When Lake Ontario’s water level rose to unprecedented heights and flooded the Toronto Island, it was engineers who were tasked with the challenge of dealing with rising water levels. Engineering uses a combination of math and science principals. Because it’s based on solving real-world problems, kids are often able to see how the principals they learn in math and science apply to everyday life.
Some of the world’s most challenging problems – alternative fuels, renewable energy, etc. will be solved by the engineers of tomorrow. The future is bright for engineers in Canada, but how can you ensure that your kids are equipped for what is sure to be one of the most in demand fields in the future?
Encourage Building. There are tons of block toys, construction sets and gear toys available in toy stores that aim to build kids’ STEM skills. Most of these toys start from age 3. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive toys to encourage kids to build. Recycled boxes, cardboard tubes, popsicle sticks, cups and other everyday household items allow kids to tap into their creativity and build like an engineer!
Find Opportunities to Discuss Engineering Concepts. Even mundane tasks like cooking spaghetti dinner can be an opportunity to discuss engineering concepts. Try this fun STEM Challenge: How Strong is Spaghetti. Waiting for water to boil? Bring out a set of plastic cups and see if your little engineer can build a tall tower using just the cups!
Set Challenges. Rainy days provide a great opportunity to engage your kids in an engineering challenge. Have some popsicle sticks handy? See if your kids can build a bridge from point A to point B using only popsicle sticks and glue. Then make the river wider and see if they can extend their bridge. Give your kids some straw and tape and see who can build the strongest tower. Is your straw tower capable of holding a baseball?
Let Them Break Things. Do you have an old clock radio or calculator you don’t use anymore? Give it to your little engineer to take apart. Taking things apart is key to understanding how things work and is a great way to engage your little engineer’s brain. Then see if they can re-build it!
Junior STEM Club offers hands-on classes in Burlington, Ontario that give kids the opportunity to learn important STEM concepts and tap into their engineering mind.