The following is a guest post by Amanda from The Educator’s Spin on It
I am a stay-at-home Mom who believes that it is my job to be my child’s first teacher. Sure, I like to connect with my friends via Facebook, share a tweet, and pin my favorite activities, but when it comes down to it, I want to be with my kids.
- I want to experience life WITH my kids.
- I want to explore the world, learn, and play with 3 of my most favorite people by my side.
- I want to enrich their lives and expand their vocabulary.
- I want to let them roam free and have a variety of learning activities available.
- I want to be a GOOD MOM.
Hopefully, I’m en route to be the Mom I want to be. I have tried to combine what I have learned in graduate and undergraduate school, my classroom teaching experiences, and my years as a parent to create activities that are easy for others to do with their children. I invite you to stop by The Educators’ Spin On It to follow along on some of our learning adventures.
Using STEM Activities to Enrich Every Day Learning
Focusing on STEAM, STEM + Art has really enriched my families every day interactions. I’ve found it easy to plan a few simple learning activities each week around each subject area. I set the activity out and then my kids end up taking their own spin on it, enriching the lesson in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
Just today, my 1 and 4 year old were outside on the playground discussing gravity. Yes – gravity. Their conversation when something like this.
4 year old. “Gravity makes the car slide down.”
1 year old. “More gravity”
4 year old. “Ok. But I have to hand you the car because gravity can’t make it go up.” Hands the car to his brother.
1 year old. ”More gravity,” and slides the car down.
I was listening from the garden where I was wresting with a bunch of weeds – these kids were talking science without any prompting from me!!!! The ramp lesson we did last week actually sunk in! Ahhh… happy heart!
Now, this doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I am so grateful that I took the time to interact with my kids in a meaningful way. Will they remember I raced cars on toilet paper tubes a month from now? Probably not. But our interactions build strong academic foundations and create a base for further learning.
Admittedly, getting kids excited about and actually doing the activities in an already jam-packed weekly schedule can be a challenge. Start small and follow these tips for helping enrich your child’s daily life with STEM.
Tips for Getting Kids Excited About and Actually Doing STEM Activities
1. Check out or purchase activity books on STEM topics. No use re-inventing the wheel. There are some great resources out there – use them!
2. Schedule time in your week for STEM exploration.
3. SMILE and get excited about learning while in front of the kids (If you don’t like STEM – FAKE IT or let your kids know that you are not very good at it, but really want to learn with them!)
4. Explore local classes and sign your child up for the ones that interest him or her. Many libraries and museums host Building Groups and Science Classes. I’ve seen computer programing classes for kids offered at our local collage.
5. Use your child’s interest as a springboard to even more learning possibilities. If your daughter is into trains, find out how they are made, learn how the pistons move, visit a related museum to learn about the history of trains.
6. Most importantly, do the activities. It’s great if they are in your plan or on the calendar, but benefits of the interactions occur when the activities take place and afterwards.
STEM E-books for Preschooler Age Children
I feel SO very blessed to be able to do the things I love and am passionate about. One of these things is sharing my experiences with others. I now have written and contributed to FIVE e-books about STEM, and it’s so exciting.
For Parents, Teachers and Care-Givers
My book STEAM: Preschool Activities for STEM Enrichment with co-author Jamie Hand is the #1 book for preschool and kindergarten on Amazon.com.
It was designed for busy parents of preschoolers to download and pick one activity every day for 5 weeks. Most of the supplies needed can be found in your pantry. The activities are easy to prepare and fun to do. There is a free 5 week E-course to go along with this book that you can do at your own pace – no purchase necessary.
The book: Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities is a collection of 40+ math and science activities by moms and teachers. It is a new release and PACKED with hands-on activities for young children to do.
The newest book – just in time for the holidays – STEAM: STEM Activities for Christmas, again with co-author Jamie Hand, is perfect to break up your regular activities to focus on the holiday, while still encouraging your kids to learn.
Children are using technology to read books more today than ever before. I designed a series of e-books that are specifically for our beginning readers.
Each book has simple sentences with repeated high frequency words, includes strong picture clues and focus on high-interest topics. The best part is that each book ends with a hands-on STEM challenge where children are encouraged to go and do and activity. The idea is that they read the story independently for 5 minutes and then complete the hands-on activity for 10 minutes. There are currently 3 books available at the learn to read level:
Trucks: A Read and Do STEM Early Reader
Snakes: A Read and Do STEM Early Reader
Community Helpers: A Read and Do STEM Early Reader II
Amanda Boyarshinov is a National Board Certified teacher with her K-12 Reading Masters. Along with classroom experience, she is the Mom to three young children with a quest for knowledge. She enjoys sharing her experiences at The Educators’ Spin On It. She has written several STEM E-books .