This week is National Coding Week here in the UK and we often get asked by parents how to get their kids into coding. There are many benefits of coding for kids, including improving their; logical thinking, problem solving skills, resilience and their maths skills. Natalie is a coder/developer, so below are her 3 tips to get your kids started with coding.
Black History Month is only a few weeks away (where is the time going? It will be Christmas soon, eek!) Our STEM Leaders: Black inventors and innovators who changed the world book would be a great resource. We all know schools will not be teaching children about these amazing people. So it’s for us all to do this at home.
STEM Leaders will introduce children to important Black inventors and innovators who changed the world. This vibrantly illustrated book is a stimulating reference source; it is educational and includes; Q&A’s, useful links, fun facts and activities to get children started with STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) experiments. You can buy the book here.
We’re so excited about this book. We both work in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) industry and we don’t see many people that look like us. So we want to inspire the next generation to embrace STEM subjects. An industry which creates the inventors, innovators and leaders of tomorrow. You can buy the book here.
Rain Rain go away, Come again another day! The heatwave seems to be over here in the UK and we’re forecasted to have some heavy rain. Heavy rain poses some challenges for parents. Kids have a shorter attention span than us adults, which means cabin fever can set in quickly. Minimise the number of times you hear ‘I’m booored!’ with our top 20 rainy day activities to do with kids that are on their summer holidays.
1)indoor play/ soft play. This is always fun for kids, there are many indoor soft play in the UK.
2) Fashion show. Kids love to dress up in their parents clothes and shoes. So why not let the kids choose some clothes from your wardrobe, so they can create a fun fashion show!
3)Our STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) activity cards are great for entertaining the kids and can help to reduce screen time. Our unique pack of 32 cards are simple and fun and can be created with everyday items from around the home or the supermarket. The pack of cards can be bought here.
4) Cook or bake together. Kids enjoy cooking and baking (especially licking the bowl at the end!).
5) Visit your local library. Let the kids choose a book they want and then get cosy in the reading corner. If the weather is too bad to get out. Then create a cosy area at home and read their favourite books. We have a great selection of books. You can shop our books here.
6) Visit a museum. There are many free fun museums in the UK. Going to the museum is a fun adventure for kids.
7) Play board games. Board games are a fun way to get the family together and helps to reduce screen time.
8) Our STEM inventors journal. Our STEM inventors journal will show kids how new inventions are created. It includes prompts to get your budding inventor started on their inventor journey. This journal will be sure to keep kids occupied on those rainy days. It can be bought here.
9) Build a blanket and cushion fort.
10) Watch a movie. Dim the lights and pop some popcorn and create a cinema at home.
11) Indoor picnic. Too rainy to have a picnic outside? Why not bring it indoors. Eating on a blanket is always fun for kids.
12) Create a puppet show. Grab some socks and paper and create a puppet show.
13) Open ended play. Get your children’s imagination going with some open ended play, with things like wooden blocks or a sensory activity.
14) Get the puzzles out. Puzzles are a good alternative to screen time for kids, they’re both fun and educational. We have a great wooden solar system puzzle, which can be bought here.
15) Play some musical instruments. You can even create a mini concert.
16) Do some yoga. The cabin fever has kicked in, so now the kids are bouncing off the walls, eek! There are lots of yoga videos for kids on YouTube, which can help to calm them down.
17) Create an indoor scavenger hunt. Get the kids to hunt for the objects all over the house.
18)Arts and crafts is always fun. Create a crafting station at home. It can occupy kids for a long time and it is both entertaining and educational for them.
19) Create an indoor obstacle course using unbreakable objects.
20) Splash in some puddles. As Peppa pig says “I’m jumping up and down in muddy puddles.” Once the rain has stopped, get your wellies on and go outside and splash about in some puddles!
We hope you found this blog useful. If you did, please share it with your friends and family who may find it useful too.
We’re very happy to launch our NEW STEM activity cards today! The cards include 32 fun and easy Science Technology Engineering and Maths activities and experiments made with everyday items. Our unique pack of 32 cards makes learning STEM fun and accessible to all. Beautifully illustrated by us, with illustrated instructions and key learnings for each activity/ experiment. This product makes learning STEM fun for toddlers!
– Introduce STEM in a hands on way – Create a love for STEM subjects early on – Enhance a child’s collaborative learning, as STEM often encourages children to work together – Amplify a child’s problem solving skills, which is a critical skill in the early years – Enhance a child’s memory through experimental learning – Help to reduce screen time
The STEM Activity cards are great for:
– At home; homeschooling, screen free time, fun experiments and activities – In the classroom; station or whole class activities, after school activities, summer club activities
What is STEM?
