Children have an innate curiosity about science, which helps them understand the world around them. Adults play a critical role in fostering and fueling kids’ interest and excitement about science. Fortunately, inspiring STEM learning can be easy and doesn’t require expertise to make an impact.
Igniting Your Own Child’s Interest in STEM
Research says parents are the single biggest influence in igniting kids’ early interest in science. Here are some easy ways to nurture your child’s scientific imagination and make science exploration fun for the whole family:
Host Science Nights at Home
Turn your home into a science lab! Download Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® Experiment Guides for fun family science experiments that use everyday household items to teach important science lessons.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Science is truly all around us, so get outside and start learning. Go on an insect gathering expedition in the backyard and see who can find the most varieties. Or, engage kids in backyard gardening, teaching them about plant life and nutrition. Let kids stay up a bit later for nighttime science fun, learning about the stars and planets that can be seen in the night sky.
Tap Into Local Resources
Visit your local science museum, zoo or aquarium. Before your visit, create an exploration checklist of things for the kids to find. Who will find them all first?
Encourage Participation in a STEM-Focused Club/Activity
Little ones are naturally curious. Spark your kids’ scientific curiosity by taking them to a science fair or enrolling them in a club with a STEM program, like Girls Scouts. Visit theconnectory.org to find the STEM programs and events happening in your area. You can attend an event with your child or volunteer. Either way, you can watch the kids become mini scientists!
Investigate STEM Careers
For older kids, open their eyes and imaginations to the world of career possibilities in STEM. Teach them about the unexpected fields that are fueled by science, like space exploration, robotics, video gaming, food science, cosmetics and animation. Hands-on science learning can teach hard skills like coding a robot or soft skills such as teamwork and leadership. Online career databases like Kids.gov or stemjobs.com are a great place to start exploring careers in STEM.
Paying-it-Forward and Inspiring Others
If you have a passion for STEM and want to create an even greater impact on the kids in your community, there are lots of ways to get involved:
Become a Mentor
Mentors can have a tremendous impact on young students. Many STEM professionals today can point to the influence of a specific mentor who gave them the guidance and encouragement to explore their passion for STEM. Check out the White House initiative US2020 for mentoring opportunities in your community.
Volunteering your time is another great way to give back to the kids in your community. Local schools and afterschool programs are in need of volunteers to conduct science lessons or experiments, participate in career days, judge science fairs, or run STEM-related clubs. Youth groups and clubs that offer STEM-focused programs and activities – for example, Black Girls Code, FIRST and 4-H Science – often need mentors and coaches. And online sites, such as VolunteerMatch, list volunteer opportunities that can be searched by categories you care about (e.g., STEM) and by your location.
Serve on a STEM Nonprofit’s Leadership Committee
Local STEM nonprofits are often in need of dedicated professionals who can lend their expertise to help ensure the future growth and success of the organization. Visit STEMconnector.org to find a STEM nonprofit near you and then inquire about leadership committee opportunities.
Opportunities for Bayer Employees
Employee volunteerism is a critical component of Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense initiative. Bayer employees foster student interest in science by volunteering in schools, at science fairs, science centers, zoos and museums. If you are a Bayer employee, visit Making Science Make Sense on BayerNet for more information on how to get involved.