Keep Your Kids Interest in Science with Holiday Gifts

December 8, 2008

Do you have a kid that is interested in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)? Do you want to get your kid interested in these subjects?

When I was a child, I always had an interest in putting things together. I still do! I don’t know if it is a learned behavior or not. I loved puzzles. I wanted to help my dad put the bike (or anything) together. I saw my older brother putting together his toy model car and I wanted to do that! But that was a boy toy. I couldn’t play with it or get one for myself! Now, when I buy or someone gives me something that needs to be put together, I don’t go to sleep until it is. Just in case you’re wondering, I got BS in Computer Science and now I’m studying to be a High School Math Teacher.

I also collected bugs. Yes, I was a girl who collected bugs! I don’t remember why I started doing this. It may have been for a school science project and then I made it a habit. But, whenever I saw dead bugs around my house or on my way home, I picked them up and put them in a yogurt cup in the kitchen closet. They may even still be in my mom’s house! After a while, I was able to see the bones or interior structure of some of them. Even though it’s not what I studied, I love biology, the Discovery channels, all doctor’s programs on TV and nature.

My older niece got her first camera when she was in Kindergarten. It was a Polaroid. She kept on getting upgrades often, until she got a video camera, taped it to a remote control car, turned the camera on and off it went to record. We’re hoping she gets an engineering or a science related education. She still has a couple of years to think about it.

What are your kids into? What are you doing to keep them interested in STEM subjects?

dinoworks

One way to keep your kids interested in STEM subjects is by giving them games related in the STEM subjects they like. To find STEM related games, go into your favorite toy store web site. Look in the learning category and then in science and discovery. Then, it’s probably going to be divided into specific science categories. It may also have an option to select by gender but I don’t think it’s necessary to use this selection by gender with science “toys”.

Here are MY PICKS of toys that may get your kids interested in science at an early age or encourage them to pursue a science related career, if they’re already interested in science.

Subject

Ages

Toys

STEM

Babies & Toddlers

Blocks, Shape Sorters, Stacking Shapes, Farm Animals, Counting/Number Games

STEM

Preschoolers

Mazes, Puzzles, Towers, Legos, Counting/Number Games

Dinosaurs

4 to 10

Big Bucket of Dinosaurs

Nature, Physics, Chemistry, Air and Water

5 to 9

Little Labs: Stepping into Science

Geology

5 and up

The Young Scientists Set #2: Weather Station – Solids, Liquids, Gases – Volcano

Astronomy

7 and up

Planet Quest

Dinosaurs

8 and up

Dinoworks: Cast & Paint – 19″ Tyrannosaurus Rex Casting Kit

Anatomy & Biology

8 and up

Edu Science Human Body Learning Game with Bonus Stethoscope

Bug Science

8 and up

Backyard Safari Night & Day Bug Habitat

Chemistry & Physics

8 and up

Edu Science Junior Scientist Kit

Microscopes

8 and up

Edu Science Quick-Switch Microscope (comes in different colors)

Electricity

10 and up

Electronic Playground and Learning Center

Can you share with us how you got interested in science, technology, engineering or math or some of the related things you did as a kid?

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Astronomy Image Repositories for Teaching

October 22, 2008
Moons, Rings, and Unexpected Colors on Saturn

Moons, Rings, and Unexpected Colors on Saturn

As a former Kodak employee and a visual learner, I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures draw interest into almost any topic and at any age. They also raise curiosity in the unknown.

How can you explain to children the beauty of Saturn, of it’s rings, and of it’s moons without using a picture such as the one above? The look on their faces and the questions they come up with should be priceless.

Here’s a web page that has links to 61 web astronomical image repositories and has suggestions on how to start using them.

Images on the Web for Astronomy Teaching: Image Repositories

How can a teacher use this in the classroom?

How can parents use these pictures to generate interest in the study of astronomy in their children?