Young, developing minds are perfectly suited to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) concepts from an early age, if we cultivate their natural and intrinsic curiosity about the living world. By allowing them to explore and investigate and by encouraging them to ask questions about the real world, you are engaging your children in STEM.
A simple way to foster this learning is to take children outside into nature. You can turn just about any outdoor area into a setting for a “nature walk”, whether you are heading down a dirt path or are limited to just a small patch of grass in your own backyard. It doesn’t take much to get a child excited about nature. Just by simply giving them the opportunity to collect things that they find along the way such as: rocks, fossils, seeds, leaves, sticks, bugs will prompt children to take a closer look at their surroundings. You may even want to bring along binoculars, magnifying glass, or microscope to inspire them to investigate things hidden beyond what they can see with their own eyes.
It is the adventurous explorer in all children that we need to seize. Ask questions, incite more exploration, and provide more opportunities to return to these types of settings.
Unique and interactive products for adventure and learning. The Terra Kids line from HABA encourages your child to creatively explore the world around them! Fun and functional educational gear for all ages.
Terra Kids Scoop Net The telescopic bar on this Scoop Net makes grabbing leaves from the pond and maybe a fish or two, fun and easy! Learn More
Terra Kids Binoculars An essential piece to any exploration adventure! Designed to withstand outdoor play, the shoulder strap with security fastener will keep these close by your young explorer. Includes knowledge cards for even further learning! Magnify x4 with these cool binoculars. Learn More
Terra Kids Exploration Magnifying Glass Young explorers can discover beetles, spiders, snail shells, pebbles and other natural treasures from really close up. Includes nylon loop and aluminum snap link to attach to your Explorers' Belt (sold separately). Learn More
5 Cool Things to Look at with Your Low Power Microscope
- Grab a $5 bill and turn it over to the backside. Look above the pillars on the Lincoln Memorial. Do you see some names of US states? If so, how many can you read? Take an even closer look and you may be able to see some details in the engraving. Now find a frayed $1 bill and see if you can see the linen fibers of the bill. Money isn’t really made of paper, but rather a finely woven blend of linen and cotton, which allows it to get wet and survive long enough to be passed, person to person, crumpled and stuffed into small spaces!
- Examine what is around you, in the house or even the fridge by taking a closer look at lettuce, plant parts and even what’s inside a flower. Carefully peel the outer skin of an onion and slide it under a microscope. You may be intrigued to know that onion skin cells look similar to human muscle tissue.
- Use the Terra Kids Beaker Magnifier to collect some beach sand or granules from a river bed and examine all the colorful minerals and tiny shells. Put the sand on a black piece of paper to see how different sand from different beaches looks. Collect sand samples and re-use small plastic containers to store it for later use. Don’t forget to record the location and date on each one.
- Just like the $1 bill, all fabrics look interesting under a microscope. A plain weave looks like a simple crisscross pattern, a twill weave can be observed on a piece of denim and a great example of a pile weave can be seen on corduroy. Dig into your dresser for some old clothing and see what you can find!
- Be a detective! Find a pencil, paper and a roll of clear tape. Rub the pencil on a small area of the paper so you build up a dark area of graphite on the paper. Next, rub your index finger in the graphite so your fingerprint is covered. Place a piece of tape over your fingerprint, then peel it off and stick it to another piece of white paper. Now examine your fingerprint under your microscope. Do you see any special markings that make your fingerprint unique? Children will get a kick out of collecting different fingerprints from other people. The Ulnar loop, arch and whorl patterns are the most common type of fingerprint in the world. The double loop, peacock’s eye and tented arch are the rarest.
Be creative! You'll find many other things to explore with your microscope! Be sure to share with us on social media. We love hearing about your children learning through play!
HABA Believes in STEM!
STEM encompasses a lot of different areas and our toys have incorporated STEM areas right from our very first set of blocks back in the 1930's. Open-ended toys to construct, manipulate, engineer, explore and experiment with have proven to be some of the best toys for children. We've curated a collection of select HABA toys that fall into the STEM category, which will help children learn important skills for life simultaneously as they play. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. These 4 specific areas are important because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how children learn most effectively.