Children learn and grow their interest in the STEM skills while playing.
Free outdoor play is one of the first ways that children experience the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).
Have you ever watched a child play with sand? The simple act of cupping some sand into their hands and using it to form a mini sand-castle engages them in the STEM skills.
Here are the 5 core STEM skills that are taught with a bucket of sand:
They might add some water (1.Mixing & formulas), then scoop it up (2.Cause and effect), they hold it and feel it in their hands (3.Measuring and weighing), carefully place it and shape it (4.Balance and forming), then knock it over (5.Demolition)!
There you have it. Five of the STEM skills experienced in one simple act of play.
Now multiply this by all the things they do on one visit to the playground – climbing, jumping, running, sliding, launching, landing, swinging, discovering, hiding and so on.
Yet we so easily let them squander hours of their time with near meaningless screen play and digital entertainment that dictates the pace and duration of the excitement. Scientists have discovered, by the way, that is the big problem with so called “digital play” as opposed to traditional child’s play. That is, the device holds the upper hand, dictating the levels of excitement, reward and duration of the game.
This signals a major shift in the way we are allowing our children’s brains to be formed. Creativity goes down. Resilience goes down. The thirst for learning goes down.
Parents and grandparents can be glad there is a solution… Get them outside, away from the screens and take them to the playground!