Two Easy Ways to Ignite STEM

I recently had a mom ask me for ideas on how to get her son interested in a STEM career. STEM can’t be forced on anyone, but I think if you dig deep enough, nearly everyone can find something within the STEM realm that interests them enough to investigate what’s out there. The career opportunities are countless, but sometimes that ocean of options is overwhelming. We get stuck in “analysis paralysis” instead of just picking something and trying it.

Rather than trying to make your child pick one area of STEM, provide opportunities for him/her to investigate all areas of STEM. To prevent “analysis paralysis,” here are TWO easy ways to encourage your son or daughter to explore STEM.

#1 STEM Toys or Vehicles

When your kids are younger, try to provide learning based toys. My niece is four years old and we bought her the Fisher-Price Think and Learn Code-a-pillar.

codapillar
Code-a-pillar

She absolutely loves it, and has no idea that she’s learning basic coding! If we introduce concepts sooner, they won’t be so daunting to kids when they are offered those opportunities in school.

While the Code-a-pillar is designated for 3-6 year olds, there are plenty of other toys such as GoldieBox, Knex, and Lego Mindstorms as children get older. Consider purchasing a relatively cheaper drone and let them explore that industry. These are just a few of the many but they are great tools to stimulate your child’s STEM creativity.

#2 Events

20160726_143324
EAA Airventure 2016

Head out to an airport and find out what events they have going on. Aviation is all things STEM. Airshows are a great experience, for the young and old! I love going to EAA Airventure, when I’m fortunate enough to go for “work,” as well as the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV every fall.

Check with your local university in town and see what summer camps they are offering. More and more, universities are developing programs for grade school students to investigate STEM subjects.

Consider signing your son or daughter up for a robotics team. In a previous post, I showcased the overwhelming benefits to this type of experience.

hack
Hackathon

If you son or daughter is interested in computer programming, have them attend a hackathon. They can network and ask questions, all while attending a fun, past-paced event that will fully immerse them in STEM.

I challenge you to pick #1 or #2 and then do it! Perhaps one of these ideas will create the moment when they become truly inspired to dive into the world of STEM and find what they are passionate about.

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