Jun 242016
 June 24, 2016  Book Reviews, STEM

STEM Fun for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Looking to have some STEM fun with your kids?  Here are some of our favorite resources, from picture books to paper airplanes, sing-alongs, and more!

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of many of the items below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

STEM Fun for Kids

Long time readers will remember when I reviewed a set of wonderful culturally diverse STEM books for elementary students from Hands-on-Prints. Now they are back with another globally-minded STEM book, this time for younger readers. A Handful of Numbers is a gorgeous way to introduce children to numbers 1 – 10 and at the same time introduce them to concepts about the Earth – for example, One Earth, Two Poles, Three Oceans, Four Directions, etc. My favorite is the last – Ten Fingers (that build and impact the world). Once again STEM is combined with a global consciousness that raises children’s awareness about the planet at the same time as they learn their numbers. This is also a book that will grow with your child – my three year old loved the gorgeous pictures and the basic concepts, while my six year old pored over the scientific information about weather patterns and the poles. Another beautifully done book to introduce STEM concepts to young children.

The magnifying glass has to be one of the first scientific wonders that young children encounter – such a simple tool that small hands can use, and it makes things so BIG! I know my boys still like to run around the house examining things with their magnifying glasses, and they are essential when we go on our nature walks. Now here is a fun book to help young children explore with magnifying glasses and start to learn some basic terminology. Maggie the Magnifying Glass is the story of a little girl who is actually a magnifying glass! Readers go along with Maggie and her diverse (yay!) classmates as they search for the class pet. Really cute, engaging book to get little ones excited about science on a level that they can relate to.

Have some hands-on STEM fun with this amazing paper airplane kit! Think you know how to fold a paper airplane? Think again! Next Generation Paper Airplanes Kit: [Origami Kit with DVD, Book, 56 Paper Airplanes] will take you beyond the basics to build some truly amazing flying wonders. This kit is STEM fun that kids and adults will love. We have so much fun building and flying these airplanes together as a family. There are twelve different designs, everything from a ladybug to a space ship and even an improved version of the classic paper airplane. The instructions are easy to follow and there is even a DVD for those like me who are a little mechanically challenged! The instruction booklet also teaches basic engineering concepts – like why the classic paper airplane design is actually flawed and the simple change needed to make it really fly! I also love that for each of the twelve designs there are many different sheets, so no need to argue over who gets the spaceship or to worry if it accidentally gets ripped by little hands or chewed by the dog. There is a range of difficulty in the designs, so young children will definitely need help with many of the designs, but people of any age will enjoy flying them!

A science sing-along book that also teaches about South Asian cultures?? A dream come true! Author Najla Ahmad wanted to teach her young daughters about science using a character they could relate to, so she created the series Asha Loves Science, a series of books and videos that teach science while at the same time incorporating South Asian culture and language. How does this work, exactly? In Over In The Meadow: An Asha Loves Science Sing Along Book children all about animals (for example, the difference between reptiles and amphibians) plus some basic Hindi/Urdu animal words! The YouTube channel also includes science experiments for kids. Great STEM fun for kids from any background!

STEM fun: Kids vs. Life

The website Kids vs. Life began with a scenario all parents can relate to – trying to answer one of those endless questions from a curious kid: Where does rain come from? From that simple dilemma came the amazing collection of e-books for curious kids on topics like the planets, cavities, ants, and fire, as well as a collection dedicated to phonics, and you can also sign up for their parenting newsletter! I love the artwork and the story lines are all very engaging.  Be aware that currently these interactive books are just available on iBooks.

Kids love dogs, and now they can learn more about these wonderful creatures who have been our companions for so long. (I had a professor that used to say it wasn’t clear if humans domesticated dogs or the other way around!) From Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs is illustrated with beautiful paintings that tell the history of the dog from the early bond between wolves and humans to modern dogs with their variety of breeds. Great for helping kids think about dogs in a new way as well as the reasons this animal-human friendship was beneficial for both partners.

Older kids will love Squish, a series of graphic novels about a lovable loser just trying to make it through the school day – while reading his favorite comic (Super Amoeba!) as much as possible. So how does this relate to STEM? Squish is an amoeba, and his world is populated by microscopic creatures from the pond, like paramecia and algae. Poor Squish is forever getting into trouble thanks to his equally lovable but quirky friends (one is always forgetting whether or not he remembered to shut his front door/wash his hands, etc and so making Squish late for school), leading him to confrontations with the principal, school bullies, and more dangers every kid will recognize. Besides introducing basic concepts (and including science experiments at the end), the series also teaches kids about how to cope with the basic dilemmas they face at school. My favorite story line is when Squish had to decide what to do with the cool kids (the algae brothers) want Squish to humiliate his best friend just for a joke. These are books that my son has finished reading by the time we get home from the library. Luckily he likes to read them over and over! Great way to sneak in some STEM fun for older kids!

I also recently reviewed Cosmos Ignites, a wonderful middle grade novel that integrates math concepts into a fantastical adventure for older kids. Be sure to read my full review!

Don’t miss this great article on Storing STEM Activities for Kids from The Educators’ Spin On It!

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