Engaging children in STEAM

Child with plant
My daughter learning about different leaves

Why should I engage my children in STEAM?

Children that disengage with Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths subjects, particularly girls, disengage before they finish primary school.  There is some research that suggests that incorporating STEAM activities into early learning can help to sustain STEAM engagement through primary school and into high school.

There are some fantastic organizations that provide opportunities for girls in high school to engage in STEAM subjects. Although there is some good participation, it is still a minority of girls getting involved. And no wonder, we are trying to engage students that have already disengaged.

My two-year-old daughter goes to daycare and while they have some great activities that engage children in STEAM, a lot of children don’t go to daycare, so the onus is on us as parents to spark that love for STEAM subjects in early childhood.

75% of Australia's fastest growing occupations require skills in STEAM, so encouraging children, particularly girls, to engage in STEAM subjects early is imperative.

How can I engage my children in STEAM?

STEAM principals are all around us and it really takes very little effort to engage young children in STEAM. All we really need to do is point out the STEAM around us.

Listen to this episode of the Mumgineer Podcast where early childhood educator, Kate Smit, shares her tips on learning dispositions to engage children in STEAM.

Here is one simple idea

Play dough!

Child with play dough
My daughter playing with play dough

What's a fun and interactive way to start introducing toddlers to #stem principals like material density and cause and effect, while also encouraging creativity and imagination? PLAY DOUGH! 

Get (or make!) some play dough in prime colours and see what happens when you mix two of the colours together. 

What happens when you throw a ball of play dough against the floor? 
What happens when you squeeze a ball of play dough really hard? 
What different shapes can you make? 

My daughter likes to try and make balls and then squash them into circles!

Playing with play dough also encourages curiosity and prompt various questions which will help increase knowledge and help overall development.

Click here to view the play dough recipe I love to use. I love the consistency, it worked so well and was super quick and easy to make (I didnt bother scenting mine). 

Added bonus: making the play dough with my daughter also exposed her to fractions and following a recipe.