We often hear of the summer slide for students, but let’s talk about the winter slide! Although winter recess is a lot shorter than the summer, it can still be a great time to keep your child learning, exploring, and growing. Consider setting up your child to embrace and explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) over the winter break with these suggested family activities:
Visit museums, aquariums, or zoos. Many different places can stir a child’s attention towards STEM. Take a visit to many of Philadelphia’s museums including The Franklin Institute or The Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University to get your child engaged in different exhibits that may stir their curiosities. Because there are a variety of topics that are covered, it can give room for you to see which topic your child is truly interested in. Aquariums or zoos can also be great places for a student to ask questions about the life cycle and natural world around them. The ACCESS Philly program allows families with PA ACCESS Cards the opportunity to attend many of these cultural institutions for just $2.
Explore nature. Philadelphia has dozens of public parks and trails that are perfect for families to spend time outdoors together (just be sure to bundle up this winter!). Not only are there health and wellness benefits to spending time outdoors and in parks, there is so much to discover about local ecosystems and animals while exploring nature.
Allow your child to build. Give your child opportunities to use different types of materials to build whatever they want. A castle or cave out of a cardboard box? A volcano out of baking soda and vinegar? Legos as a part of their holiday gifts? Give your child materials to explore and be able to build freely. This will reinforce not only scientific discovery, but also skills in engineering, physics, and geometry.
Play critical thinking games. Games such as chess and puzzles can promote critical thinking that is crucial for all STEM subjects. Play games that require strategies or require your child to think about how to build processes and give space for them to analyze and build critical thinking skills.
Even in engaging with science, technology, engineering, and math, students can display and use much creativity. Be sure to give room for your child to freely discover, ask questions, and find strategic ways to answer their questions!
Read more here for tips in STEM: 3 Secrets for STEM Success