While the numbers continue to go up, the percentage of women in STEM fields is still considerably less than men. As parents there are things we can do get girls excited about STEM professions and help them have the bright futures they deserve.
Pursue Your Passion. Encourage your kids that you can do anything you set your mind to.
I think it’s important to first show girls that they already like it. Does your daughter show an interest in rocks and gem stones? Hey, that’s geology! Or, an interest in dinosaurs? That’s paleontology! When my daughter showed an interest in star gazing, I jumped at the opportunity to get her excited about astronomy. Chances are, your little girl is already interested in STEM.
As someone who struggled with math and science throughout school, I am so glad to see my daughter passionate about these subjects. She decided when she was seven that she wants to be a space scientist when she grows up, and at age ten still has these dreams. Although, she has now added an evening gig heading her own rock band.
She has such a keen interest in anything related to science, but in particular the topics of space, astronomy, and aeronautics. She also loves to build. LEGO sets are a sure bet at our house come the holiday season. I do realize that her future career choice will likely change between now and college, but am confident she will land somewhere in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
From my own school years, I know the STEM subjects can be challenging and a little intimidating which is why it is important to provide encouragement and make these subjects fun for girls. Getting an “A” in math doesn’t come easily for my 10-year old either. She has to study hard and apply herself to do well in math class. To help her I make myself available during homework time, and we participate in a Facebook group for extra help that’s facilitated by her math teacher. We’ve done a lot of flashcards at home to make those multiplication tables stick.
There are many simple things we can do as moms to encourage our girls and help foster an interest in math, science and technology.
Ways to Get Girls Excited About STEM
Provide books that encourage your girl to use her intelligence. Check out books from the library or buy books on various STEM subjects, and of women who have been pioneers and successful in these fields. My daughter’s bookcase is filled with books about fun science facts, space, and the stars and planets.
We’ve recently added a fun book – an Advance Reader Copy of Danielle, Chronicles of a Superheroine which is about a precocious girl who uses her intelligence and accelerating technologies to solve the world’s biggest challenges. The novel along with two companion books is currently available to pre-order. You can pre-order Danielle, Chronicles of a Superheroine here.
At present, we are almost half way through the novel and are really enjoying Danielle’s journey as it casts a hopeful vision of humanity’s future, along with the two free companion books that show how you can achieve it. I love how this book teaches kids that they can make a difference. Stay tuned for a detailed review coming soon!
Anyone can change the world. Teach your kids that you don’t have to be an adult to change the world.
Sign up for STEM camps, clubs and after-school activities. This past summer I found some terrific STEM camps for kids. There is even one that teaches kids to pilot a plane. That one is on my radar for when my little girl is twelve. In addition to summer camps, there are many after-school clubs and activities to encourage kids in math and science. I’m sure you’ve seen the fliers coming home these last few weeks for science and chess club, now that school’s back in session. LEGO building championships and science fairs are great too, just to name a few.
Purchase STEM related toys. There are some really great options when it comes to toys that feature STEM concepts. I’m a fan of the Goldiblox sets, LEGO and other building sets, Tinker Crate subscription box, FatBrain Toys, science project kits, microscopes and telescopes. The latter is a huge hit at my house. Fossil, rock and mineral collections are a lot of fun too!
Visit museums and expos that encourage STEM education. During summer break and on the weekends, I recommend visits to the zoo, natural history museums and science centers as an interactive way to get girls excited about STEM. Here in Central Florida we are lucky to have the Kennedy Space Center and Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) which also has a planetarium. Taking my little girl to visit the American Museum of Natural History in NYC is a bucket list item of mine. I’ve been without her and know she will go absolutely nuts there.
STEM education websites for girls. There are a lot of cool STEM education websites for girls out there. Some of the big ones are NASA’s Education for Students, Google Code School for kids, How Stuff Works, and the NOVA website. A simple search will turn up a variety of education sites that you can use for free.
Watch STEM related shows. Project Mc2, available on Netflix, is on constantly at my house. There are even some cool Mc2 science kits you can buy. Other good STEM related show for kids is Annedroids, available on Amazon. SciGirls is fun too, and is available on PBS and Netflix.
Be Smart, Be Kind. Inspire your children to dream big, pursue their passions, and be kind to others along the way.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.