STEM careers – those in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – have seen increased attention and demand over the past few years, as the global economy shifts.
So how do you raise a young scientist, engineer, or technology enthusiast?
Here are a few tips.
Children are naturally curious, and almost every adult has been peppered with a series of “But why is the sky blue?” questions. It is important to think about your responses when answering your child. Think about how you can answer, and take the time to discuss the questions they ask. Even if you don’t know the answer, avoid the “Because it is” trap. Rather ask what they think, and explore the answer together by looking it up or experimenting.
Invite curiosity and investigation
Science and curiosity go hand-in-hand, and the process of “connecting the dots” is key to all STEM careers. Encourage and invite curiosity in everyday situations. Wonder aloud around your child, and ask them questions. “What do you think will happen if I mix this flour and this water?” “Would this float in the bath, do you think?”
Don’t immediately correct your child Let your budding scientist learn through exploration and trial and error. Rather than jumping in and correcting them, allow them to figure it out for themselves first. Ask the right questions to enable your child to make a discovery, rather than giving them the “right” answer.
Give them time and space to explore Homework, extra-curriculars, sports, video games… These “structured” activities can be a drain on children’s creativity and curiosity. Allow them unstructured play time to invent games, make mud-pies or build dams. And accept that your young scientist will likely get dirty in pursuit of their passions!
Make good use of technology Today, most of us hold the key to the entire sum of human knowledge in the palm of our hands. There are thousands of great apps for mobile phones for young scientists, thousands of educational YouTube channels, and the camera function to allow you and your child to record your scientific observations. Just remember – learning should be fun!
A great way to blend learning and play is through the Future Park installation at Silverstar, an interactive and other-worldly experience seen by more than four million children across the globe. Future Park’s fun, interactive activities will introduce your young ones to the marvels of technology.
The exhibition uses the child`s creativity in a virtual city, where they can play digital hopscotch, make music with symphony balls that change colour and sound as they move and practically see their digital drawings come to life. Future Park is open at Silverstar from 10am to 6pm until 8 April. Find out more here.