Digging into STEM. Your Baby is a Budding Scientist!
posted by: Guest Blogger
Curiosity is an attribute we must cultivate in our children. Early discoveries, trial and error and tactile explorations are actually the building blocks of science, technology, engineering and math STEM for short. The world needs more creative people and believe it or not, there are ways s to aid your child in developing these valuable skills before they can even walk! The vast majority of brain development takes place during the first three years of life, so why not pave the way for your baby to become a biochemist while we’re at it. We’ve got some tips and information to help you understand and encourage your baby’s STEM capabilities.
The first year presents tremendous opportunity to get your child thinking critically in their unique way.
- You’ve probably noticed that when babies interact with their parents, they stare. This powerful stare indicates that she is seeking information. As she continues to grow, she starts to mirror behavior.
- Have conversations with your newborn and respond by mimicking her sounds and facial expressions. Describe her actions out loud as often as possible.
- Rolling, crawling and moving around are all trial and error for your baby so make sure he has room to move. Your soon-to-be toddler is learning science!
Here are some tips to make your toddler tech-savvy with less reliance on screens and TV!
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), even educational programs on TV aren’t as enriching as real life, such as figuring out how a toy works, playing games, or singing songs and dancing with you. That doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t serve a purpose. Learn how to leverage screen time to build your relationship with your child and help her gain skills.
- Children are curious and they want to use all their senses to explore the environment. Go out in nature and find shapes and textures in your child’s environment. Offer three-dimensional shapes for her to explore and sort.
- Purchase or make your own toys that let children create patterns, build, count and sort. Focus on toys that develop children’s physical, cognitive, academic, musical and artistic skills. Select puzzles with pictures that can probe deeper thinking and question development.
- Cut or tear out the pages from an old calendar. Mix up the months and hand the stack of pages to your child. Ask your child to order the months from January to December by laying the pages out on the floor. Which month goes first? Then which one? Which month is last?
Help your preschooler understand basic science principles with these activities and concepts!
- Estimating how much a container can hold then measuring to find out teaches children basic skills that apply in math and in science. Hands on activities like this help children understand underlying concepts such as volume and mass.
- Learning to assign one number to each object as you count is an important concept for children to grasp. Using children’s age as the basis for counting helps them develop this skill as they grow.
- You can use children’s fingers or familiar objects when you count. You can also put these items in two groups and add them together to practice simple addition.
- Learning about speed helps children understand their world. This PBS video shows how six different animals move slow, medium or fast. You can also demonstrate speed by playing a game like Simon Says with your child. Demonstrate slow, medium and fast movements when Simon says.
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