STEAM-based learning might seem too complicated for toddlers and preschoolers, but it’s not. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, and there are many ways to incorporate these lessons into your child’s everyday learning experience. In fact, you might be doing it already without realizing it.
The Primrose Balanced Learning® approach integrates STEAM activities throughout the day to make learning simple and fun. For parents who want to keep the STEAM learning going at home, here are ideas from Dr. Sandra Linder, an associate professor of early childhood mathematics education and a co-author of the Balanced Learning approach:
- Make the most of mealtime. It’s easy to incorporate STEAM concepts when your family gathers to eat. Ask your child to set the table for the total number of people in your family. Encourage them to count and bring all plates to the table (but make sure the plates aren’t breakable). Then ask them to bring the same number of cups, forks, etc., so they are building sets of objects. During dinner, you can use comparisons to discuss the food you’re eating. (“I have 10 beans on my plate. How many do you have?”) These simple tasks help your child with mathematics and number sense, no multiplication tables required. You can also build STEAM skills in the kitchen with our easy Snacktivity recipes.
- Turn story time into learning time. The critical thinking skills gained through literacy help children better connect complex subjects such as science and math. As you read with your child, encourage them to predict what might come next in a story. Follow up by asking, “How do you know?” or “Why do you think that?” Help your child make connections between the story and their own experiences. For example, when reading a story about the beach, have your child tell you about the last time they went to the beach. Making predictions, communicating understanding and drawing connections are all part of STEAM learning.
- Play and explore with water. Odds are that your child loves playing with toys during bath time. This is also a perfect opportunity to help your child explore concepts such as sinking, floating, capacity and weight. Give your child measuring cups, plastic containers and funnels, then ask them how much water will fill a container or which container is the largest and why.
- Establish a creation station. Gather leftover cardboard tubes and boxes, construction paper, string, tape, glue and crayons and designate a place in your home as a creation station. Encourage children to create art and build skyscrapers, roller coasters and other structures to help them engage in engineering design and make connections with the arts, technology and mathematics.
Exploring STEAM skills and concepts through play will help children build a strong foundation for future learning. Your home is the perfect place to engage your little ones in these important learning opportunities for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Happy exploring!
For more on STEAM learning at Primrose and at home, check out:
- How We Teach Math at Primrose
- 5 Remarkable Women in STEAM to Celebrate with Your Children
- Science Fun: Magic Ice
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