Here are a few ways you can spark your child’s interest in STEM at home, along with some tips on how to take those interests to the next level!
Get Started with Online Courses
If your child would prefer to learn to code, use Photoshop, or build a website from the comfort of home, there are a variety of fun and effective online STEM learning platforms. Get started with the free Code.org tutorials! Code.org features fun, valuable tutorials across a number of topics and activities. CodeAcademy, Khan Academy, and Scratch all provide excellent online learning options as well.
Create Excitement Close to Home
Getting kids involved in STEM could be as easy as heading down to your local library or museum, or participating in STEM activities and programs those organizations are offering. Find a STEM museum near you!
Maker Faires serve as collaborative showcases for passionate creators of all ages. Find a Maker Faire near you and ignite your child’s imagination. They’ll discover one-of-a-kind tech inventions and interact with talented, inspirational innovators.
Use Video Games as Education Tools
Yes, you read that right. Heard of Minecraft? Or Roblox? These games enhance life, school, and career skills, thanks to their ability to appeal to kids through fun, game-based creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration—and even business, math, and other aspects of STEM.
To get a deeper sense of this, sit down with them, watch them play, and get involved with what they’re learning and doing. By using video games as teaching tools, you’re utilizing an already-established interest to instill something new and beneficial -- similar to what you’re doing when sneaking vegetables into your child's favorite meal!
Want to continue your child’s game-based education? Consider enrolling your kids in summer STEM courses featuring those same games! iD Tech offers a number of different camp classes featuring Minecraft, Roblox, and more!
Check out these links!
These toys aren’t just fun -- they also provide hours of STEM educational value!
Cozmo is your child’s AI companion with a mind of its own! Cozmo relies on your child to keep it going by feeding its basic needs through maintenance, care, and play! The bot progresses with each interaction. What makes this even greater for STEM learning is that Cozmo maker, Anki, has also released a new Code Lab, giving kids access to Cozmo’s core functionality, which can be controlled through visual programming or Python for more advanced learners.
Another excellent STEM toy option is littleBits, offering easy-to-use electronic building blocks that teach children the basics of electrical engineering! If your kids like Star Wars, check out the littleBits Droid Inventors Kit, which allows students to learn circuitry and motors to power their very own Star Wars droid.
If that sparks an interest, check out iD Tech summer courses featuring Cozmo - Code-a-Bot: AI and Robotics with Your Own Cozmo - and littleBits--CreationLab: Inventing and Coding with littleBits.
If you give your kids the chance to teach or talk to you about what they’re learning, the odds of them wanting to learn more and retaining what they learn increase. You don’t have to leave the house to spark or enhance STEM learning, and you don’t need anything “extra” here -- simply have a conversation based on the things they are already doing. Add these tips to those above:
- When you give your child STEM toys to play with, play alongside them. Ask questions!
- If your child is working through online tutorials, hold them accountable for the time they’re spending and ask for updates, progress reports, and more.
- And of course, video games can be mindless at times, but with some conversation and questions, they can be the valuable tools you read about previously.
This role reversal will encourage kids to take ownership of their learned topics, and empower them as the “expert” who can’t wait to teach mom and dad something new!
If you do send them off for a week or two at a STEM camp like iD Tech, fully vest yourself in the experience. Have a conversation about what course they want to attend, and talk about how
learning those skills will better prepare them for school and future careers. Once camp is
over, talk about next steps with your child, and what the next stop along their coding, game
development, robotics, or design pathway might be, and how to best get there.
After camp, you can supplement your child’s learning with additional resources, like live, one-on-one college advising sessions with iD Tech instructors (certified by Synocate, a leader in college prep). In these sessions, students can spend an hour (or more) diving deep into high school course recommendations, the college application process, career paths, and more, all with experienced, passionate, tech-savvy iD Tech instructors who have gone through it themselves and are eager to share their knowledge.
Exclusive to Westchester NY Moms readers, receive $75 off when you register with code WNYMOMS18 before 5/31/18!
Why iD Tech?
iD Tech has been the #1 summer STEM program for 20 years, with 350,000 students passing through their programs.
Students ages 7-18 learn to code, design video games, produce videos, mod Minecraft, create with Roblox, engineer robots, model and print 3D characters, work with AI and machine learning, build laptops, learn about cybersecurity, and more!
Programs are held at 150+ locations nationwide, with many convenient to Westchester residents, including Manhattanville, Sarah Lawrence, and Fairfield University, and others nearby at NYU, Columbia, NYIT, Marymount Manhattan, and SUNY New Paltz.
iD Tech students often go on to launch startups, found nonprofits, and land dream internships and jobs at companies like Facebook and Google. Get inspired by these awesome success stories.
Different program options include iD Tech Camps (weeklong, co-ed, 7-17), Alexa Café (weeklong, all-girls, 10-15), and iD Tech Academies (2-week, teen-only, 13-18).
Courses sell out quickly, so get started today. Visit the iD Tech website or call (888) 709-8324 for personalized course recommendations.