STEM Education: Why should STEM be thought about at home in 2018?
As I start the new year, I find myself looking back on a crazy year that came and went very quickly. My triplets have now officially turned the corner and in November they officially turned 4-years-old. This means that they are having new opportunities for growth and development, as well as having new adventures in the outside world.
Toddler Tech with Robots
Recently, I began to work with them on activities such as Coding and Robotics using Dot and Dash, two educational robots from WonderWorkshop. They don't know how to read (yet) but they do understand colors and because of this, we often have a pre-bedtime routine where we sit on the floor and push buttons on the iPad to make the robots dance around the room. They LOVE it!
The 4C's of Toddler Development
Coding and robotics aside, there are several other activities that my wife and I have been encouraging when it comes to helping our children develop that revolve ironically around the 4C's (Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication). Being that we have triplets, it's a slightly unfair advantage for us to create activities that involve collaboration and communication, but this is where the fun comes in.
Can Toddlers Identify Their Emotions?
This year at ISTE, I had the opportunity to see many of the new items available for students of all ages. One that caught my eye was a Duplo set called “Build Me Emotions” . LEGO Education was kind enough to allow share a set with my family and it was pretty impressive what happened once we opened the box. The main goal for this set is to help young learners identify, share, and express their feelings. Being that my kids are only 3.5 years old, they have absolutely no problem expressing their joys and frustrations with the world. The set contains several blocks that have very descriptive faces. I started by showing all three babies the faces and asked them to tell me how the face was feeling. They were immediately able to tell me if the face was Happy or Sad. They even came up with the words Silly and Angry. This type of exploration and play is critical for an environment where they all live, eat, and sleep within the same 10 feet of each other.
Combining Robotics and LEGO Education
My next adventure with my kids involved having them help me organize the pieces in the new LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 kit. My goal for this project is to see if they can help me sort items by shape and color (with or without the help of the instructions). This process is much easier when it's 1:1 vs 1:3 but after about 2 hours, we all were able to put the proper pieces in the correct bin by looking at the photos in the box.
Why is Play Important?
As my babies have rapidly changed from infant to baby and from baby to toddler, I am amazed at how they not only develop as individuals but as a team. My wife and I have started to notice that they are now having mini conversations with each other. This is something that was only starting to show up at the end of the last school year. They are curious not only at how the world works but what how the world revolves around them. (yes, you read that right).
Looking Forward to a New School Year
As I start this school year thinking about everything that my kids are getting into, I am looking forward to working with them on new adventures, new projects, and new LEGO Education builds.
What do you think about the art of play and creation in the development of children? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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