Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: STEM. That’s what the education buzz seems to be all about these days, and with good reason. The future job market for your young learners will most likely rely heavily on the problem-solving and technical skills that go with these subjects. Your kids love their screen time. Why not direct them to programs, games, and sites that will teach them important educational skills along with having a great time. Here are some of the best shows, games, and websites for interacting with science, technology, and mathematics skills.
Ages three to five
Sesame Street - Yes, the favorite show of preschoolers for generations has updated their programming to include more than the alphabet. Now you’ll find problem-solving, nature, and environmental issues as well as science and engineering segments on this classic program. sesamestreet.org
Peg + Cat - The songs, activities, and interactive games make learning math skills a ton of fun. pbskids.org/peg
Nina and the Neurons - Available from BBC, this site is chock-full of basic science, engineering, and coding games, plus songs, videos, and activities. Hands-on proof that science is fun! cbeebies.com
Ages five to eight
The Odd Squad - Another offering from PBS Kids, this show follows two young agents, Olive and Otto, as they save the day using math skills. Each episode is 12 minutes long and full of great math insights for kids. pbskids.org/oddsquad/games
Ask Dr. Universe - Join Dr. Wendy Sue Universe on her site and get the latest answers, activities, and videos related to hot science questions such as: How are bones made? What’s a booger? Or why is the ocean salty? askdruniverse.wsu.edu
Planet Smarty Pants - This blog is written by an enthusiastic mom and filled with hundreds of activities exploring science, engineering, and art. Great literature supporting STEM projects are offered as well as the everyday activities she and her daughter do at home. planetsmarty.com
Ages nine to tweens
Design Squad - A reality-based show from PBS Kids where teens ages 15 to 19 tackle real- life design problems. They design machines to solve problems. The teens compete to win scholarship money. May be interesting to teens as well as the nine to 12 age group. pbskids.org/designsquad
Cyberchase - Jackie, Matt, and Inez are earthlings who have been pulled into a digital universe. They work together to keep their motherboard safe from Hacker. Math, weather, and environmental knowledge help them solve their problems. pbskids.org/cyberchase/cybersquad/
STEM Collaborative - This site has four major components: Math by design, road trip, scale city, and proportionland. Each module offers virtual environments, simulations, videos, and interactive math challenges. stemcollaborative.org
Xploration Outer Space - This two-hour program is produced by Emily Calandrelli, a former NASA employee. It is shown on FOX affiliate stations. Each of the four half-hour blocks focuses on STEM topics related to space exploration. thespacegal.com/tv-show/
Sparticl - This site is a treasure trove of information for teen-aged learners. It’s divided into living things, matter and energy, body and brain, tech and invention, and earth and space. Each section contains informative articles, videos, and experiments to try at home. sparticl.org
Be sure to set an expectation for hands-on, real-life projects done in your home as well as screen learning. Kids love to experiment and problem-solve. These sites are a great way to get their creative juices flowing and take them into the world of real-life applications of STEM learning.
Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and the author of Homegrown Readers and Homegrown Family Fun: Unplugged. Find her at janpierce.net.
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