Summer Break = Brain Powering Down
Many students—and parents—have already started to associate the key elements of STEM with difficult tasks that leave no room for creativity.
So how can you keep kids engaged in learning and growing this summer?
One of the main tenets of STEM Camp is “Engage your sense of wonder” and we believe that’s exactly what you need to do to get children involved. Any discovery that a child makes, big or small, should be met with enthusiasm. This creates a positive environment, where children are excited to share what they learn. With further support and passion, you can help to diminish the anxiety and disappointment many children feel when they don’t know the right answer. With science, it’s not a failure…it’s an experiment! One that they can try, try, TRY again.
Variety is another aspect of keeping children engaged at camp. Varying age groups means varying attention spans. While some children are content to wile away their time on the same activities for hours, others can only give their full attention for a short duration. It’s okay to move on when interest is flagging! An idea or task can always be revisited another time.
In that regard, each task should include choices and opportunities to make it unique to that child, and keep them involved in the outcome. There are many ways to do this, with things as simple as choosing what colour of paper to use for your paper airplane, or deciding what direction to have your robot turn during a coding activity. These choices show campers that their opinion is important, and we want them to be included.
In order to keep your child connected to learning, remain flexible on the process. It’s not always about the destination, but the journey. One of the main reasons the approach to teaching math in schools has changed so drastically in the last 20 years, is to show that there is more than one way to reach an answer. Let them explore the way they feel is easiest, then challenge them to try something new. Then, try it a third way just for fun! Sharing ideas and techniques will bring a better understanding, decrease frustration, and encourage children to explore.
Lastly, stay current. What’s the newest Tik Tok dance? Is Paw Patrol still a thing? What is it that kids find so funny about certain names or characters? Let the children in your life teach you as much as you teach them. Find common ground in today’s pop culture, or find a way to relate their interests to your own. After all, we’re all here for the same goal:
Learning = Fun.