I think the hardest part of homeschooling for me is knowing that my kids are missing some great learning opportunities because of my weaknesses. We are rocking all things literature and book-ish, but you know something that is all the rage these days that I am definitely not rocking? STEM.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Personally, in my own life, it’s okay to skip over STEM because that is not where my interests lie, but my kids? They have both declared they want to be scientists when they grow up. (Raeca wants to be a chemist and Ephraim I’ve already decided is going to be an engineer.)
Our homeschool is very interest based so obviously we need to include Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but since it is such a weak spot for me, that’s where my husband comes in. Jared is all things sciency, techy and nerdy (and I mean this in the best possible way, he’s really smart). Let me tell you, my math mark increased a lot in high school after we started dating because he took the time to explain what we were learning (any excuse for a date when you are 17, even if that means math homework).
This year Jared is going to be taking over the majority of the STEM activities in our house. For science our overall theme is an introduction to chemistry but I know there is going to be a lot of other stuff thrown in there. And, he has decided to help share the STEM activities they do here on the blog!
So, for the first time ever, I’ve got a guest post by my husband! And I’ve convinced him to keep it up to, so there will be more to come. Okay, that was a long enough introduction, on to the post!
As a parent I have a love/hate relationship with LEGO®. It seems to magically migrate to cover every floor in the house making walking barefoot more challenging than walking on hot coals. Looking for a lost piece of LEGO? Just turn off the lights and walk around barefoot for a minute, you’ll find it stuck to the bottom of your foot.
Despite its foot destroying properties LEGO remains one of my favorite toys. I loved it as a kid and I still love it as a parent. My kids still play with the LEGO sets I had as a kids over 20 years ago.
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What can you really learn from playing with LEGO?
One of the best things about LEGO is the creativity it allows. Sure, the LEGO sets are awesome but usually a few weeks after they are put together they are disassembled and re-purposed into all sorts of crazy contraptions and scenes. There is no “Kragle” in our house (although I’ll admit that sometimes I’m tempted).
Another awesome thing about LEGO is that kids can learn so much while they play with it. The best kind of learning happens when kids don’t realize they are learning, they’re just having fun. That’s exactly the kind of learning that LEGO promotes.
Fine Motor Skills
LEGO is a fantastic way for kids to develop their fine motor skills. While playing with LEGO, you kids learn how to hold and manipulate different shapes and sizes of pieces and make them fit together. It also helps strengthen their tiny fingers in the process.
Most of the time when we think about playing with LEGO we think about the free form play it allows. Digging through a bin of bricks to create whatever comes to our imagination. Yes, most LEGO comes in sets with instructions on how to build it but if your house is anything like ours, it doesn’t take long for that set to be dissembled and turned into something completely different. I’m continually impressed by the creativity my kids show in their wacky creations.
Whether they are following instructions from a set or building their own creation putting LEGO together is like solving a puzzle. Searching for and finding the correct pieces and figuring out how they will all fit together is all part of turning a pile of bricks into something awesome.
If your kids play with LEGO they’ve likely come running to you after their latest creation was completely destroyed after it tipped over on the table. With a little help kids can learn how to build stronger structures by using things like bracing and support.
Those are just a small sample of the things kids can learn from playing with LEGO. It continues to be a toy that provides endless hours of entertainment and exciting opportunities for learning.
So this love/hate relationship will continue, at least for a few more years.