If you’re a parent who is interested in adding STEM activities to your home, there is no need to be afraid or worried that you can’t do it. Anyone can teach a STEM lesson at home as long as you learn just a bit about STEM!
I’m not a professional teacher (although I was a sub for a while!), and we do STEM at home all the time. The secret to teaching STEM at home is to share excitement for the process.
It’s okay if you don’t know everything, and it’s OK to learn along with your child! Keep reading to learn how to teach a STEM lesson at home.
Don’t miss the complete quick start guide to teaching STEM at home!
What is STEM?
You can read about why is STEM important here but in general, a STEAM lesson is simply a lesson or activity that includes elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and design.
In a STEM lesson or STEAM lesson, children work to use all elements of STEM thinking to create solutions and solve problems. STEM activities help children think creatively and learn to become innovators, critical thinkers, and problem-solvers.
A child who does hands-on STEM activities is a child who embraces science and math in the future and is well-prepared to flourish in the science classroom at school.
How to Teach a STEM Lesson at Home
STEM challenges are open-ended, but they should challenge children to think outside the box and use STEM thinking. When you create your own STEM lessons at home, look for these elements:
Include Hands-On Activities
STEAM projects have open-ended solutions to challenges or problems. Each STEM challenge or lesson should include a hands-on element that children can explore using the tools given. You’ll find many schools and families using STEM bins, which contain tools and manipulatives to solve common STEM challenges.
Our Favorite STEM Challenge Kits
hand2mind STEM Bins Kit by Brooke Brown for Kids (Set of 12) – 18 Different Manipulatives, 8 Challenge Yourself Cards, 8 Writing Prompt Cards, and Teacher GuideStraw Constructor STEM Building Toys 300 pcs-Colorful Interlocking Plastic Enginnering Toys- Fun- Educational- Safe for Kids- Develops Motor Skills-Construction Blocks- Best Gift for Boys and Girls …EMIDO Building Blocks Kids Educational Toys STEM Toys Building Discs Sets Interlocking Solid Plastic for Preschool Kids Boys and Girls, Safe Material for Kids – 120 Pieces with Storage BagCarson Dellosa STEM Challenges Learning Cards (140350)EMIDO 480 Pcs Building Toy Building Blocks Bars Different Shape Educational Construction Engineering Set 3D Puzzle , Interlocking Creative Connecting Kit, A Great STEM Toy for Both Boys and Girls!Elongdi Magnetic Building Blocks, [ 132 Pieces ] Lengthen Building Sticks Set, Magnet Stem Toys Set Non-Toxic Building 3D Puzzle Boys Toys for Kids Boys Girls 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Years Old +Building Blocks 500 Pieces Set, Building Bricks Creative DIY Interlocking Toy Set Random Colors Mixed Shape ABS Puzzle Construction Toys Set for Kids and Toddlers Age 6+ (500 PCS)Storex Flat Storage Tray with Lid, Letter Size, 10 x 13 x 3 Inches, Green, 5-Pack (62539U05C)Roylco Straws and Connectors Building Kit – Pack of 230 – Assorted ColorsMakerSpace Basic Supply Easy PackTASK CARDS EXTENSION PACK FOR STEM BINS®/STEAM BINS® for K-5th GradeSuperScience STEM Instant Activities: Grades 1-3: 30 Hands-On Investigations With Anchor Texts and VideosMagicJourney STEM Toys Engineering Set – Building Toys – Stem Learning Toys for Girls & Boys – Best Kids Gift Ages 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Year-Old – Classroom Quality Building BlocksSmart Builder STEM Toys Tube Locks Building Blocks Construction Set 64 Piece Tubular Pipes Set with Wheels, Whistles, and Plastic Container Educational Engineering Toy for Kids Girls and BoysPlay22 Building Toys For Kids 165 Set – STEM Educational Construction Toys – Building Blocks For Kids 3+ Best Toy Blocks Gift For Boys and Girls – Great Educational Toys Building Sets – Original
Real-World Problem Solving
STEM thinking is all about creating new solutions to problems in our world. You can apply this thinking to your STEM center activities at home as well. All you have to do is include projects that have real-world applications.
For example, use LEGOs to build a model of a system that purifies water, or come up with a design for a product that prevents animals from getting hurt by plastic pollution.
Not every STEM challenge has to include a real-world application, as learning the concepts of basic scientific thinking and how the world works is also important. But a few of the challenges in your STEM center at home should have real-world applications.
Let Your Kids Lead the Way
Stock your STEM center with tools and STEM challenges that spark the interest of your children. If you have a child obsessed with robots, for example, have a few different robot activities and supplies in your STEM center.
If your child loves plants and growing things, you can give your STEM center more of a gardening and botany theme.
Children will want to dive into extra learning on things that they find interesting, but if you stock your STEM center at home with chemistry sets and challenges, and your kids just want to play around with electric circuits, then your STEM center will go unused.
Ask your kids to help you pick out things to put in your STEM center and you’ll all be much happier.
Make Room for Questions
Kids are naturally curious, so take advantage of that!
Encourage your kids to ask questions and try different versions of things in your STEM center. Avoid adding things that have right and wrong answers. Look for STEM supplies that encourage questions and exploration. This is how children learn best and they will retain a lot more information when they ask a question and come up with their own answers.
Even if their conclusions are wrong in a traditional sense, there are no wrong answers in the STEM center!
Hands-On STEM Activities to Try at Home
If you are ready to start adding STEM activities to your home, first read how to set up a STEM center at home. Then when you’re ready, try our ultimate list of STEM activities for kids, or try some of the activities from these lists: