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Make Summer Fun While Amping Up STEM Skills

As the school year comes to an end, many students look forward to the summer break as a time to relax and have fun. However, this break can also lead to learning loss, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects. STEM learning also helps to prepare children for future careers. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8.8 percent by 2028, compared to just 5.0 percent for non-STEM occupations. With a variety of products and resources available, it’s easier than ever to get creative and keep kids engaged in STEM learning. Whether through a school or district-wide checkout system, hosting a summer STEM night for parents and children, or simply purchasing an educational toy, there are plenty of ways to keep STEM skills sharp during the summer months.

One way to do this is through the use of products such as 3DuxDesign, STEM Bags, imagi, BrownDog Gadgets, and StickTogether. These products are designed to make STEM learning more engaging and interactive and can be used at home during the summer break. Let's take a closer look at each of these products.

3DuxDesign is a construction set that allows children to build 3D structures using cardboard connectors and geometric shapes. The set comes with a variety of connectors and shapes, as well as instruction cards and online lesson plans to help children and parents get started. This product is excellent for developing spatial reasoning skills, as well as creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Maker Maven STEM Bags are a great way to reinforce STEM skills in a fun and engaging way. The bags contain everything you need to create a project that will help develop  critical thinking skills, including:

  • Supplies for the activity (e.g., pipe cleaners, markers)
  • Instructions on how to do it

This makes STEM bags ideal for at-home activities.  Most students can complete the activities by following the directions and without the need for parental or adult assistance.  Of course, younger students are generally an exception to this.  These bags are a great alternative to STEM clubs or camps, if your organization can’t afford them or don’t have teachers to run them.

BrownDog Gadgets offers students an inexpensive option to bring their paper crafts to life!  Combine simple electronics with the centuries-old Japanese paper craft art of Origami. By adding LEDs and self-sticking motors students are able to create 3D paper craft projects that move, light up, and blink! This is a great way to teach and reinforce art, design, engineering, and basic electronics.

Imagi is a product that encourages creative self-expression, confidence grounded in coding skills, and community and inclusivity.  The imagiCharm is a programmable accessory that you can program to look different every day by using the imagi app. Students can learn coding and show their projects to the world.  This charm can be worn on backpacks, bags or used as a keychain. It has 64 lights that can turn into endless designs and animations!  Students can customize their imagiCharm and learn coding with the imagi app. The imagiLabs app is where programming meets creativity, friends, and tons of fun!  This learning tool doubles as a great toy and will keep kiddos engaged in learning without them even realizing it.

StickTogether is another great product option for summer.  It gets kids collaborating with each other on a rainy day, instead of focusing on a rainy day.  Have siblings in a house that need to learn how to work together or a group of friends wanting something fun to do?  It can be used as an icebreaker at multi-generational family gatherings and events...even take it on vacation for relaxed evenings together.

Students can use the FREE Pixel Art Canvas to create pixel art using the 16 colors from the original kits. Then they can print out the art, or a coded worksheet.  Use extra stickers to 'sticker' the art. Check out this month's STEM challenge for a great family flag activity utilizing StickTogether’s Pixel Art Canvas.

These products are just a few examples of the many STEM-focused products that are available for children to use during the summer break. Schools and districts can also offer a checkout system for students who need to maintain their skills over the summer. This is especially important for students who are more prone to learning loss and have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

A checkout system, or takerspace, is an idea that works by allowing students to borrow STEM-focused products from the school or district for a set period of time. This would give students the opportunity to continue their STEM learning at home, while also providing access to resources that they may not have otherwise. Schools and districts could also provide resources and guidance for parents to support their children’s STEM learning at home.  We are happy to discuss the logistics of setting up a makerspace with you and assisting you with product offering ideas.  Use THIS LINK to set up a free consultation.

Another way to make summer fun while also amping up STEM skills is by hosting a Summer STEAM Night for parents to attend with their children. This could be an event where parents and children can participate in STEM-related activities together, such as building 3D structures or programming robots. A Summer STEM Night is a fun way to get your kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math. It's also a great way to help them build their skills in these areas.  The benefits of hosting a Summer STEM Night are many: Kids learn about STEM subjects while having fun doing so; parents get time off from being "the teacher"; families bond over shared experiences; kids have something exciting planned for summer break!

Hosting a Summer STEM Night also provides an opportunity for schools and districts to showcase the STEM resources and programs that they offer. This could help to raise awareness of the importance of STEM education and to encourage more parents to get involved in their children’s STEM learning.

In addition to the benefits of STEM learning itself, there are also many other benefits to participating in STEM-related activities during the summer break. For example, STEM learning can help to develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and creativity, which are all valuable skills that can be applied in many areas of life.

With STEM occupations and learning loss on the rise,  summer STEM programs are a must!  By encouraging STEM learning during the summer break, your students will have brighter futures and return more prepared for the upcoming school year!

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