STEAM activities for kids – What are they and why do them?

What are STEAM activities?

The acronym STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. STEAM activities encourage children to combine skills from each subject.

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century! – Susan Riley, Arts Integration Specialist

Why are STEAM activities important?

World changing inventions and scientific discoveries come from the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. By encouraging our children’s love of these subjects we’re offering them the chance to change the world that they live in. They will be developing the skills to think creatively, problem solve and innovate.

We’re seeing rapid shifts in political and population trends and increasing pressures on resources across the world. These, together with technology’s relentless evolution, mean the long-term sustainability of our nation’s infrastructure depends on the next generation of engineers, scientists and designers. – Nick Roberts, CEO, engineering and design consultancy Atkins

Currently there is a skills gap. A study ‘Jobs of the Future’, from the Social Market Foundation found that there will be 142,000 new jobs in science, research, engineering and technology from now to 2023.  Current figures show there will be a shortfall in the number of graduates and apprentices available to fill these roles. For example, there will be a 40% shortfall in engineering.

Investments in infrastructure and the pace of technological innovation means growth in science, research, engineering and technology careers will continue to outpace other occupations. – Nida Broughton, chief economist, Social Market Foundation

So, it’s important, but how can we make sure that STEAM activities are fun?

Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes are designed to encourage children’s imaginations and sense of curiosity. Each craft and party box includes a variety of activities, which allow your child to discover, explore and create in their own way.

As well as being lots of fun, Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes also develop a range of skills.

Most importantly, the children had a massive amount of fun completing the craft activities. They were incredibly proud of their creations too (and rightly so!) – Georgina Durrant, SEN Resources Blog

Science

Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes encourage children to explore what happens if… and to develop their own hypothesis. For example when creating a coffee filter butterfly, children discover how the felt pen colours blend by dripping water on the filter paper. By delving their hands into the rainbow slime, they learn about non-Newtonian fluids. The inclusion of sensory activities lends itself to having discussions with your child about science. What do they think will happen? What happens if they do this instead? Did it turn out how they thought it would?

Technology

Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes don’t include pictures of what your child should make. I believe that pictures can limit your child’s creativity. You will find simple instructions though. Most of them don’t have to be followed. If you want to stick some eyes in the sky and a beard in the sea, go for it.

There are a few instructions that it’s best to follow though. Like the instructions for how to make your sensory activity. For example, following instructions for how to make spooky slime, or soil for wiggly worms. These hands on activities teach children how to follow instructions and understand sequencing in a fun way.

Engineering

Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes encourage children to use their imaginations, through the creation of collages and play scenes, such as a stormy sea. Making a rainbow spinner uses technical engineering skills in a creative way.

Art

The craft and party boxes develop a variety of art techniques. Whether that’s through learning a new art technique such as pointillismscrape painting, or exploring with textures; feathers, glitter card, tissue paper and sensory elements. Creativity is nurtured through open ended activities and process art.

Maths

The craft and party box activities introduce maths skills of problem solving, counting, measuring and shape. Your child might be working out how best to swing a rice filled tight to create a firework explosion, or counting beads to make a wiggly worm. They could be measuring how much water to add to slime mix, or cutting a circle for a rainbow spinner.

 

Conclusion

STEAM activities encourage children to become inquisitive about the world around them; thinking logically, to solve real world problems in a creative, innovative way.

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Other resources

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2 Comments

  • Karen | TwoTinyHands Posted June 14, 2018 5:52 am

    This is so important! In a world of such leaps in science and technology the new younger generations need to be interested in these subjects in order for us to continue moving forwards. Your party boxes really do sound ace! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

    • Debbie Denyer Posted June 21, 2018 10:40 am

      Thank you Karen. It’s great that there’s a focus on a more joined up approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths and that the importance of Art has been recognised too.

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