With winter break around the corner, you might be looking for some ways to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning out of the classroom and into your child’s daily life. Below is a list of five fun ways to explore STEM with the kid in your life.
Take a nature walk
Whether you stroll around the block to look for birds or take an hour-long hike through a park, nature walks are a great way to get in touch with the changing seasons, and learn what plants and animals exist in your local habitat. To encourage deeper observation, encourage your kid to try sketching out some of the plants and animals they find. Check out a plant or bird ID guide from your local library, or download the free Seek app by iNaturalist to accompany your nature walks
Follow a recipe
Practice math and chemistry with a little fun in the kitchen. Ask your child to choose a favorite recipe, or a new one they would like to try. Measuring cups are a natural way to practice fractions, and doubling or halving a recipe can help with multiplication and division.
If an ingredient is missing, consider using a recipe substitution as a teaching moment. Recipe substitutions are a great way to practice flexible thinking, and to discuss the chemical function of different ingredients in a recipe. For instance, replacing vinegar with lemon juice because they’re both acids.
Play a game
Popular children’s card games can turn into fun math lessons with a few small tweaks. For example, instead of trying to find a pair or four of a kind in a matching game, such as Go Fish, players could be challenged to find sets of cards that add up to 10 or 20. In games that challenge your learner’s logic skills, try narrating your own thought process to get them jump-started on strategic thinking.
Try a Curiosity at Home activity
Our Curiosity at Home webpage has more than 100 free activities on various scientific topics. Make a rotating star locator with common materials and go out stargazing on a clear night, then learn about the phases of the moon. Or explore the physics of sound and make your own musical instruments.
For multilingual learning opportunities, check out our new Curiosidad en Casa page and download activity guides translated into Spanish.
Participate in PacSci’s virtual winter break programming
Join a free live, interactive virtual program over the break, and explore topics from telescopes to transportation. This December, we’re hosting six virtual programs on 3 different themes. Engage in engineering skills as you build and test your own bridge, explore a current science space mission as you celebrate the launch of the James Webb Telescope, and discover the inner workings of the brain with us.
Learn more about these programs and register on our Event Calendar.
By incorporating these kinds of activities into day-to-day life, you can help your learner to see that STEM is everywhere. When children recognize science as relevant to their lives, it increases engagement, encourages their curiosity, and establishes the foundation for a lifetime love of learning.