Enjoy Science with the Kids and with STEM Activities

Two focuses of my blog are General Education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). While some students are going back to schools, many are still doing their schooling at home. In some instances, parents are challenged in terms of conducting science experiments at home with their students. The following guest post is entitled, Enjoy Science with the Kids and with STEM Activities.

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Everyone has had to adjust these days. Due to the extended quarantine measures against COVID-19, parents are working from home and so are the kids. It has been a year since the pandemic; by now, parents have somehow adjusted to holding school at home. But there are always new ways to liven up your kid’s in-home schooling experience.

To inspire creativity, parents are holding piano lesson instructions, scheduling reading time or coloring with the kids. But if you’re planning to hone their skills in science while tapping into their sense of wonder, integrate STEM into their program.

The integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities do more than hone the scientific and deductive skills of your child; it also promotes interactive and meaningful learning experiences for young children. STEM activities give your kids educational opportunities to solve problems, think creatively and discover the world on their own.

Make schooling more fun this year by incorporating the following STEM activities in their usual school day at home.

Build a Balance Scale

For this activity, you’ll need a plastic hanger, string and some cups. Create a hanging balance your children can use to experiment with weights. If you have older kids, have them build the balancing scale. Let the younger siblings watch.

To encourage interaction during the experiment, ask questions like “How many LEGOs does this doll weigh?” Add variety to the activity by sorting by materials or by shapes. If your children need to weigh items for their assignments, you can use this STEM project, too.

Create Craters

Take your child to space and still stay at home by making craters with flour, Play-Dough, weighted balls and rocks. Sphere up some Play-dough to represent the moon and add rocks to create craters. Explain that craters are the result of comets and asteroids. Invite your kids to make craters with the rocks and other materials on their moons.

For the younger kids, fill your sensory bin with flour and have them drop different sizes of balls into the bin to create craters. Compare the craters’ sizes.

Make Magnetic Slime

Children are all about slime. Also, homemade slime activities are staples for many teachers and parents looking a fun science experiment. This activity adds a dash of science by adding magnets and iron oxide power into the mix. To achieve the right slime consistency, you’ll have to add more liquid starch or glue. Once the starch is ready, you’ll need a strong magnet (preferably a neodymium magnet) to play with the slime.

This science experiment serves as a conversation starter for children who have questions about how magnets work.

Build Some Jellybeans

Introduce the kids to simple engineering with some jellybeans or large marshmallows and toothpicks. Connect the jelly beans and toothpicks and ask your child which of the shapes stack well, hold together or are more interesting to look at.

This activity serves as a simple introduction to the thought, technology and design behind structural engineering. Make it more interesting by challenging the kids to build a specific structure or their jellybean home.

Enjoy Explosions with a Lunar Volcano

Take kids to see some moon volcanoes by making your own. All you’ll need are baking soda, black paint, cookie sheets or trays, vinegar, and squeeze bottles. Mix the baking soda with black pain. You can also add some glitter. Spread the mixture on the cookie sheets or trays before filling the bottles with vinegar.

Next, have your child draw and make craters on the moon. During this experiment, explain to them how scientists believe that volcanoes erupted on the moon’s surface. Let the children create their eruptions by dropping vinegar into the craters. Discuss the chemical reaction with the kids after.

Pipe Cleaner Counting

For children who are just learning how to count, understanding the increase in numbers can be confusing. Simplify math with some help from beads and pipe cleaners. These items can help the kids learn how to count while visualizing how numbers increase in size.

Take small pieces of paper and label each pipe cleaner with a number. Next, have the kids arrange the pipe cleaners in order (from greatest to smallest or vice versa) while stringing the correct number of beads. To improve their memory, have them count aloud.

STEM Projects Liven Up School Days

Now that you have more ideas on simple STEM activities for children, you are well-equipped to help the kids explore science, technology, engineering and math. There are many other STEM activities available for all ages. So, have fun exploring with your kids at home!

How To Make Christmas Fun For Kids This Year

Two focuses of my blog are Health/Wellness and Home/Living Discussions. With Covid-19, this has been an unusual year where everything has been impacted even our holidays. The following contributed post is entitled, How To Make Christmas Fun For Kids This Year.

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Christmas will always be a fun time for children, but sometimes the magic can be forgotten a little as adults try to make sure everything is ‘just so’ before the big day. Although this is necessary, it can be hard to get everything done and make sure the kids are entertained not just on Christmas Day but in the days (and maybe weeks) leading up to it.

This year especially is potentially tricky; you may not be able to see friends and family, and children may start to become frustrated because the things they would typically do each Christmas aren’t available.

Children are only little for a short time, and it’s important to make sure every Christmas is the best it can be, including this one. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to cause you stress or put you under pressure. There are many activities and fun traditions that kids can join in with that will give you time together or apart (depending on what you need to be doing) and ensure they have a Christmas holiday they’ll always remember. Read on for some great ideas to keep the magic alive for the kids this Christmastime.

Image from Pixabay

Make Ornaments

You can never have too many Christmas ornaments, and if you want to give the kids something to do that will keep them – and you if you want to join in – occupied for a while, and give you something lovely to hang on your tree year after year, making ornaments is a great choice.

You can even mix this idea up with a scavenger hunt so that the children have to search around the house for the items they need to make the decorations with. They can use natural items such as pinecones and twigs or any leftover materials such as cardboard, ribbons, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, and more. This should be a cheap but fun activity for everyone.

Enjoy A Party

Restrictions might mean that parties can’t take place in the way they usually would, but that doesn’t mean there are no parties to be had, and the Christmas season can be a jolly one when you think a little more laterally.

Using video calling technology such as Zoom means your children can ‘meet’ with their school friends to have a great online party. You can organize this yourself and plan out games and other activities for everyone to enjoy, or you can hire someone to do it for you. You can even pick a theme such as a Zoom magic show that will keep everyone happy for a while and give them a lovely boost of Christmas spirit as they can see their friends and interact with them even if they can’t meet up in real life. This idea can even be used for adult parties too, and your office party will really be livened up with a magician on Zoom.

Try Baking

You don’t have to be an amazingly skilled baker to have fun in the kitchen. You don’t have to have any skills at all, as this particular way to make the kids happy is all about enjoying yourself and laughing together, rather than creating a masterpiece of baking prowess.

Make sure you set aside plenty of time for this task, as baking can often take longer than you think it will, plus you’ll need to plan so you can get the ingredients you need to create each baked item.

Ask each family member to choose one thing they would like to bake, and then you can plan ahead. On the day itself, don’t be too strict about things, though; it’s good to let loose and experiment a little, and if the cakes and sweet treats don’t look exactly like the recipe says they should, it really doesn’t matter as long as they taste good (and even if they don’t, if you all had fun it was worth every second)!

Christmas Movie Day

One thing that will never change when it comes to Christmas is all the great movies you can find around the theme. Whether it’s Elf, The Polar Express, Home Alone, Miracle On 34th Street, Santa Clause the Movie, or any of the thousands of other examples, taking a whole day off work to be with your kids and enjoy the magic and fun that a good Christmas movie can offer is something they will never forget.

Make it even better by adding snacks like popcorn or getting pizza delivered. Create a blanket fort to watch the movies in. Draw titles from a hat so you never know what’s coming next, or all take a turn watching. Wear your pajamas all day.

The point is, your kids will appreciate the time spent with you when you’re not distracted by work or trying to do other things. This is what makes Christmas special, this year and every year.