December 09, 2014
STEM Activities For Children
Getting your child or children interested in science and math from an earlier age is crucial to their mental growth and will help determine how well they progress in future educational goals. One great way to achieve this is through what are known as STEM activities -- a topic we will discuss in depth in today"s blog post.
What is STEM?
For those who don't know, STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and usually revolves around educational training or material for those subjects. The ultimate goal (aside from helping advance the educational foundations of each respective branch of STEM) is to create a competitive environment that will advance technology and scientific knowledge as a whole. Whether that be for a specific state, country, or globally, the core challenge is the same: to make learning interesting to the current and future generations.
STEM Activities for Children
Below is a list of STEM activities that can help nurture your child"s love of science, math, and engineering, while, at the same time, contributing to their early brain development.
Creating a Rainbow
One great chemistry experiment you can get your children involved in is creating a liquid rainbow. Not only does it look great, but it will teach your child about density and how certain chemical elements react to one another.
- A clear glass
- Food Coloring
- Light Corn Syrup
- Dish Washing Soap (choose a color, such as blue or green)
- Olive Oil
Squeeze some honey into the glass. Try to make sure you squeeze it more towards the center of the glass to avoid having the honey drip onto the sides of the container. Next, mix your light corn syrup with a food coloring in a separate container. Be sure the color you choose is different from the color of the dish washing liquid and the honey. Once mixed, carefully pour it into the glass container, on top of the honey. Use the same amount of colored corn syrup as you did the honey and, once again, be careful not to get any on the sides of the glass.
After the colored corn syrup is added, squeeze in the same amount of dish soap. Then, add food coloring to some water in a separate container and pour it into the glass with all of your other ingredients. Remember, the goal is to have different colors in the glass, so be sure to choose separate colors for everything. Finally, pour in your olive oil until you have a nice top layer.
When completed, you will have a glass with five different layers of colors stacked on top of one another. If this does not work the first time you try it, try it again, and only try to tilt the glass slightly when you add each liquid.
How It Works
This STEM project is all about density -- that is, the more molecules a substance has, the heavier it is. Here, a child can see that even though we pour the same amount of liquids in a glass, each type of liquid has a different density (a different amount of molecules). The denser liquids stay on the bottom, while the least dense floats on top. In this experiment, honey is the densest and olive oil is the least dense.
Other STEM Activities
The above chemistry experiment is just one of thousands of fun STEM activities you can get your child involved in. Others that you may be more familiar with include the old science fair project favorite, "The Baking Soda Volcano" or "The Baking Soda Bubbly Cauldron." Others include creating lemon juice rockets, or more engineering-centered experiments like building bridges or creating your own robot.
There are also many great STEM toys available, including LEGO kits (the architect series is a great one), Solitaire Chess, Hexbug play sets, Snap Circuits, and the GoldieBlox series of toys.