As parents, many of us strive to provide our children with well-rounded experiences that, hopefully, aid them in their learning and understanding of the world. Following the STEAM model of education is a practical way of giving your preschooler (and older children) opportunities to learn a variety of skills across multiple platforms of education.
These positive, fun early experiences help to ignite a child’s natural ability and their love of learning. They enhance your child’s confidence and self-esteem, cementing the concepts of “I have good ideas,” “I can do it,” and, “I’m important.” And, of course, the shared fun you have with your child makes you closer and enhances your bond.
Following the changing of the seasons (fall, winter, spring, summer) is a great way to introduce or reintroduce the concepts of STEAM. As the weather cools and leaves begin to turn vibrant red and orange, let’s explore some ways to support our kids to learn STEAM concepts through fall fun!
What the STEAM?!
STEAM is an acronym for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Rather than teaching these subjects separately, STEAM aims to connect them in natural and organic ways. With its colorful leaves, plump pumpkins, and crisper weather, the fall season provides ample opportunities to learn more about STEAM subjects. But first, let’s look at the definition of each subject:
Science: The word “science” means “to know.” For kids, science is learning about the world around them through observation and experimentation; asking questions; learning through trial and error.. Learning even happens when there is an unexpected outcome. We can support our kids to learn that “mistakes” are really learning opportunities.
Technology: For STEAM activities, children may use technology to use a computer to copy down data or look for information about a topic.
Engineering: Designing or building objects. Learning happens through exploring and expanding an idea and then creating it in the real world.
Art: Painting, drawing, singing, dance, pottery, patterns, all connect the right and left sides of the brain and integrate a deeper learning.
Math: Counting, sorting objects, making patterns, shapes grow the analytical part of the brain.
FALLing in love with STEAM
Now that you have an idea of what STEAM is, let’s look at some ways you can use elements of the fall season to integrate STEAM concepts with your preschooler:
- Grow your own pumpkins and measure their growth over time.
- Compare pumpkins by finding bigger, smaller, longer, shapes and distinguishing characteristics.
- Make a pumpkin volcano using a pumpkin.
- Use a camera to take photos of leaves you see on a nature walk.
- Use a scanner to scan a leaf to your computer.
- Build a structure with toothpicks and candy pumpkins.
- Stack miniature pumpkins. Guess how many you can stack before the pumpkin tower topples.
- Make your own leaf blower using paper towel or toilet paper tubes.
- Paint white pumpkins.
- Create a colorful leaf collage.
- Make a flower or leaf pressing.
- Make up a song or poem about fall.
- Sort leaves by color or shape.
- Weigh or measure the circumference of a pumpkin.
- Bake pumpkin bread. Have your child help with measurements.
A STEAM education is great for young, curious minds because it allows them to explore and discover, problem-solve, as well as be creative—all while using a hands-on approach to learning. We don’t need to feel intimidated by the concepts of STEAM; it’s likely you are already supporting your child to learn these concepts just by playing and engaging with the world together. To quote Fred Rogers: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! please visit their website (https://parentingnow.org/) or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org