Those long-awaited, blissful summer months will be here and gone before we know it. Summer is a great time for children to enjoy the outdoors, learn, and have fun away from school and screens. Encouraging children to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) activities during summer can not only enhance their academic skills but also foster their creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking year round. Here are five ways to encourage STEAM learning for children aged 4-14, ensuring a summer filled with excitement, exploration, and growth.
At-home science experiments are a fantastic way to pique children's curiosity and introduce those transformative “aha” moments. There are tons of websites, books and YouTube channels dedicated to kid-friendly science experiments which often only require household materials you likely already have in your pantry. These exciting hands-on lessons encourage children to observe, hypothesize, experiment, and draw conclusions.
In today's digital age, understanding technology and coding is becoming part of the standard curriculum. Take a rainy day this summer to introduce your child to the world of coding and technology through interactive online platforms, games, and coding challenges. Websites like Code.org, Scratch, and Tynker offer age-appropriate coding tutorials and projects for kids like creating their own games, animations, and interactive stories.
This summer, watch your child channel their inner engineer with at-home design and engineering challenges and projects. Provide them with building materials such as LEGO® bricks, K'NEX, magnetic tiles, or recycled materials and challenge them to construct structures, bridges, or interactive builds using simple machines like pulleys and levers. Encourage your child to think critically about the design process, problem-solve, and iterate on their ideas. Here are a few prompts to get you started:
Incorporating the arts (or the “A” in STEAM) provides a well-rounded educational experience for kids and allows them to explore their creative, innovative side. This summer, encourage your child to explore the intersection of art and science by creating 3D models, designing new household inventions, or experimenting with color mixing and light. Collaborative projects such as creating a STEAM-inspired mural or organizing an art exhibition can also foster teamwork and communication skills with your child and friends.
Take advantage of the summer weather by planning educational field trips to museums, science centers, nature parks, or botanical gardens with your kids. These excursions provide hands-on learning experiences and expose children to real-world applications of STEAM concepts. Or keep learning local with outdoor activities like nature walks, birdwatching, or gardening. These outings can cultivate an appreciation for the natural world and spark an interest in biology, ecology, and environmental science.
Keep summer fun while introducing a lifetime love of learning and discovery by adding these five strategies into your summer routine. Whether it's conducting science experiments, coding, building structures, exploring the arts, or embarking on educational field trips, fostering a love for STEAM will not only benefit their academic growth but also equip them with essential skills for the future. Let's make this summer an unforgettable season of learning, discovery, and inspiration!