What does STEM Play stand for?
Stem Play is something that you may have increasingly heard more about recently, and for a good reason. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering & Math – important areas of learning for our children to be comfortable with, especially in this day and age!
STEM can easily be built into play, and studies show it’s never too early to introduce STEM play to your children. Technical & scientific skills are increasingly important in job roles today, and introducing your child to STEM play early on helps foster interest and skills in these areas.
Some ideas for STEM activities/play for kids include:
- Do a cooking activity together. Research a recipe online, let your children help measure the ingredients, see how the recipe comes together.
- Build a fort together. See how high you can make it and how to construct it, so it stays together and is strong!
- Water Play – fill a bath or bucket with water, grab some measuring cups and things like dishwashing detergent and food colouring to create your favourite concoction.
- Take a walk around your neighbourhood. Ask your child to look for patterns in the numbers on letterboxes or collect interesting leaves or flowers.
Several toys these days also focus on STEM play, and some of our favourite STEM toys include:
- Marble Runs – children can build these differently each time depending on their skillset & creativity. They learn how the blocks fit and balance together and introduce children to 3D thinking & design.
- Connetix magnetic tiles – children can learn about magnetic force, patterns, colours, stability, how different shapes fit together. Again these also introduce children to 3D thinking & design.
- Hape Junior Inventor range – this range includes an experiment kit, workbench, optical science lab and more. It is perfect to start exploring the world of science with different experiments that can be done and items that can be built.
- Hape Nature Fun set – great for encouraging children into the outdoors whilst utilising science & math skills; this range includes a bug jar, telescope, periscope, compass set, detective set and more.
- The Kitchen Science Cookbook – written by Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickinson, this book contains fifty recipes for science ingredients using the simplest of everyday ingredients that you have at home.
We’re big fans of toys that can grow with your child. It’s important to note that the skills your child uses these when they first play with the toy can be built on as their minds and skills develop i.e a child might start off when playing with a marble run or some magnetic tiles by identifying colours, shapes, counting blocks and building simple structures, and as they get older build some more elaborate structures & designs!