There’s no doubt you’ve heard the word STEM being tossed around, it’s a hot topic in education, and an important part of our kids’ future. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, and is an essential part of educating and preparing kids for careers and life in the real world. Seeing as it’s so important, you might be wondering — how do you involve STEM in your day-to-day activities with your kids? And how do you get them interested in these important subjects?
We’ve found some great places to immerse kids and adults in STEM activities in Metro Vancouver and have some tips on how to incorporate STEM learning into your at-home activities.
Science World at Telus World of Science
What’s STEM about it: You’d be hard-pressed to find something that isn’t STEM-related at Science World. One of our favourite exhibits to visit is the Eureka! Gallery. It’s full of hands-on interactive elements that allow kids to get up close and personal with engineering and technology. Our kids can’t get enough of the Dyson Airflow wall, and we love it too — there’s something so fun about sending the little Ping-Pong balls flying across the room! Read about our latest visit. More information at scienceworld.ca
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
What’s STEM about it: Do you know how much engineering, technology, and math it takes to launch a rocket into space? What about the science behind life on Mars? In every corner of the Space Centre you and your kiddos will discover new STEM concepts and ideas. Their live science demonstrations in the GroundStation Canada Theatre are a must-do for any kiddo who dreams about outer space. Read about our latest visit. More information at spacecentre.ca
What’s STEM about it: Many educators are pushing for the addition of Arts education as part of STEM (often referred to as STEAM), and it makes complete sense — design, modeling, critical thinking, experiential learning, and problem solving are big components of art and, when combined with STEM education, provide a well-rounded approach to this sort of learning. It also tends to be the piece of the STEM puzzle that hooks kids. So, if engaging art is what you are after, head to the ArtStarts Gallery in Vancouver. The ArtStarts Gallery is the only free, public gallery in Canada exclusively dedicated to young people’s art. They provide weekly (free) workshops for kids on a variety of different subjects – from folk music to street dance to diaries and journals. More information at artstarts.com
Image from ArtStarts
Vancouver Public Library
What’s STEM about it: Aside from a multitude of books on STEM subjects (be sure to check out Andrea Beaty’s awesome Iggy Peck, Architect, Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Ada Twist, Scientist), the VPL also offers a ton of great STEM activities for kids. Check out their events calendar for LEGO builds, coding workshops, family board game afternoons, and more. The Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer similar events.
The Launchpad, Richmond Public Library
What’s STEM about it: The Launchpad at Richmond Public Library is a collaborative learning space all about Technology – you can build circuits, learn about robots, animation, and 3D printing. Explore the programs — there are workshops available for all ages and skill levels on 3D Printing, Animation & Design, Coding, Gaming & Apps, Robotics & Electronics, and Tech Basics. More information at rpl.yourlibrary.ca.
Image from Richmond News
STEM over Spring & Summer Breaks
If your kiddo has shown an interest in STEM education and activities, a weeklong Spring Break or Summer Break camp might be just up their alley. There are a ton of awesome STEM camps for kids, but here are a few to get you started — Bricks 4 Kidz, BrainSTEM Learning Canada, and Geering Up Engineering & Science for Kids at UBC all of great options for kids as young as 4 all the way up to teenagers.
STEM at Home
Incorporating STEM and STEAM fun into your playtime at home is a great way to get kids interested and learning while having fun. Dump out the LEGO bricks and see who can build the tallest tower without it falling over (also fun to do with books). Get experimental and make slime, a volcano, or check out these 10 science experiments you can eat from Mental Floss. When our kids want screen time, we love to play a few videos from SciShow Kids and Crash Course Kids (like one below, all about engineers). You can also buy awesome experiment kits like this Kitchen Science one from 4M — our 7 year olds favourite.
We hope these ideas inspire you to incorporate STEM fun into your family activities.
Yo, mama! Looking for more fun things to do in Metro Vancouver? We’ve got you covered:
- Spring Break activities in Metro Vancouver
- Indoor play places with a twist
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By: Michelle Hughes