It may seem silly to consider an infant or toddler’s career options when they are so young, but many educators and STEM enthusiasts believe that it is crucial and necessary to do so. According to the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) learning scientific concepts from a very early age can build the foundation for furthering knowledge throughout a child’s life.
Exposing infants and toddlers to STEM early in their lives unlocks the ability to think in STEM related ways and to become more comfortable and capable in that area.
Since playing is learning for infants and toddlers it seems only natural to optimize this play time by supporting STEM along with other elements of a typical early childhood classroom. Creating a STEM-friendly environment may be the first step in supporting a child’s STEM exposure. This gives children the opportunity to encounter STEM concepts on a regular basis.
How to create a STEM-friendly play environment:
Provide toys, sensory materials, math manipulatives and more that are developmentally appropriate and educational. Give children play time with these materials each day.
Rotate the materials so that children do not get bored or used to them.
Add New Things
Add new materials often for children to explore. Use this in conjunction with rotating materials for best results.
Extend STEM concepts to outdoor play by asking children questions, encouraging discoveries, and allowing them to explore their surroundings.
Use play materials and educational toys. Set up a weight and measurement center for toddlers with familiar toys and objects along with a scale and a ruler for exploration.
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