Sometimes parents' ask, "How do I talk to my child about science? I never liked science myself." Or, "How do I take advantage of my toddler's curiousity? I'm literally running out of words!"
First, I want to encourage you to take a breath - You're doing awesome. Your baby LOVES listening to your voice. She loves you to sing, read, talk, and play in whatever way you can! Are you reading People magazine to your six month old? You're doing it! Are you reading your fortran or biology text book? Also awesome.
Your child is going to want to explore the world - and will absorb everything you share with them like a sponge. The more different kinds of vocabulary words and concepts you introduce and use during everyday life, the more words and concepts your child will bring into their everyday use. And that's why I invited today's guest blogger to share her passion with us.
Today's guest blogger, Chapel Hill mom and author Sheyna Sears, talks about when, where, and why she introduces STEM ideas to her own two young kiddos. She's the founder of Techie Baby Books author of a new best selling book for kids, "STEM ABC's: R is for Robot" available on Amazon. Make sure you read all the way to the end for details on Sheyna's book launch party this Saturday May 19th! And the incredible gift she's giving to TAPS over the next 5 days!
Enjoy the rest of the blog from Sheyna!
“Why does steam rise when gravity should pull it down?” asks my 4 year-old. “Choo Choo!” shouts my 17 month-old. “How does the gas make the car go?” demands my 4 year-old. His baby brother shrieks, “More Choo Choo!” Sometime in between being a baby and a kindergartner, there’s an absolutely mind boggling transformation of language and learning. During this time, no question is too complicated. No observation is too obscure. Children are fearless. They haven’t yet learned to be intimidated by math or physics. And I want to keep it that way.
I remember my own high school chemistry and calculus classes. There were a lot of concepts in those classes that never clicked for me at any deep level. And when I became a mother, I was blown away by how children are such natural scientists. They are constantly observing the world and making connections. Things are clicking into place for them all the time.
As busy parents juggling a million things, how can we best nurture our children’s scientific curiosity – especially if we’re not scientists ourselves? How can we make sure our children never become intimidated by the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math? My goal is for children to approach STEM concepts with the same confidence and enthusiasm that they approach making animal sounds and mixing watercolors. That’s why I founded Techie Baby Books and published STEM ABC’s: R is for Robot – a science alphabet book for babies and preschoolers.
Instead of always reading that “D is for Dog” and “S is for Snake,” I wanted to create a book that would teach my children that “D is for Discovery” and “S is for Scientist.” When we read STEM ABC’s to our little ones, we are creating a shared language that can enrich the interactions we have with our children and encourage them to see the world through a scientific lens.
With STEM ABC’s, I can sit with my children and read “P is for Pulley to lift heavy objects high off the ground.” We can look at the big, real world photographs of actual pulleys. Then when we’re in the living room and I pull up the curtain, I always tell my ever-watchful toddler, “This is the curtain. I’m opening the curtain.” And now I can also say, “This is a pulley! I pull down on the string and the curtain rises! Look at the pulley!” It’s so exciting to have those rich moments with my baby and know that I’m giving him the vocabulary and early exposure to scientific concepts that will enable him to grow into a preschooler who asks me questions that I have to Google.
You will be amazed by how quickly your children will begin making connections with the world around them – noticing the gears on a bike, observing that the ball rolls farther on the sidewalk than on the grass, asking how and why. They are strengthening their scientific intuition and beginning a lifetime of learning and discovery. That intuition, combined with creativity and playfulness, is what leads to the technological innovations that change our world.
We're also SO excited to announce that between now and Friday May 18th, Sheyna is donating $2.07 per book sold to Triangle Area Parenting Support ! And if you order before Wednesday May 16th, you can take your first edition copy to Sheyna's book launch party for an author signing and a pile of fun activities for you and your children!
Mark your calendars!
STEM in the Park is on Saturday, May 19th at the Chapel Hill Community Center Park. Enjoy STEM activities, raffle prizes, and fun in the park to celebrate the launch of STEM ABC’s. This is a free event, and a great chance to enjoy the spring weather and connect with other local parents who are interested in STEM activities for their babies and preschoolers.
More about the Author:
Sheyna Sears is a local author and founder of Techie Baby Books whose mission is to help create the next generation of innovators by providing early exposure to the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Sheyna and her husband, a professor of robotics, live in Chapel Hill where she works from home, builds train tracks with her children, and relies on living room dance parties for exercise.