STEM is a neat little acronym for Science Technology Engineering & Maths. One idea behind grouping these broad disciplines into something memorable; is to draw attention to an emerging policy choice within schools, focused on increasing educational interest within STEM. By stimulating interest in STEM early on, we can begin to motivate more young people to study STEM at an advanced level and to enter STEM related industries. This is particularly important for Black individuals who at university for example, only represent 6.2% of students enrolled onto STEM related subjects*.
STEM in early childhood
The idea of introducing STEM to children in the early years is to begin the process of creating scholarly minds. Little children who ask questions, seek out answers, solve problems and become innovators who go onto contribute to the human story. The sooner we get our little ones to see that our world is filled with shapes, materials, forces and numbers; is the start of something special, in the form of inquisitive minds.
Learning music helps with a child’s brain development. But did you know it also helps to improve maths skills? To play a musical instrument well, you need to develop your critical thinking and problem solving skills. These are key skills when learning maths. If you think back to early childhood, young children often learn counting through rhythm. They first start clapping their hands and bopping their head to a number’s nursery rhyme. We know kids learn through repetition which is why nursery rhymes are great. Young children are particularly responsive to rate, which is a key player in helping them to form mathematical skills.
Below are 6 ways learning music is beneficial to developing a mathematical mind:
1) Performing music reinforces parts of the brain used when doing maths because It’s about time signatures, beats per minute and formulaic progressions
2) The frequency of sound is related to maths, different sounds can be made up with different weights and vibrations
3) Studies show that children who play instruments are able to complete complex mathematical problems better than their peers who do not play instruments
4) Patterns are used in both maths and music
5) Learning music teaches valuable skills such as patience, research also shows that children who learn an instrument retain information better
6) Music is full of fractions. Music includes whole notes, half notes and quarter notes, all of which follow the same rules as a maths equation
Getting children used to music early on will have fantastic positive outcomes. It adds a fun element to learning and sometimes can get them to learn things without even realising it. Who knew that learning music which is lots of fun can help with improving a child’s maths skills?
English and Maths are both very important subjects. They’re the building blocks of everything we do. If your child or the child you care for can get a good grasp of these two subjects, then this will help them progress well in all of their academic subjects in the future.
Our 7 tips on how to help your child with their English and Maths:
Repeat, repeat and repeat
When it comes to English and Maths, repetition is a good thing! It will help your child get to grasp with the English language and those tougher Mathematics. As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’.
2. Positivity is key
Staying positive when helping your child with their English and Maths is important. Try not to say things like “I can’t spell”, “I’m rubbish at English” or “I hated Maths at school” (even though it can be tempting). Your child may start to think the same way themselves.
3. Start young
Starting young is key. As soon as a baby is born, they’re like sponges (just think of all the things you don’t want them to pick up and how quickly they do, eek!). Reading to babies and toddlers regularly is great for building reading confidence, reading comprehension and a love for reading. Which in turns helps them to get a good understanding of the English language. It’s also a good idea to start Maths with your child at a young age too. Simple things like counting their little toes and using number blocks is paramount in setting your child up for a positive Maths and English journey.
4. Keep it fun
Try and keep it fun and relaxed. If it feels serious and tense all the time or like a chore. Your child will VERY quickly lose interest.
5. Don’t be too pushy
Although it can be easy to get frustrated with your child at times, especially if you think they’re not concentrating or they can do better if they just stayed focused. Being too pushy can make them even more disinterested, as they start to feel the pressure. Try not to push them to do more than they can. Doing short sessions can help them not to lose interest.
6. Utilise every-day life
To increase your child’s interest and knowledge of Maths. Point out the maths in everyday life, by including them in activities involving numbers and measuring, such as cooking, shopping and travelling.
7. Give your child regular praise
Last but not least, don’t forget to give your child praise when it’s deserved. But remember to not just praise them when you think they’ve displayed signs of being clever. Give them praise for their effort too. This will show them that they can always improve if they work hard.
We will continuously be adding activity sheets and educational posters to our learning resources pages, found here, which will help you improve your child’s English and Maths skills.
If you’re based in the US and your daughter is struggling with Maths, we came across a really good monthly maths subscription box called Black Girl Mathgic (this is not an ad, we just thought it was a great initiative!)
Good luck on your child’s English and Maths journey.