STEM Hobbies Kids Really Love
Guest Post by: Maria Cannon
While school should always be your child’s top priority, it is also important for your little ones to have extracurricular interests and hobbies in their free time. Hobbies expand your child’s world and build self-esteem. They help kids become more empathetic and well-rounded while increasing their social circle beyond their peers at school. Kids who have hobbies also tend to be less stressed and do better in school.
Why Encourage STEM Hobbies?
A science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education is incredibly important for children. It introduces them to scientific linear thinking, creative problem-solving, and inventiveness all while instilling the importance of collaboration and teamwork. It even feeds creativity, which can help with non-STEM subjects as well.
However, a lot of students don’t like STEM subjects and lessons. They find the technical jargon confusing and instead prefer subjects such as reading, history, and art. However, children still have to take science and math classes throughout their education. Getting them excited about the material can help them enjoy their lessons and improve their grades. A great way to foster that excitement is through fun activities and hobbies that utilize STEM skills.
Even if your kids say they don’t like science, it is very likely they mean science class. Children have a natural curiosity that suits scientific exploration. Sometimes it just takes a real-world application to pique their interest. Set up fun science experiments using household objects to do just that. For instance, this make-your-own lava experiment teaches them about chemistry, and all you need is a clear drinking glass, food coloring, vegetable oil, salt, and water.
Computer Programming and Coding
Learning coding is just like learning any other language: the younger you are when you start, the easier it is to pick up. Getting your child involved in coding can spark an interest that could lead to a lucrative career in the future. Start with kid-friendly programming applications like Scratch, Blockly, or Twine to get them started.
There’s no better way to expand your child’s mind than exposing them to the infinite wonders of the cosmos. Backyard astronomy is an easy hobby to start, and it also has endless opportunities. Start by mapping constellations, making model solar systems, and learning about famous astrologers. Over time, you can invest in a telescope and go on trips to rural areas where you can see the stars more clearly. It’s a great hobby and a bonding experience!
If staring at the stars isn’t really your kid’s thing, maybe they’d like something a little more down to earth. Rock collecting is a great way to rouse an interest in geology. Explore local parks and hiking trails to find specimens and help your children organize them in rock-collecting kits.
Wait… what are music lessons doing in a list of STEM hobbies? While music is indeed an art form, the parts of the brain we use to create music are the same areas involved in solving spatial-temporal reasoning problems. Learning to play an instrument also relies on understanding mathematical concepts including fractions and ratios. It’s a great way to help improve math skills in kids who hate doing drills and would prefer a creative outlet instead.
Hobbies expand your child’s world beyond what they learn in school. If your kids are struggling with STEM subjects, introducing hobbies that encourage scientific skills can provide the encouragement they need to succeed. You can enjoy activities like science experiments, backyard astrology, and rock collecting or trick them into improving their mathematical skills with creative outlets like music.
About the author:
Maria Cannon believes we’re never too young to dedicate ourselves to a hobby. She created HobbyJr to encourage young people to find a hobby they love. Maria has suffered from depression and anxiety for years. Her hobbies–gardening, quilting, sewing, and knitting–play a major role in maintaining her mental health.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.