Encouraging STEM Learning at Home: Tips for Parents

It’s no surprise that STEM fields are growing rapidly in today’s technology driven world. Here’s how parents can encourage STEM learning at home!

The importance of an early start

While it’s never too late to learn a new skill, there is something to say about getting a “head start.” Studies examining current STEM professionals – like people who write code – indicate many successful developers have a long history with STEM. Research shows that almost half of middle-aged developers started coding before they were 16 years old, and 1 in 4 wrote their first piece of code before they even learned to drive! There’s certainly no debate – engaging in STEM activities from a young age can be highly beneficial down the road.

One of the best things about STEM skills is their accessibility. In many cases, no monetary investment is required to get started! For instance, virtually every computer or laptop manufactured in the last 30 years includes all the software required to create a basic HTML website – right out of the box.

It’s important to keep in mind that programming languages (code) are just that – languages. As a result, there are countless free courses, tutorials, and guides available on how to learn and use them. You don’t have to pay anyone to use a language, and the same goes for writing code! 

The majority of STEM skills are knowledge-based and not reliant on expensive equipment, and it is for this reason these skills are both easily accessible and highly prized. Here’s how to get started encouraging STEM skills at home!

1. Toys and activities.

Perhaps the best way to introduce STEM concepts to younger children is through toys. It’s easy to forget just how much toys can teach us! Take LEGOs for example – although they appear to be simple building blocks at first glance, these studded bricks introduce children to design principles, structural stability, simple machines (like levers and pulleys), and even robotics. We can’t stress this enough – we simply love STEM toys! Here are some great suggestions to consider. 

2. Start a STEM project.

As we mentioned earlier, there are a vast amount of free learning resources available online to anyone who wants to dive into STEM topics. For example, W3 Schools has provided their free HTML course for decades now – and it continues to be a great step-by-step tutorial for designing your own website. Whether your child is interested in building something at home or learning to code themselves, there’s a lot of great STEM projects you can start without leaving the house! Check out Tutor Doctor’s suggestions for some awesome computer STEM projects to try at home.

3. Inspire them.

A great way to spark an interest in STEM subjects is to show how these skills are applied in the real world. One approach is to help students explore current, in-demand STEM careers. Another is to introduce them to inspirational people in the world of STEM – including historical figures! Here are some great resources to get started:

Looking for more tips? Check out How to Spark Interest in STEM Subjects!