The experiences that children go through in the early years shape their way of thinking tremendously as they grow. Preschoolers are in a constant mode of fearless exploration and it is crucial to keep stimulating that sense of curiosity and wonder and not quash it. One of the best ways to achieve this is through STEM-based activities.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. You may ask us, isn’t this too much for a preschooler?
When it comes to the early years, STEM activities are not about conducting experiments in a laboratory, wearing a lab coat or understanding the mechanics of a car, it is about encouraging them to build a scientific temperament, where they observe things keenly, find solutions to problems through trial and error, persist relentlessly and experiment fearlessly. This opens up a young child’s mind towards several possibilities without being bogged down by the fear of the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of something. It is crucial, though, that STEM activities are designed for preschoolers in a developmentally appropriate way, aimed at piquing the curiosity of a child and not overwhelming them.
Why is Preschool STEM important?
You may ask us, how can STEM help preschoolers? Here are a few reasons why STEM is essential for preschoolers
It’s no secret that children are naturally curious about the world around them. They are always on the lookout for new things and often spend hours examining them. Let’s take an example. When children are out playing they may chance upon rocks of different sizes, seeds of different colours and shapes, peculiar-looking insects or leaves with different patterns and textures. They instinctively want to observe and examine them using all their senses. They notice similarities and differences, often come up with questions and discover new ideas along the way. This leads to inquiry-based learning which sets children up to be lifelong learners.
STEM learning provides ample opportunities for preschoolers to stay inquisitive and explore through the exciting process of trial and error, in other words, experimentation. This allows the children to enjoy the process without the fear of being right or wrong. Here are some STEM activities that encourage experimentation ;
- Making invisible ink with lemon and water
- Growing a plant on your own at home
- Making a rain cloud in a jar.
- Making a fizzy volcano.
- Figuring out what sinks and what floats
When children perform such experiments and activities, it helps them to learn through observation, critical thinking, hypothesis testing and problem-solving. STEM helps preschoolers to engage and learn with all their senses.
If you are looking for some fun STEM activities for your little ones, watch Kutuki’s story ‘Baithe Baithe Science Karien’, exclusively on the Kutuki app. Your child will have a blast trying out these exciting STEM-based experiments with Kutu and Ki.
Science is an important part of human development and progress. It is crucial that our future generations have a sense of empathy along with a scientific temperament to steer progress in a direction that is sustainable in the years to come.
Developing an appreciation for Science and Mathematics and establishing their relevance to our day to day life need not wait till someone is older. Starting these discussions and introducing these experiences early can encourage critical thinking, keen observation and empathy, a sense of persistence to solve problems and fearlessness to experiment and learn from mistakes.
STEM activities help children to observe, experiment, analyse and then arrive at a conclusion and enjoy the process along the way.
Leave your comments below and let us know if we missed out on any reasons why STEM is essential for preschoolers! For STEM stories, activities and experiments that are developmentally appropriate for preschoolers, download the Kutuki App now!
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