Inside:  There are ways parents can strengthen STEM skills in their children.    If you want your children to develop their thinking abilities and succeed in the workforce, they’re going to need STEM skills. *There are affiliate links in the post.  If you click and buy I make a small commission but always at no cost to you.

There are ways parents can strengthen STEM skills in their children.  Having a strong background in scientific literacy is crucial in today’s world.  If you want your children to develop their thinking abilities and succeed in the workforce, they’re going to need STEM skills. That’s the acronym educators use for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

I have three boys.  All three of them are in STEM fields.  The oldest specializes in Road Ecology.  How do we stop animals from becoming road kill and in turn reduce the number of wildlife related road accidents?  Those are the problems he tackles.  Middle son builds satellites.  He is presently working on his Masters in aerospace technology.  My youngest is in his undergraduate getting a degree in Immunology with the hope of pursuing a Masters or Doctorate in epidemiology.  Quite the super important field in today’s world.

How I Gave my Kids a Lifelong Interest in Science

How did I get them interested in these fields?  We are a science family. My husband worked in the nuclear energy field.  I was a high school science teacher.  Most of our family vacations had a science or education twist.  We visited museums.  I had a membership to the Toronto zoo from before my kids were born and we spent many days of the year visiting.  As a science teacher,  I brought that love to my kids.  We created science experiments at home.  Fizzing and mini explosions were always favorites.

Living on a farm, it was easy to fit in science in our everyday activities.  A walk to the forest meant checking out tree species, flowering plant species.  We found tree frogs on the trees and we observed and talked about them.  I picked up a snake once to show my boys.  Oddly enough, they were terrified.  But they still looked, tentatively touched and learned something about a creature that lived in their backyard.

girl looking at Llama's are a farm activity- parents can strengthen their child's STEM skills

Living on a farm, it was easy to fit in science in our everyday activities.
Image by Chelsea Ouellet from Pixabay

Why Parents Should Strengthen Their Child’s STEM Skills

While politicians, teachers, and parents all sound enthusiastic about the importance of math and science, the U. S. and Canada have an uneven track record on the subject. More Americans are receiving graduate degrees in these areas, but U. S. students still rank low on international STEM assessments, and that’s especially true for girls.  According to government figures, women make up half the college-educated workforce, but only about one-quarter of the college-educated work force in science and engineering positions. Meanwhile, jobs in those fields are growing much faster than other occupations. Show your child that being good at math and science pays off. Try these tips for broadening their opportunities by strengthening their STEM skills.

Engineers consulting on a job

There are lots of STEM job opportunities like engineering.
Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay

Parents Can Strengthen STEM Skills in their Children at Home

1.Make it practical.

Science extends far beyond the classroom. Explain fractions and chemical reactions while you’re doing your grocery shopping or baking a cake.

2. Appeal to your child’s interests.

There can be a technological dimension to any subject that your child loves. Talk about how video replay systems work while you’re watching a sports game. Explain how musicians use computers to edit music.

3. Encourage hands-on learning.

Spark children’s interest by engaging them in fun activities. Wooden blocks can introduce kids to counting. Many interesting science experiments require nothing more than ordinary objects you have in your kitchen cupboards or garage.

4.Plan an outing.

Check your community calendars for enriching local activities. Visit the zoo to see how modern medicine is helping endangered species to breed. Attend a workshop at the natural history museum.

T rex dinosaur displayed at a museum.

Lots can be learned about dinosaurs by a visit to the museum.
Image by heimseiten_WebdesignKoeln from Pixabay

5.Browse online.

Many organizations produce STEM materials to share with your kids, including games and videos. Visit PBS, the National Geographic Society, and NASA for starters.

Parents Can Strengthen STEM Skills in their Children at School

1. Start early.

Studies show that girls have similar abilities to boys in science and math, but they may lose confidence in their abilities as early as elementary school. If your son or daughter is having trouble with Math or Science, work with them at home or hire a tutor.  It is so worth it.  When my youngest son just could not understand fractions in grade 3, we worked on the unit at home.  Just a few lessons daily or every other day made a huge difference.  His confidence soared and fractions were not a problem ever again.  Work with your daughters and sons before high school so they’ll keep the door open for academic options that lead to STEM careers.

Young child looking through microscope.

Start kids studying science as early as possible.
Image by Victoria_Borodinova from Pixabay

2. Talk with the teacher.

Many schools face a shortage of qualified STEM teachers, and the curricula may be limited. Ask your child’s teacher about what your school offers.  If the school’s resources are limited then supplement STEM education at home.  Mel Science (affiliate link) has kits in Chemistry and now in other areas of science.  They provide a lot of value and provide everything you and your child need to perform a couple of experiments.

3.Continue your education.

Naturally, you’ll be a stronger advocate if you brush up on your own skills. Invite your children to teach you some geometry while they’re doing their homework. Read the science section in a major newspaper at least once a week.  Start a science or nature journal with your kids.  Explore some easy science experiments with them and you can both learn together.

4. Explore extracurricular activities.

Supplement your child’s classroom courses with explorer’s clubs and science camps. They may want to build their own robot or design video games. Group activities are also an excellent way for your child to connect with inspiring mentors.

Kids learning in the forest.

Outdoor education opportunities keep kids interested in STEM.
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

5. Discover resources.

Parents may be able to work together if tight school budgets are an issue. Research government grants for which your school may be eligible. Local businesses may want to become more involved so they can attract qualified future workers.

6. Discuss course selections.

One promising study found that children took more science and math courses in their last two years of high school if their parents received a couple of brochures about STEM. Simple interventions can have dramatic results.

Nature and science have always been part of my kids’ lives.  I remember vividly my oldest son coming home from an ATV ride.  He must have gotten too close to a mother deer and her fawn and experienced a high speed chase where the deer chased him home.  When he got home, he was exhilarated.  Later a friend came by asking if he could hunt deer on our property, my son said no right away.  All my boys have great respect for the wildlife and ecosystems on our 96 acres.  My oldest in particular has taken on this love in his career path.

You don’t need a huge farm to get your kids excited about nature and science.  Parents play a powerful role in their children’s education. Help your sons and daughters build a strong foundation in math and science so they’ll be ready to succeed in the workforce of the future.

Kids exploring science.