Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — known collectively as STEM — has been the buzz phrase for educators for some time. But, with many school districts eliminating art, music and other humanities classes, there has been a recent push by educators to change the focus from STEM to STEAM, and add arts back into the mix for a more well-rounded education.
“Many experts agree that STEAM education is a great way to engage children of all ages in creative play, discovery and learning,” says Dr. Eric Klopfer, Platform Learning Expert.
Whatever the present academic focus of your local school district is, you can help support a more comprehensive education for your children at home, while making it fun. Here’s how to incorporate STEAM learning into your children’s playtime:
The school day may not offer daily opportunities for creativity to flourish, but you can turn the playroom at home into an artists’ studio. Keep on hand arts and crafts supplies such as glue, construction paper, glitter, scissors, string and paint.
Take a trip to a museum or gallery and learn about different artists and styles to get kids inspired.
Handing over your expensive, breakable mobile technology to your young children may not sound ideal for on-the-go learning. However, putting it into the toughest, kid-friendly case available and opening up apps about art and science may be worth the risk.
There are kid-friendly tablets out there preloaded with content that stress both STEM and arts. There are a ton of Android and Apple apps for coloring, painting, and music. Choose several and explore them with your children. You never know which one will be the key to unlocking their hidden artist or the style of art they enjoy.
Participation in music education has been proven to improve grades in STEM subjects. Not only that, it’s a ton of fun.
If your school offers opportunities such as band or chorus, encourage your kids to get involved. If arts programs are scarce, invest in a keyboard or guitar for the home. Even if private music lessons are out of the budget, there are plenty of online tutorials that can help with the basics.
While there’s no doubt that math and science comprehension are critical, education experts advise parents to support an interdisciplinary approach to learning that incorporates the arts as well.