Encouraging Kids Into STEM

I’m a big fan of encouraging kids into STEM subjects, especially girls as the industry is majorly lacking in women.  It’s an area that is so varied there’s something for every child to find exciting whilst also learning valuable skills and getting those little brains working.

All ages can get involved, you don’t need to wait until they do these subjects later on at school. Read on to find out how you can encourage your kids into STEM and what resources and activities you can do at home.

What is STEM?

If you’re not quite sure what STEM is, it’s basically anything that focuses on the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Why should we encourage girls into STEM?

All kids should get into STEM, they’re not just subjects that we should be encouraging our daughters to develop an interest in. However, the stats of girls getting into careers in these areas is worrying which is why I keep mentioning encouraging girls.

The proportion of women working in Core STEM occupations in the UK was just 21% in 2016 (as reported by Wise).

  • 18% of ICT professionals are women
  • 8% of Engineering Professionals are women
  • 41% of  Science Professionals are women

I’m all about Girl Power and these stats need to be much higher!

So, whether you have sons or daughters, here are some ways you can encourage them into STEM subjects. It’s so much fun they don’t even need to know it’s educational…

Disclosure: Some (not all) links below are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. However, I have only linked to products and resources which we’ve tried and recommend ourselves.

Science

There are so many science experiments you can do at home, and it’s a really fun way to spend time together.

We have a science kit as well as a book of 365 Science Activities and they both include loads of things you can do with ingredients that you can easily find around the house.

Here’s a couple of science kits similar to ours:

Encouraging Kids Into STEM | Digital Motherhood Encouraging Kids Into STEM | Digital Motherhood

Kitchen Science Kit £23 and Clementoni Science Museum Chemistry Lab £29.99

We also reviewed Whizz Pop Bang last year which is a great science magazine for kids full of activities, experiments and facts that any little scientist will enjoy looking through.

There are lots of places you can take kids to get involved in science. We’ve been to Rainbow Science and Vivacious Volcanoes workshops at the Science Zone in Bournemouth which were really good fun – definitely worth a look if there’s something similar near you. We’re even going back for Little H’s birthday party this year.

We also had a great day out getting hands-on at Winchester Science Centre a few weeks ago where there’s absolutely loads to do, and of course, there’s the Science Museum in London.

British Science Week is 9th-18th March so expect to see lots going on that week – you can download their activity packs here.

Technology

Technology is obviously big with kids these days already, with most using a tablet regularly. A popular subject at the moment is coding and it’s not as scary as it sounds if you don’t have any knowledge of coding or programming yourself.

We attended Bournemouth Uni’s BFX Family Weekend last year and it was amazing. A few hours packed with coding robots, playing computer games, doing stop-start animation and much more. If you’re nearby I definitely recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the 2018 dates.

Our afternoon at BFX introduced us to Scratch and we’ve been playing around with it at home. It’s completely free to use, all you need is a PC or Laptop. It’s really good fun – you can create your own little sprites (characters) and learn how to move them around using code. There are also various books available if you want extra help.

        

For older kids, especially Minecraft and Roblox fans, check out Code Kingdoms. You do have to pay a small monthly fee but it’s really worth the money. We did the free trial but it was a little bit advanced for Little H at the moment however, we will be going back once she has her head around Scratch coding.

I’ve also just heard about Code Club who run free coding clubs for 9-13-year-olds around the UK. Wondering if I could sneak in myself as Little H is too young!

Away from coding, you could try some stop-start animation. We bought the Stikbot Zamination Studio for Christmas and have had so much fun making our own little movies. You just download a free app onto your smartphone or tablet and away you go.

Engineering

Engineering can be a bit of hard one to think of activities to get kids involved with but there’s lots you can do.

Little H’s school had an engineering day where they made bridges out of various materials such as straws, pipe cleaners, plastic cups and building blocks. The parents went in as well and we had great fun trying to build bridges that didn’t collapse. LEGO is brilliant for anything like this but you can build a bridge or structure out of any household objects.

Goldieblox toys are fantastic for making engineering into a game. We have the Spinning Machine but there’s a whole range available. Each set comes with a story to give some context as to what you are trying to build. You follow the story and build as you go. It definitely gets their brains working to try and work out the best way to solve the problem.

A kit like Intro to Engineering or an Engineering Activity Book would be  a great present for a budding engineer, both have lots of hands-on experiments to try.

   

Mathematics

I think maths is one of the easier subjects to learn at home as there are so many activities and games you can play involving numbers, from counting blocks and pretend money to playing bingo. You can incorporate maths into almost any part of your child’s day.

If there’s a particular area of maths that you want to focus on then Twinkl is a great resource for worksheets and activities. You can also download free maths worksheets from MathSpere.

There are also so many learning resources and games you can buy to help your child with their numeracy skills.

   

Brain Box Brainbox My First Maths £12.99 and Maths Snap Card Games £13.99

Another great maths game is NumBugz which we reviewed last year and can be taken with you wherever you go.

For kids that like using the computer or tablets (pretty much all kids!) there are lots of great maths apps that turn numbers in games. We were given a login to Mathletics from school and are also currently taking a look at Smartick (review coming soon!)

 

I hope these ideas have given you some help with things you can do with your kids to get them interested in STEM subjects. If you have any thoughts or other suggestions for encouraging kids into STEM please feel free to add them to the comments section below.

Happy learning!

Sarah

Encouraging kids into STEM subjects | Science Technology Engineering Mathematics | Getting girls into STEM | Education | Home learning #education #STEM #homelearning #Homeeducation #science #technology #engineering #math
The ladybirds' adventures

20 thoughts on “Encouraging Kids Into STEM

  1. Jo - Cup of Toast says:

    Brilliant post! I really enjoy doing science experiments with my boys and looking at computing code with my eldest. I didn’t know about British Science Week, thank you very much for the tip! #Blogstravaganza

  2. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS) says:

    My sister is an engineer, and one of the very few women, which is good for her career!! It’s mad how we still encourage girls and boys into distinct fields of interest even nowadays. It’s great how many resources are available for them to encourage their interest though. #blogstravaganza

  3. Daydreams of a mum says:

    Brilliant post. My 14yo daughter is an IT whizz and wats to study it in college , youngest daughter is very into her maths at the min and think some of the ideas here might keep her interested , I especially like the engineering stuff #blogstravaganza

  4. viewfromthebeachchair says:

    This is so important to expose them to STEM. I encourage family members who are giving gifts to look in the STEM category. My little ones loves to figure things out. I want to encourage her little brain! #blogstravaganza

  5. Zoe says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the importance of encouraging our littles into these subjects. I’ll be looking into your recommendations, we’re always looking for activities that are fun and educational. Thanks so much for sharing and for hosting #Blogstravaganza this week! Xx

  6. Carol Cameleon says:

    Our 8 year old loves minecraft and is showing an interest in coding, which is good for me! We’ve had Whizz Pop Bang in the past too and it’s a great little magazine. I’m all for encouraging our daughter into STEM. #bloggerpinparty

  7. itsthespicybean says:

    So many good ideas here. I wish there had been a bigger focus on STEM subjects for girls when I was younger. Now at the age of 27 I’ve decided I want to be an engineer after much self driven curiosity about the subject. If I have kids one day (girls and boys!) I want to introduce them to a range of subjects, not the traditional stuff! You’ve given me loads of ideas for the future here, and for gifts for my friend’s little girl! #bloggerpinparty

Leave a comment...