Tips to Develop Your Kids’ STEM Skills While Having Family Fun in Ottawa
The thought of teaching your kids math and science may seem exhausting. These subjects are often associated with difficulty and frustration in school. And they’re not always a student’s top subject. But there’s more to learning STEM subjects than you realize.
STEM is an interdisciplinary field. It refers to science, technology, engineering, and math. And these subjects are often intimidating for both kids and adults alike. But there are many fun ways to teach STEM skills to kids to help them get excited and interested in these subjects.
These skills are useful for kids’ education and development, even at an early age. Kids are curious about how things work, so encourage them to think and explore the world around them. You can easily promote STEM without feeling like you’re teaching tough subjects.
Here are some ways to have family fun in Ottawa while developing your kids’ STEM skills.
Counting Cups at Snack Time
Teach your kids number recognition with this fun snack-time counting and sorting game. All you need is a bowl of snacks—grapes, nuts, fruit pieces, etc.—10 cupcake liners, and cut-out numbers from 1 to 10.
To prepare, line up two rows of five cupcake liners on a table. Place a number (starting with 1 and going to 10) underneath each liner. Then have your kid place the number of snacks in each cup according to its corresponding number.
Paper-Tube Marble Run
Introduce the basics of physics to your kids with marbles. This activity explores the concepts of gravity, energy, and cause-and-effect. Use will need marbles, paper-towel and toilet-paper tubes, and masking tape.
Have your child help you tape the tubes together, and also up on a wall. Create different sizes and angles to see how the marbles move. And try to hypothesize why some routes are faster than others.
Identifying Patterns with LEGO Blocks
Create patterns using LEGO blocks and have your kids create the same pattern. These can be size, shape, or colour patterns, or a combination of all. Pattern recognition teaches kids predictability. This skill is useful for math and in everyday life. Kids find comfort in predictability and routines.
Match Dice with Dominoes
Here’s another way to teach number recognition along with the ideas of “less than” and “greater than.” After your child rolls two dice, they must identify the sum of the two numbers. And to show their answer, they must find a domino piece (or pieces) with the answer.
Cooking and baking are food sciences you can easily explain in the kitchen. Teach your kids chemistry with how ingredients interact while baking. Develop math skills while measuring out ingredients. Or learn about plant anatomy with fruits and vegetables.
You can also explain how boiling water, toasting bread, and melting butter happen.
Music & Poetry
While stimulating their creativity, music lessons also teach kids math skills. Following a rhythm is based on counting. Also, writing poetry is another way to learn rhythm.
Shopping & Banking
Shopping with kids is a great opportunity to teach them about math. You can explain pricing and budgeting to them. And they can help you make informed purchase decisions based on how much money you want to spend. You can also teach them about banking when it comes to giving them money.
A day at the museum is a fun way to learn about STEM subjects. Bring your kids to the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Museum of History, or the Canada Science and Technology Museum. These museums have excellent activities for kids to explore, enjoy, and learn.
Play with STEM Toys & Games
There are a variety of STEM toys and games on the market to teach kids a variety of useful skills. For example, LEGO has robotics and coding kits. There are many STEM apps available for kids. You can even shop for STEM toys and games online at various retailers.
Watch Science & Tech Shows
Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the most hands-on approach to learning about STEM. But it’s a fun leisure activity to enjoy with the family. Bill Nye, the Science Guy is a favourite amongst audiences both young and old. Depending on your children, there are plenty of fun science-related shows your kids will love. And we can’t forget The Magic School Bus!
Home Repairs & IT Support
Get your kids involved with tasks around the house. Set up a new entertainment system, or work on a home renovation project together. Have them read manuals to you for setting up electronics or building an Ikea set. Also, have them help with safe tasks. Troubleshooting, repairs, and building teach useful STEM and problem-solving skills.
Getting outside and experiencing nature is always a fun activity. And it’s even a great lesson in biology. No matter how young your kids are, they can explore with their senses and discover the workings of life.
During these activities, encourage discussion. Answer their questions thoughtfully. And ask them open-ended questions that help them think about their experiences. As they get older, you can ask more complex questions. And when it comes to learning, there is never a silly question.
Kids are naturally inquisitive. So use their interests to teach them about STEM subjects. STEM skills help kids develop necessary skills they can use throughout their lives. And it can all start with family activities that make learning fun.