If you are the parent of a preschooler, you know that it’s important to help them develop a strong STEM base at a young age. It’s a way of thinking about the world that they’ll need to practice, like exercising a muscle, every day, for the rest of their lives.
While I love this idea, I wasn’t sure I could do it on my own, so I’ve been doing some research to find out what the best methods were.
I’ve already decided that I’m getting some help teaching my daughters by signing them up for Girl Scouts as soon as they are old enough to join (which is when they are going into Kindergarten) and becoming a volunteer. Ready to do it too? Volunteer today at Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas!
When I was a little girl, being a Girl Scout had a powerful impact on me, giving me the opportunity to learn from local partners and experts which provided access to leaders and real-world experience I could see in action. I was able to go on adventures like camping and day-trips with my troop that put me in situations I wouldn’t have otherwise been in, to gain valuable skills, setting me up for a lifetime of scientific curiosity.
Based on my experience, Girl Scouts is a special organization that is specifically geared toward helping girls develop a foundation of confidence and curiosity, helping kids to succeed, both today and in the future.
But, in addition to signing my daughters up for Girl Scouts, I’ve already started doing these three super-easy ways to explore STEM with preschoolers. Girl Scouts is the premier organization for girls and the tips they share below are based from their research about early education, meaning this is totally age appropriate and helps set your preschooler up for a lifetime of learning.
They’re so simple, but will make a huge impact in the way your kiddos think about the world (and themselves).
3 Super-Easy Ways to Explore STEM with Preschoolers
- Opposites Attract – One afternoon, I was feeling kind of bad because the kids had just gotten home from their preschool, but they told me they “didn’t learn anything” (I know this wasn’t true–they’re learning all the time, but…) and I love keeping that passion alive, so instead of just tossing the kiddo’s art project up on the refrigerator, I decided to ask her to do it. Then we talked about the magnets, how you can’t push two together, but you can flip one and BAM! they just run toward each other like they were meant to be. And when we did that, of course, it required an experiment of how many pieces of paper could we fit between two magnets–and if different magnets could take more or less. It turned into a whole afternoon of STEM learning where the kids both felt like they were doing something fun, but also learning. Win!
- Explore the Outdoors – One of our favorite afternoon activities is to go on a “bug safari”. I don’t know how many times we’ve actually caught anything besides rolly pollies, but we’ve observed a lot of lizards, insects, birds (from afar–those things are fast!) and even mole hole “trails”. For kids, something as simple as going into the backyard and asking pointed questions about the observations they are making can turn a mundane afternoon into a STEM exploration adventure. So, I ask all the scientific-type questions to get my kiddos’ brain thinking along those lines whenever they might be “observing.” I ask: What is the creature doing? Why is the creature doing it? How is the creature moving (or not–depending on what it is)? Where is the creature coming from and where is it going? When does the creature like to be doing it’s moving? This usually sparks a whole series of other questions, but it gets them curious–and that’s the point!
- Magic in Movement – When your kiddos are superstars of their preschool era, they need movement. And so they do that–a lot. It may seem a bit silly, but this is actually the PERFECT time to chat them up about what their bodies are actually doing. And, no, I don’t mean spinning. It’s time to talk to them about bones, muscles, joints and even skin. It’s time to talk about how, by spinning, they’re FEELING the air on their skin, using their sense of touch, even with the air. Or it’s time to talk to them about how, when they’re running, the muscles in each leg are actually tensing then releasing, pulling their leg bones one way and pushing them the other. There’s really so much to talk about when the kids are active because the body is a really interesting “science experiment”. Just the other day, my girls and I had a whole discussion on “what is sweat” and “why we sweat”. All because they were playing hard!
Genuinely, if you want your kiddos to become STEM-thinkers, you should definitely find a way to plant those little seeds to build that long-term foundation.
For me, I’m reaching out to Girl Scouts. They’ve made it easier for parents (specifically busy moms like me) to spend time with their daughter and her friends as a troop leader or co-leader by making meetings easy-to-execute. That way I can be a part of growing those future leaders…If you’re interested in volunteering, learn more by clicking this link!
Because, that’s how it’s done–through volunteers. Without the support of local volunteers, Girl Scouts wouldn’t be able to support their mission of helping young girls to positively impact their communities and develop into our future leaders.
And, because they know girls, they know how to bring the progressive programming, critical development in STEM, outdoors, entrepreneurial and life skills–all of that which a girl needs to build confidence so she can thrive. Which makes them the best choice for our family and my daughters.
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