Why is the sky blue? Why are there no more dinosaurs? Why do we get sick? Why does your preschooler ask so many questions? This one's easy...because they're little scientists!
Young children are constantly trying to figure out the world around them, just like scientists. By taking their questions seriously, talking through the answers, or even doing some research together, you are supporting your child's curiosity and encouraging them to continue to want to learn. Great job, parents!
As parents, we traditionally focus on teaching our little ones the ABCs and the 123s. And rightfully so, because those are important concepts. But, what about science? Isn't that important? The answer is yes! Many parents wonder what is the best age to start teaching scientific concepts.
The answer is that it's never too early to start STEM education with your child. In fact, according to a study by the Australian Academy of Science, children exposed to science at an early age are more likely to study science seriously as they get older.
You may have heard the buzzword, STEM, but what is it exactly? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and there's been an increase in the awareness of preschool STEM education in recent years. We firmly believe that as a parent, you are your child's first and best teacher. Besides answering those endless questions, here are some other things you can do to encourage the love of learning about all things STEM.
- Beat the fear! Science doesn't come naturally to everyone, so teaching your little one about STEM can be intimidating at first. If you don't know an answer, tell your child that! And then find the answer together.
- Children learn best through hands-on experience. Let them see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Want to learn about nature? Go on a nature walk and let your child find bugs under rocks, pick up acorns, or touch spider webs. Visit state parks, nature centers, and botanical gardens.
- Want to learn about gravity? Throw a ball in the air, race some cars down a ramp, or make a parachute out of a garbage bag.
- Kids shouldn't be the only ones asking questions. Ask your child questions about the world around them. As you eat your dinner, ask if they know where their carrots come from (hint...it's not the store). As you walk to the park on a beautiful day, ask them if they know what the clouds are made of. By asking them questions, you are encouraging your child to be observant and curious about the scientific world.
- Keep it fun. Focus on subjects your child has a natural interest in. Does your son love spiders? Read all about them, find them on a nature walk, or visit tarantulas at the pet store or zoo. Soon, he'll know as much, if not more, than you do.
- Conduct some home experiments. Science in the home is easy! Use simple things like a magnifying glass to look at bugs or a telescope to look at the stars. The library has a large collection on home experiments. Here are some of the best:
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