STEAM is said to be an effective, hands-on way to cultivate 21st century skills in children. And with more and more intriguing STEAM ideas sprouting, it’s time to let your child hone some cutting-edge STEAM skills – keeping them on top of 21st century learning.
But why should STEAM education stop at the classroom? It can be easily incorporated at home, too! In fact, multi-disciplinary in nature, the STEAM approach can begin from your daily household items. So this weekend, use these tips to let your child embark on meaningful STEAM learning at home through fun and exploration!
Get your young ones curious
Curiosity marks the start of any form of learning. Especially for the young ones, you’d want to keep their minds active by constantly inspiring them!
So take the role of a parent-teacher: ask your child about the things they see daily and encourage them to ponder further. How do planes fly? Is the Science behind it similar to when birds fly? As your child wonders more about their everyday life, they make the connections between what they learn and real-world applications, spurring them to do in-depth research on how things work.
And fret not, research can be as simple as asking more questions, especially for your younger PYP kids! Big ideas always start from the smallest curiosities – inspire your child to be an independent learner, to gradually discover more in the environment around him.
Build with these two little hands
This one’s for those kids who respond better to motor learning – let them use their two hands! And you don’t need to bring your child outside for him to hone his motor skills. Think within the walls and comforts of your home.
At home, whip out some scrap materials to create your own sculptures, rollercoasters, or even cars! Such building activities push your child to think out of the box, reimagining and repurposing daily materials. And how to kick start the learning? Use this activity to get your child’s creative juices flowing, exercising not just their artistic skills but also design, technical knowledge skills.
Activity: Build-your-own toy car
1. Perform a scavenger hunt with your child as you both search for scrap materials in your home. Keep a lookout for used toilet rolls, empty milk cartons and bottle covers.
2. Start with the body of the car. With an empty milk carton, get creative and cut out the sides to make tiny windows. For the car’s front and back windscreens, cut out some old plastic covers and glue them on.
3. Next is the wheels. Preferably use round recycled parts for this, such as bottle covers or the gears of your used correction tape! Stick the four wheels on the sides of the milk carton and your toy car is ready to roam.
4. With the remaining scrap materials, feel free to add designs and accessories to your very own toy car. Encourage your child to write his name as well to create a sense of ownership and accomplishment in him.
It’s experiment time!
‘What happens if…?’ Let your child take the lead on this: encourage them to design experiments on things they are curious about! With the freedom to test out their ideas, they’re urged to start problem-solving from simple experiments.
Has your child been fascinated by the popular invisible ink yet? Get him thinking with this homemade experiment!
Activity: what happens if… the lemon concentrate in your invisible ink changes?
1. Prepare three cups of lemon concentrate. Each cup will contain different amounts of lemon concentrate: one with juice from half a lemon, another from a whole lemon, and the last cup from two whole lemons.
2. Dip a cotton swab into the cup with concentrate from half a lemon. Using it like a pencil, ask your child to write his name with the cotton swab, on a blank piece of paper. Then, use a pen to label this paper as ‘half lemon concentrate’.
3. Repeat step 2 with the other two cups of lemon concentrate. Be sure to label the other pieces of paper as well.
4. Bring the three pieces of paper under direct sunlight and let them dry. The dried lemon juice will soon oxidise, turn brown, to reveal the writing.
5. Ask your child to compare the words written on all three pieces of paper – is there a difference? And if yes, why is there a difference?
STEAM education at home can make learning come alive and encourage learning anytime, anywhere! That said, your child’s school also plays an important role.
With STEAM programmes in Singapore that draw connections across different subjects and further map these connections to the real world, your child can be inspired to explore within a safe environment. Visit the international schools near you to learn more about their STEAM curriculum!