(StatePoint) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — known collectively as STEM — has been the buzz phrase for educators for some time. But, with many school districts eliminating art, music and other humanities classes, there has been a recent push by educators to change the focus from STEM to STEAM, and add arts back into the mix for a more well-rounded education.
Whatever the present academic focus of your local school district is, you can help support a more comprehensive education for your children at home, while making it fun. Here’s how to incorporate STEAM learning into your children’s playtime:
The school day may not offer daily opportunities for creativity to flourish, but you can turn the playroom at home into an artists’ studio. Keep on hand arts and crafts supplies such as glue, construction paper, glitter, scissors, string and paint.
Take a trip to a museum or gallery and learn about different artists and styles to get kids inspired.
Participation in music education has been proven to improve grades in STEM subjects. Not only that, it’s a ton of fun.
If your school offers opportunities such as band or chorus, encourage your kids to get involved. If arts programs are scarce, invest in a keyboard or guitar for the home. Even if private music lessons are out of the budget, there are plenty of online tutorials that can help with the basics.
Handing over your expensive, breakable mobile technology to your young children may not sound ideal for on-the-go learning, but there are durable tablets built for children that support learning apps combining STEM subjects with the arts.
For example, InnoTab MAX, VTech’s versatile 7-inch tablet, features access to more than 650 educator-supported apps, including hand-picked Android learning games and age-appropriate learning software and content through VTech’s Learning Lodge, as well as creative onboard apps such as Movie Maker and Art Studio. The apps feature a wide curriculum of language arts and reading, math, science, social studies, problem solving and creativity, that have been reviewed by a panel of education and child development experts.
While there’s no doubt that math and science comprehension are critical, education experts advise parents to support an interdisciplinary approach to learning that incorporates the arts as well.
“Many experts agree that STEAM education is a great way to engage children of all ages in creative play, discovery and learning,” says Dr. Eric Klopfer, member of the Expert Panel at VTech, creators of age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children.
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