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Infants and toddlers touch and act before they start talking and expressing consciously. STEAM in early childhood years means giving children the opportunity to touch and feel materials around them and not about explaining to them newton’s laws or the law of gravity.

STEAM is a concept of building the brain. It is involved in each kind of development milestone that infants and toddlers achieve. It is a way how they explore the world around them. They are born curious and conduct their own little experiments with everything. They are repetitive with their actions or words which they find interesting.

Very common examples that every toddler conduct at some point or other

  • Engaging in building blocks
  • Liking activities related to clay or play dough
  • Playing with Kinetic sand or any kind of soil
  • Making bubbles while washing hands
  • Immersing toys in the bath tub and watch them float back
  • Throwing kitchen utensils one after the other and hearning the repetetive sound
  • Cutting vegetable and fruits or engaging in any kind of kitchen activity

Some other activities to demonstrate to kids that could be fun:

A. Showing children examples of static electricity by rubbing the balloon to hair and then sticking the charged balloon to an uncharged wall.

B. Apple Oxidation: Explaining to them why an apple turns brown when exposed to oxygen and not eaten immediately.

C. How combining primary colors make secondary colors.

STEAM activities need to be introduced at an early age because, in today’s world of information, the ability to innovate, to be technologically efficient, and to understand how and why things work together is of utmost importance. It is about giving a strong foundation by making them understand the fundamentals of things.

So, how do we provide this kind of an enriching environment at home:

Montessori corner in Indian home

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, a self-learning environment should be tidy, pleasing in appearance, simple, welcoming to the child, kind of a place where each toy/book/prop exists for a reason in order to help in the development of the child.

  1. The articles/ toys should be placed keeping in mind the child’s perspective and their sensitive period of growth. By “sensitive period”, we mean, you need to observe your child as in the kind of skills/activities the child is trying to hone (this is a limited period slot that occurs from birth to age 6) and help them achieve the skill by providing an environment that is enriching.
  2. Environment is not just about placement of toys, but it about giving the child freedom and choice to explore the world around and therefore, the child should be able to reach all the things, he/she needs from being able to take a glass of water on their own, going to the washroom on their own, washing hands, combing hair, selecting their own outfits.

We at Being Sentient will guide you to create an enriching environment at your home and will also provide you with ideas for STEAM activities, through our YouTube channel, topic-specific webinars/ seminars, PDF handouts etc.

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