The Roots of STEM

By Tori Hamilton, Children's Library Associate, Glenpool Library

Between storytimes, summer reading programs, and the extensive research about bedtime reading routines at home, parents of young children don't have to look far to find support when it comes to instilling a love of reading in their toddlers. 

But what can you to do make sure your children grow up loving science and math as much as they love reading? Here are 6 easy ways to incorporate STEM concepts into fun, everyday activiites.

1. Cook dinner together. Cooking with children isn't just good bonding time. It's the perfect opportunity to introduce weighing, measuring, and some basic chemistry ("If we forget the salt, the cookies won't taste right!"). Not sure what to make? The library has plenty of cookbooks in the children's section full of healthy, easy, and delicious recipes for budding young chefs to try.

2. Sharing is math. Slicing homemade pizza? Talk about fractions. Dividing Halloween candy? Even children who can't count yet can understand the concepts of greater than, less than, and equal to. Talk through these activities as you do them, saying things like, "Now the pizza is in six pieces. Three sixths of the pizza is the same as half," or "There are four chocolate kisses here. That's enough for each of us to have two."

3. Take a walk outside. Every great naturalist started their career by observing the world around them in wonder. Encourage your child's natural curiousity by taking a nature walk. Point out the bugs and animals you see. Pick up strange rocks together. Tell him or her the names of the flowers in your garden. For a more in-depth experience, visit the Tulsa Zoo or the Oklahoma Aquarium; remember, children who complete the library's summer reading program  will receive free passes to both.

4. Capitalize on their love of Star Wars. Sure, it's science FICTION, but that doesn't mean you can't use it to encourage an interest in science FACTS! Check out library books on space, spaceships, or astronauts to encourage your child's dreams of visiting a galaxy far, far away. Don't forget to visit the Tulsa Air and Space Museum (another place you can visit for free by completing the summer reading program).

5. Plant a little seed. Did you know that several TCCL locations offer a seed library? Every library user can check out up to five varieties of seeds at a time. Use them to help your child start a little plant in a pot, or let your child choose a vegetable to plant and care for in a family garden. Talk about the life cycle of plants and how they grow.

6. Motivate your Master Builder. Legos, of course, have been inspiring young engineers for decades, and they're still just as popular today as they've ever been. Not only does the library carry a fantastic collection of Lego books, but several TCCL libraries also host Lego events. Just search "Lego" in the library's online event guide to find one near you!

Add new comment