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“Learning STEM Through Play: Parent-Child Play Activities That Support Engineering Skills”

  • 0-12 Months

Give your baby lots of opportunities to explore materials and combine objects during play. Let her drop spoons in a metal bowl or show her how to tap a spoon on the bowl. Point out how the “shiny, metal spoon” sounds loud!

  • 12-24 Months

Encourage your young toddler to build using boxes of different sizes—empty cereal boxes, shoe-boxes, and more. Use words like big, small, tall, wide or square to describe the boxes as he plays. Point out what makes the tower stronger, like starting with a flat, solid base. And remember that knocking it down and starting over is half the fun!

  • 24-36 Months

Give your child some technology to explore: Lean a piece of cardboard against the side of a chair. Let your toddler roll balls or cars down the ramp and talk about how far and fast each one goes. Test ramps that you find in your community, like rolling pinecones or balls down the slide at the park. What makes objects go faster or slower down the ramp?

  • 3-5 Years

Give your preschooler challenges to try. How many plastic cups can she stack while you set the table? Can she find a different way to dig a hole at the park, without using a shovel? Talk about her experiments by asking questions like, “What do you think will happen if…” Or, “What else could we use to…”

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