Toddler STEAM activities with MOM and POP
STEAM –Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics - tall words, when we are talking toddlers ! Well, the term and its use are not new but of course, its common use by aware parents of kids has definitely picked up a lot now. However, in context of toddlers it still seems to be a misnomer to most.
Before moving on to implement it, let us first try to understand STEAM. It is much more than the acronym described above. For me STEAM is an approach, a thought process on how parents and other educators should be encouraging children to integrate knowledge across disciplines, to think in a connected and more holistic way.
STEAM originally STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has a huge advantage over plain STEM learning. The added A of Arts has opened up a huge new world of possibilities by integrating these STEM disciplines with real world practices of design and so much more.
Toddlers are very intelligent
people .They are experimenting
every day !😇😇😇
A rising number of people now believe
that early exposure to the STEAM approach can help their children establish a strong foundation in skills they need later on. So, what better age to start the STEAM approach than with your toddlers.
Before you implement the STEAM approach for your toddler remember:
- ·Your toddler is a natural explorer, so provide lots of opportunities for playful exploration. Let your toddler play. Let her be curious.
- STEAM for infants and toddlers should be a lot about providing multi sensory experiences in all that is STEAM. So Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, Touching and Smelling are all important.
- Technology is much more than just smart phones and other devices. In the very true sense technology , for any age is anything created by humans. Technology focus for toddlers should be crayons, paints, dough, cardboard etc.
- You must provide materials, safe natural and other environs for children to explore, discover and be curious.
· Both the parents DO join in the fun. Build your relationship with your child as a bonus.
· Connect the current experiences with your child’s previous experiences.
So now let’s get ready to introduce your baby/toddler to the power of creative exploration and problem solving that the STEAM approach gives us.
The best way to begin STEAM - Take children out into nature
- ·Once taken out anywhere be it a park or just out, the first thing your crawling baby or toddler is going to do is explore. Tap into that sense of exploration. Keep on talking about what you see, ask questions of your tiny researcher, encourage more exploration, provide several such opportunities.
- · Parks ,gardens not accessible? Make a start ! Plant in some pots or simply grow some seeds in a cup!
- Ask questions and build your toddler's confidence.
Questions to ask Ask ‘what’ questions. Such questions focus on what they are
noticing and doing . Questions like- ‘what’ are those ants doing? , ‘what’ is the shape of
this stone? encourage children to observe and communicate .
Questions not to ask Avoid ‘why’ questions. They imply that there is a correct
answer and shift the focus to being correct. Questions like ‘Why do birds have feathers?’
may not be answered or may discourage further exploration.
- · When out, encourage their natural curiosity for exploration. Let them collect leaves, seeds, stones or even maybe small worms in a tiny box or whatever reasonable catches their attention. While collecting, go on musing aloud about the number of objects collected, things you see, look at different designs/patterns in nature.
with a magnified side for observation , lenses and sun filters at-
You can also go the full hog with fascinating bug catcher viewer sets with butterfly net
Found these to be little expensive however.
· Augment all this with beginner nature picture books and few videos (plenty of excellent toddler videos available on YouTube-If required suggestions can be provided.). Thus, same ideas are experienced from a variety of sources.
· Allow your baby (even a 6-7 month old baby) to touch and feel different textures - leaves, soft flower petals, rough cloth , to listen to sounds and thus experience STEAM. Make her treasure nature rather than to ravage it.
This, was the first post on Toddler STEAM activities with Mom and Pop. There is a lot more to explore - numerous multi sensory , maths, science and other experiences waiting to be undergone with your toddlers. Will be back soon with more on this .Till then break away from passive instruction and allow play and investigation.