Hmm. We disagree! Our FSA STEAM (Science. Technology. Engineering. Math. & Art.) Team hears this statement quite a bit. Other people often ask, how infants can comprehend or benefit from STEM at such an early age. Well, if you think about it, babies’ brain development begins at the earliest stages of growth. Their education journey has already begun by their birth and as they enter our world, they continue to learn through sensory stimulation…sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell.
Caregivers help infants learn by simply interacting and playing with them to provide multi-sensory experiences. Infants have the ability to see faces and objects of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Babies learn cause and effect and can communicate their needs with others. As they grow, they exercise their fine motor skills and create expressions using laughter or crying to communicate.
According to the Children’s Home Society of California, “Children develop their curiosity and critical thinking skills by exploring STEM activities… and meaningful interactions with children during play can extend their critical thinking and support learning”. Education is a system of building upon foundational knowledge. So it makes sense that infants can benefit from exposure to age appropriate STEM activities.
Our FSA STEAM Team engages with our FSA infants as caregivers and nurturers to provide an environment that stimulates the senses and inspires discovery. Here are some STEM activities for ages 0-1 ½ years of age that our STEAM Team has introduced to our littlest students that you can try at home:
- Roll a pair of socks together in order to make a soft ball you can roll towards your infant. She/he will use eyes to track it as it rolls, and eventually, will reach for it, shake it, and explore it. (Curiosity)
- Once your baby starts crawling, create a small obstacle course using pillows. (Problem Solving)
- Take your infant on a stroller ride or walk in the park, on a trail, or play in an natural outdoor setting. Point out natures wonders in plants, trees, grass, insects, animals, flowers and other natural features. (Physical and Life Sciences)
- Babies that learn to feed themselves with their fingers and then simple utensils become discovering tools to assist their daily routine. (Technology)*
- Babies can sort and stack pots pans, plastic bowls and cups. They can also bang on them with spatulas and wooden spoons to explore different sounds. (Engineering)
- Finger painting and even the art of playing with food are artistic interpretations that allow for tactile experiences. (Art)
- Sing simple songs that have a pattern such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” , “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. (Math)
- Collect a variety of material scraps. Include different sizes, shapes, and textures. Place fuzzy, shiny, soft materials including things such as fabric, cotton balls, etc. in a tub or basket. Let your child touch the different pieces and describe how it feels, identify colors and textures. (Sensory)
Experts assert that, “early exposure to STEM/STEAM can help children establish a strong foundation in the concepts and skills they need to be successful in school and in life.” Full STEAM Academy has embraced this philosophy and we work with STEM concepts with our babies every day.
At FSA, we believe that babies do benefit from STEM and the care we give them nurtures the whole child…mind, body, social and soul.
*Note: Technology is more than computers and smartphones devices. Technology refers to the use of tools that may be used to solve a problem. Utensils, crayons, paints, paper, play dough, cardboard, blocks, etc. are age appropriate technological focus’ for infants.