Canada produces some of the most brilliant minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We have one of the highest percentages of STEM graduates, in fact, even more than the United States.
Your budding genius doesn’t have to attend pricey programs or have access to expensive equipment to pursue their STEM interests. All it really takes is the gentle direction and support for children who take an interest in STEM topics.
Science, tech, engineering and math are all around us, and so are opportunities to teach it. You can easily keep most children eagerly learning about STEM topics without spending a dime.
That said, when we see a child has taken a special interest in a subject, we want to encourage it specifically. This is the point where our desire to inspire can start to be expensive. Fortunately, you can nurture their curiosity to advanced levels without paying much (or anything at all).
Inexpensive Ways To Teach STEM at Home
Searching the internet for STEM topics can return an overwhelming number of results. Parenting & teacher communities often have member-recommended resources to help you find the best sites, without spending days searching for them.
A few of our fave STEM websites include:
YouTube is a treasure trove of entertaining learning and ideas. Watch experiments being performed, take a quick class and get amazing ideas to try at home. A couple of great STEM YouTube channels are brought to you by Owl Magazine and the Ontario Science Centre.
Once you have a collection of websites, you can note which ones contain the content that engages your child most. They may learn best from stories, projects, games or other types of learning. Mix it up to keep things interesting and challenging.
Nothing captures their attention like a new toy, and STEM toys are no exception. But if you go looking for STEM toys, you’ll often see the most elaborate, expensive products featured. Take the time to dig around and you’ll find some teaching toys that provide plenty of bang for your buck.
Affordable STEM Kits
Crystals are an enthralling way to introduce kids 6+ to the astounding beauty of natural science. This Colorful Crystal Lab will provide years of wonder for little scientists! They’ll use the lab station and crystal salts for more than 10 experiments, and then continue with household materials.
Most robot kits are expensive, but this SolarBot Kit is affordable and won’t cost you a dime in batteries! Harness the power of the sun to bring these bots to life. Children six and older can build eight different robots, including a somersaulting armadillo, a crawling bug and a drummer. It comes with a book of ideas and scientific facts about solar tech.
Starter packs that you (and others) can build upon bit by bit, are an affordable way to build an outstanding STEM collection. Keep a list of their favourites so you can share them with family & friends for gift ideas. A lot of these collections can be used in a multitude of ways as kids grow.
A rainbow of magnetic shapes introduces toddlers over 18 months to building through creative play. This starter set encourages brain development and critical thinking.
Little builders emerge at a very young age, and this Tileblox Rainbow set will be ready when they are! Kids over the age of three will build magnetic masterpieces with the help of a step-by-step idea sheet.
Save more on STEM toys by keeping an eye out for sales throughout the year. You can often find them at clearance prices if you check frequently. Grab toys that are above the age level you think your children are currently learning at. Just like clothes, you can pick up toys that your kids will ‘grow into’ and you’ll be ready the moment they do.
Your local library is the obvious choice to access a large selection of books, but it offers much more than that…for FREE! The library can be a gateway to many educational resources and programs for kids. You can gain access to premium websites and other online resources. You’ll also find plenty of local information about STEM programs being run by organizations in your area.
DK Canada has some of the most exceptional books I’ve seen, with fascinating content that educates, entertains and enthralls kids of all ages.
This board book introduces rocket science in a way that captivates even the youngest child. Baby Robot has many questions about going to space, which his friend, Rose-bot, answers with simple facts and attention-grabbing pictures.
How to be a Math Wizard by Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon
30 crafts and other activities nurture mathematical expertise through play. Kids bring all core curriculum math topics into the real world in a hands-on way. They’ll use things from around the house to bring math to life, from an edible abacus to making building blocks to build their own city.
Under Your Feet by the Royal Horticultural Society
Under Your Feet introduces children to life underground, from soil-dwelling creatures to fungus. The experiments bring the earth alive before their eyes, which has a lasting impact on how much they value the world beneath our feet.
Smithsonian Tech Lab: Awesome Builds for Smart Makers by Jack Challoner
Kids 11-14 who show an interest in electronics and tech are going to dive right into Tech Lab. This hardcover book grabs their attention with projects and activities that are guaranteed to appeal to that age group, including a bedroom alarm, phone charger, speakers, motorboat and crane.
If chemistry, physics or biology are their thing, Explanatorium of Science will show them how the world works from that perspective. This 320-page Smithsonian book includes brilliant illustrations and fascinating scientific facts that captivate the attention of all who open it. It’s designed to be of interest for children ages 9-11, but it appeals to a much broader age range. Smithsonian books make gorgeous gifts that are sure to be treasured.
STEM is for Every Child!
Whether you’re home schooling or nurturing an interest on the side, every child in any financial circumstance can be a student of STEM.
??? Do you have any exceptional, low-cost STEM resources to share? Please add them to the comments below.