What is STEAM exactly? (other than what we see when water boils). STEAM is an approach to learning that incorporates the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
Children are capable of understanding STEAM concepts when they are presented as simple hands-on activities. Children are, after all, naturally curious, keen observers, and drawn to activities where they get to explore. I am sure every parent at some point has been asked the questions,“Why?”“How come?”or“What is that?” Children’s natural curiosity leads them to discover new things, invent and problem solve. They are quite literally built for STEAM learning!
You do not need to be a researcher, scientist, teacher or expert in any of these fields to do STEAM activities with children. All you need to do is build upon their natural curiosity and their fondness for play.
Introducing STEAM learning can be as simple as pointing out how things in our everyday lives work. For example, you can point out a magnet on a refrigerator and explain that magnets stick to metal and then you can explore other objects to see what the magnet will stick to.
You can introduce children to STEAM concepts and vocabulary around your house (baking), your yard (build a nature bridge), or your town (animal nest investigations). As an adult, your role is to provide the materials, experiences, and opportunities for children to explore, discover, and be creative. Ask questions like,“How does it feel?”“Does it smell?”“What do you see?”“Does it remind you of anything?”and“I wonder why it does that?”You do not need to know all the answers (we have the internet for that!). Use it as an opportunity to learn with your child.
Help your child explore their world by asking them questions, helping them to do their own research, letting them make discoveries, and solve problems. There are many wonderful STEAM resources online and at your local library. Many CBAL communities offer STEAM programs for preschoolers and school-aged children – keep an eye open this fall for STEAM programming in your community. So, jump on in and have fun with STEAM this summer! Here are some online resources to get you started:
Community Literacy Outreach Coordinator – Revelstoke
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy