How to encourage
STEM learning at home G
enerally speaking, parents want their kids to see them as experts in the field of well, all things. But we are human, so the reality of this falls somewhat short of that ideal.
This is never truer for some parents when it comes to STEM and their little ones. After all, reading a book or coloring a picture, that’s easy. They can do that all day long. But doing science, technology, engineering or math projects with your child? Well, that sounds really hard, so maybe it is better left to the experts or a kit you can buy online. “I think it’s great that there’s been this focus on STEM. But I think in some ways it’s made parents intimidated or makes them think they have to be experts,” said Emily Kerr, coordinator of the STEM Discovery Lab at the University of New Hampshire. “I see all these things, like you can order these subscriptions for these engineering kits in the mail. It’s the feeling that you have to spend all this money and that’s just not the case.” Kerr said that a simple walk outside where parents and kids do things like counting or observing leaves or bugs, notice patterns, sorting things or picking up items in a nature scavenger hunt, is all very scientific. In fact, many things that you do around the house every day — cooking, sewing, fixing, finances, unclogging a drain using baking soda and vinegar — all of these things hold STEM concepts “It can be practical,” said Kerr. “It doesn’t have to be glamorous.”
20 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2019