- Building blocks can help children make towers and bridges – incorporating maths and engineering.
- Cooking together – this is the most basic skill that can teach the concept of science, technology, and even maths!
- Explore the grocery – go shopping and pick some fruits and vegetables. Ask your toddler to predict what will be inside. With supervision allow him/her to cut into pieces and discuss the color, texture and have a tasting session. This would be perfect for maths and science.
- Water Play – The opportunity to play and learn are endless! Teaching floating objects, transferring with a ladle, mixing colors to teach tertiary colors. There are so many ways to play.
You will be amazed at the possibilities of STEM learning. Children are little explorers and love to experiment, combine new substances, build, knock down, collect, sort and of course have a lot of fun while playing. Until I read about STEM learning I didn’t realize we were already engaging in so many STEM activities already without knowing about them.
Pre-STEM Toys by Skola
Once you have tried a few home-based DIY activities your child will soon be ready to play with pre -STEM Toys.
Skola Toys believe that play leads to exploration, exploration leads to discovery and discovery leads to learning. Their learning journeys through play have some of the best Pre STEM learning toys for incorporating early childhood education.
It’s a welcome sight to see some of our Indian homegrown brands like Skola to help in Pre-STEM learning which is primarily preparing a child for STEM learning which is a multi-sensory experience. Their toys are well thought through and each toy helps to improve their overall development skills right from fine motor skills which certainly helps in engineering, but more importantly using fingers helps children think clearly and enhances concentration and cognitive ability which is directly a STEM requirement.
Here are few of their toys that I really liked
This is a wonderful toy to help a child to understand cause and effect. This is where a child is exposed to science. It helps a child to register process and comprehend.
Following the movement of the car improves visual tracking among children, which is essential for improving their reading skills and abilities while playing any physical sport. This toy also leads to awareness of motion and movement as children watch and analyze the movements of the cars as they roll down the slopes. As they push the cars further or hold them back, they understand the impact of their actions on the speed, motion and time factors of the cars. As children place, move and stop the cars, they also enhance their fine motor skills.
This toy encourages children to use fingers to rotate wheels and then find the matching colours which involve an examination, observation analysis, and discovery.
As children begin to sort different shades of colours, it magnifies their understanding of colour at a very young age. It enhances their visual discrimination skills and makes them aware of the comparison between colours. Naming the shades and tints of various colours and arranging them in a specific order makes them notice even minute differences in colour shades. One of the most exciting challenges this toy poses is when the children have to match shades by memory. And this exercises their mind in a way that significantly enhances their cognitive ability. The simple act of using their hands to rotate the wheels and locking them in place enhances their eye-hand coordination.
I love how each and every toy at the Skola website has a clear description, helping parents understand the various skill it helps the child to develop. This process is true for all Skola Toys and hence creates thinkers.