School breaks can be a great time for the little ones, until they get a serious case of cabin fever at the end of the break! It’s just a matter of time before you encounter a meltdown or hear another cry of “I’m bored! ”. Try one of these simple stuck-inside activities to keep the learning going while school is out.
There are a number of activities that can be used to help children develop the skills they will need for success in STEM categories (science, technology, engineering, and math), so your children can have fun while learning this winter!
Engage In Sensory Play
Children love to use their senses, and it is very easy to help them do this while working on their STEM skills at the same time.
If you have a basket or low-sided container, you can fill it with materials that come in a variety of shapes, textures, weights, smells, and sounds that are interesting to you. Are you looking for some ideas? Among the items you can use are a piece of crinkly paper, a wooden block, a lemon, a stuffed animal, and a pine cone. It is a good idea to help your baby explore everything that is in the basket and describe what he or she is doing, seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, or tasting as he or she explores. It is a fun way to introduce new vocabulary to your baby and teach them hand-eye coordination, which will help them build their brain!
Keeping Learning Rolling
There is a toy category called “things that go” that is a favorite toy category for toddlers, so take advantage of their interest and ramp things up for a simple STEM game! You can build ramps and roads of various heights and angles using blocks, boxes, and pieces of cardboard. Collect a variety of objects that will roll, as well as some that will not. Make sure you experiment with each variation and encourage your child to investigate how each thing goes or does not go, and how ramps can be adjusted to achieve the outcome you wish to achieve. In order to improve problem-solving and estimating skills, a little trial and error is necessary. By measuring how far objects travel when they zoom off the ramp, you can make this game into a math game!
Did you know that crafting is a STEM learning activity? It’s true! As kids tinker, build, create, and craft, they practice engineering through art! Whenever boredom strikes, let kids design, build, solve problems, and create while having fun. You will only need a few crafting supplies from around the house, such as construction paper, markers, fabric scraps, glue sticks, tape, scissors, recyclables, or old toys. Try your hand at crafting together or alone, but either way, notice how limiting your materials can lead to more opportunities for problem-solving and “aha” moments.
Students in elementary school are ready to grow their STEM learning skills by getting a better understanding of the science behind how our human habits impact the natural environment in which we live. Let’s take a look at how we can bring the conservation conversation home by introducing the idea that things that we usually throw away can be used again for the same purpose or even a brand new one. Take a few different containers out of the recycling bin and put them in a pile. Is there anything you found that your child can come up with a new use for? By giving your child a few crafting materials, he or she will be able to come up with something new on their own. When your child has completed his or her new invention, give them feedback just like engineers do when they complete it. Feel free to ask questions, offer suggestions, and of course, give it a try!