Activities that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts can be an exciting playdate experience for kids of all abilities. Dr. Ellis Crasnow, Director of STEM Education at The Help Group, has some tips for parents to try when planning a successful and fun STEM playdate experience.
1. Set the stage before the playdate begins
Before your scheduled playdate begins, pick out a STEM activity that you think your child and friend may enjoy together. Discuss the idea with the friend’s parent as well. If your kids are old enough, let the two friends pick out a STEM project together. Then, make sure you have all of the necessary elements at hand to make the project at home.
2. Snack Time
Call snack time if the kids are starting to get frustrated. Sometimes a simple break can re-energize the kids. Make sure to use this time to check-in, make some suggestions, and give the kids positive feedback.
3. Show and Tell
Kids like to show off their hard work. Set a time for the kids to present their project to both parents at the end of the playdate. If the project needs more work, then that’s a great time to plan for playdate #2.
4. Looking for an extra challenge?
Why not have your children work on a project for a STEM competition during their playdate, such as the STEM³ Special Challenge? Students in grades 6–12 with social, learning or neuro-developmental differences are asked to identify a STEM solution to a pressing issue faced by individuals, communities, or the world at large.