Jobs in STEM fields are growing in America.
In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 10 million occupations related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM.
That number is predicted to grow by almost 11% in the next decade.
STEM jobs are also some of the best paid career options available.
The rise in these jobs makes sense, as our demand for innovative science and technology continues to grow.
With STEM careers in the spotlight, it’s important that we give children the opportunity to get involved in these fascinating and fast-growing fields.
But let’s face it, getting kids excited about STEM isn’t always as easy as we’d hope, especially if they’re only being exposed to boring old textbooks and no fun learning activities.
The good news is there are lots of things you can do to get your kids excited about STEM.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of our favorite tips and tricks for making kids eager to dive into all things STEM.
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Benefits of STEM for Kids
STEM activities are a great way to build your child’s intelligence and natural curiosity.
Letting your child engage in STEM projects can also boost their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. It can also help your child become more creative and innovative in their thinking.
Working through an experiment or equation helps your child develop their reasoning skills, but also builds their patience and self-confidence.
An experiment that goes well can really help your child feel good about themselves as a learner.
Conversely, when STEM activities don’t go according to plan, kids can learn valuable lessons about planning and revising.
A project that doesn’t work out can teach kids how to be accountable and how to find solutions for their mistakes. This is a great way to build patience and responsibility.
After all, the ability to plan and correct errors isn’t only useful in academics, but for life as well!
Essentially, when kids are given a chance to put STEM concepts into practice, they become stronger researchers, collaborators, and thinkers in general.
If your small one isn’t one hundred percent on board when they hear words like science and math, don’t lose heart!
There are plenty of ways to draw their attention to STEM and let them see all the great things these subjects have to offer.
Read on to learn some of our favorite tips for getting kids stoked on all things STEM!
How to Boost STEM Engagement
Now that you know why STEM is so important for kids, let’s talk about some things you can do to help your child get more interested in the sciences.
Make STEM Hands-On
One of the most important ways to make a subject come alive is to give kids some hands-on time with engaging materials.
Rather than getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of why a scientific or math concept works, let kids play around and experiment. If they’re working on an exciting project, the skills that might have seemed “boring” before are suddenly just part of the procedure.
There are countless science, tech, and math-related projects out there for students of every age. You can check out online sites, YouTube videos, or library books for ideas.
If you feel overwhelmed or aren’t sure where to begin, you can also check out KiwiCo’s kid-friendly science crates.
KiwiCo was founded by a mom with a background in scientific engineering. She felt kids deserved a more engaging way to interact with STEM concepts.
The company is focused on delivering STEM-centered content to households and schools in monthly shipments (three and six-month options are available, too).
Each crate comes packed with fascinating materials to complete a hands-on, screen-free, child-run activity or project.
The crates are divided into different “lines” or subject areas. Once you subscribe, you’re welcome to switch up lines at any time.
Every month, KiwiCo ships hand-picked, expertly chosen STEM activities directly to your child. Each crate is already complete with everything your child needs to complete their project from start to finish, all on their own.
This is an easy way to cut out the guesswork and ensure that your child is getting access to exciting, age-appropriate, high-level STEM activities.
Connect STEM to the World Around Us
Connecting science, tech, engineering, and math to the real world is an important way of showing kids the value of these subjects.
Encourage your child to start making connections by pointing out the many ways we use and appreciate STEM concepts in our lives.
From iPhones to tablets to streaming services, innovative technology is everywhere! Start asking your child how these things work, and encourage them to ask questions of their own.
This could spark an interest in coding, website design, or even robotics. These kinds of hows and whys can help get your child interested in the tech and engineering side of STEM.
Math concepts are all around us as well. Your child may not be thrilled at the concept of doing addition and subtraction, but they’ll be all ears when they learn how to budget their allowance to save up for that game system they’ve been coveting.
Connecting math and money concepts to everyday life is an easy way to show how often we use these skills.
Don’t forget to draw kids’ attention to the natural phenomena around us, too! From evaporating puddles to blooming flowers to web-spinning spiders, there are plenty of intriguing scientific events for kids to observe as long as we take the time to look.
Focusing on STEM concepts in everyday life can help open your child’s eyes to what they find fascinating. This will help you tune into the kinds of projects your child will like the most.
Check out the wide array of STEM materials offered by KiwiCo to jumpstart some ideas for projects that might tie into your child’s interests.
From culture to cooking to building to experimenting, KiwiCo has a STEM concept to appeal to every kid!
Celebrate STEM Achievements
One of the best ways to keep your child interested in a subject is to celebrate their wins!
A STEM victory doesn’t have to be an A+ on a math test or a blue ribbon at the local science fair. Make time to appreciate your child’s smaller efforts, too, like an improved grade or an interesting scientific observation.
There are lots of great ways you can do this, from fun outings to rewards around the house. No matter how you choose to celebrate, your child will appreciate the recognition for their hard work and dedication to STEM topics. And it just might encourage them to keep going on their STEM journey!
KiwiCo crates are another excellent way to inspire positive vibes, because each crate contains everything your child needs to build their own, complete project.
Since the crates are child-centered, you’ll be able to take a backseat as your young researcher takes ownership of the entire endeavor. They’ll have everything they need to take their project from start to finish.
If they experience setbacks as they work on their project, remind your kids that these hurdles are learning experiences, too. Celebrating effort – not just end results – helps kids learn that they can overcome challenges by working hard.
KiwiCo crates are expertly designed to be rigorous (but age appropriate), so your child will definitely feel excited when they finish their creation.
Celebrate this victory by snapping a photo and sharing on KiwiCo’s Instagram page, or simply by placing the finished product in a special area of your home.
When you let your child know that you see and value their efforts, you build their confidence and send the message that their work matters.
This is an important part of helping your child maintain motivation for any subject, including those related to STEM.
Keep Leveling Up with STEM
One of the biggest motivation killers is letting a subject get stale.
Since STEM is all about innovative answers to ever-changing questions, it’s important to keep the subject matter fresh!
Remind your child to observe nature and technology with fresh eyes. Prompt them to ask new and exciting questions, rather than to just fall back on the “same old, same old.”
Sometimes schools are forced to rely on a fairly set routine. It’s no surprise that kids might feel bored when their only exposure to the subject is the same textbook drill or worksheet page.
Mix things up by adding in other STEM materials and projects.
KiwiCo makes it easy to keep your child’s interest. Not only is every monthly crate different (and hand-selected by a team of experts), but you’re also able to switch lines at any point during your subscription.
This means you might get a crate from the Yummy Line one month, allowing your child to explore a fun recipe while learning about chemical reactions.
By the next month, if you’re noticing that your child is getting more intrigued by technology, you can switch it up and try out a Maker crate, for a project focused on engineering and design.
There’s no additional cost for switching lines, which makes it extremely convenient to keep playing around and rotate through all of the unique STEM projects KiwiCo has to offer.
By changing things up, you’ll help your child’s interest and skills continue to evolve and grow.
A Final Word on Getting Kids Excited about STEM
The benefits of STEM education for kids are innumerable. From helping them build critical skills for the job market of the future to fostering their creativity and critical thinking skills, STEM education can go a long way to helping your kids be better, more innovative thinkers.
All of these STEM strategies are aimed at helping your child tap into their own natural curiosity and ability.
Give your child every chance for success by keeping the subject matter hands-on, connecting STEM to the real world, celebrating victories, and making sure the material is fresh and engaging.
While they may not grow up to have a career in STEM, you’ll never regret giving your child the opportunity to learn, observe, experiment, and grow.
Have any questions about our tips for getting kids excited about STEM education? Have your own tips to add? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!