STEAM and STEM have become key buzzwords for teachers and educators but what do they mean? STEM – more recently updated to STEAM – stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The “A” in STEAM ties into the Arts. These acronyms really stand for a fundamental push in introducing these elements into the learning environment. With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to explore STEAM related activities with young kids. Summer learning can be fun, engaging, and maintain a good tone for the school year to come!
Start with reading
STEAM and STEM related books can help open up new avenues of curiosity in young children. Enjoy fact filled stories and narratives about how science, math, and the arts can be used in a career setting or in different areas of the world. For kids that already love engaging in reading activities with the family, bright and colorful books teach both reading skills and STEAM concepts.
Keep it hands on
Part of the fun of engaging in STEAM activities – and teaching them – is the hands on aspect that STEAM encourages in learners. For younger children, this can often be satisfied to by using blocks, chenille stems, or wax sticks to create and build. Give students a challenge such as building a tower with only four chenille stems or a certain number of blocks and watch them tackle engineering problems by actually building. Get a tape measure and measure items and distances around the house and create charts that show different sizes of objects or even family members. Almost any hands on activity can be given a science or math angle.
Art and craft projects can also be great STEAM activities. Paper bag animals let children explore their creative side and then learn about actual animals after the hands-on process. Take the opportunity to connect your summer art projects to science concepts, math, or basic measurement and young learners will find an interest in these concepts.
Summer nature walk
One great activity for the summer months is a summer nature walk to introduce children to the wonders of the outdoors. Take a picture journal to draw or a camera to record your adventure as you explore your yard, a nearby park, or even the beach. Children can record animals they see, collect leaves from plants, and study the natural world around them. This activity not only provides family time but also promotes an interest in science and nature. Simple and fun, STEAM and STEM activities can help make your summer a month of family time and learning.