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Education: 10 Tips to Help Engage Your Kids in STEM Subjects

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Education—We’ve been talking a lot this summer about how to engage your kids more in science and other subjects and how to truly spark their interest and make learning fun and exciting (check out this post or this one for examples).

This is a subject many of our readers and tweeters are passionate about, and they report, overwhelmingly, that the best thing to do is to teach your children the right strategies (i.e., questioning, forming hypotheses, investigating), help them with the right resources (i.e., encyclopedias, Wikipedia, library, etc.), then either get down on your knees and investigate with them, or get out of the way.

In a MomItForward Girls’ Night Out Twitter party (#gno) a couple of weeks ago, in which experts from PBS Kids Dinosaur Train participated, tweeters provided many “on-the-ground” recommendations as to what homemade experiments, products, and online resources have worked for them in getting their kids more interested in “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.

10 Tips for Engaging Your Kids With STEM Subjects

  1. Find resources geared specifically geared toward girls and science/math. @maryheston  says “Teen girls who don't think they are good at math need to read Math Doesn't Suck. It changed my daughter’s life.”
  2. Make lava lamps with them. @carolinamama and @colosciencemom both recommend this recipe.
  3. Reference websites. Check out these blogs and sites: HomeschoolCreations.blogspot.com, SteveSpanglerScience (esp. the color changing milk experiment), PBS Kids Dinosaur Train activities, and Quirkles.com: Exploring Phonics Through Science.
  4. Start with something your kids like to do. @thirteeneducate says: “Start with something they do like, art, music, sports, and show them the science behind it. Appeal to their interests first.”
  5. Read books. Check out these books: How to do Science Experiments With Children and the Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do. @jamiemoesser (yes, that's me) highly recommends the latter.
  6. Build with your kids. If your kid is at all interested in building, consider helping them with a Rude Goldberg machine, says @carissarogers. Here are some ideas,
  7. Experiment with your kids. Stick a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave and see what happens. Really! @colosciencemom and @handsonaswegrow provided this “soap souffle” link and raved about the results.
  8. Make homemade play dough with them. @literacycounts provided this post about doing it.
  9. Involve kids in house cleaning. @shelleyellen recommends making involving kids in house cleaning by making our own cleaning supplies! See this EarthEasy post for how-to’s and why’s.
  10. Turn mushrooms into a science/art activity. @sarahlipoff did it and says it was “totally super cool and investigative!" Here’s her post about it.

Too many great tips were given to list here, but these should provide you and your kids with lots of science fun for weeks to come! Lab coats are optional!

How do you help engage your child in STEM subjects? What fun and educational experiments do you and your kids do at home to help them with science?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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