Posted in guest post, Math, Science

How to Introduce Your Child to Basic STEM topics!

The Importance of STEM Education.

The Rise of STEM:

Starting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education early is imperative in today’s society where technology is rapidly changing and evolving. In the short span of a couple of decades, we have seen the advent of electric cars, smartphones as well as increased accessibility to knowledge at your fingertips through lightning-speed Internet and search engines such as Google.


We have also seen the increased intersection between education and technology, no better exemplified than through the ongoing pandemic where educators have worked tirelessly to shift their instruction style to a form that can accommodate students learning at home on their computers with applications such as Zoom. According to the U.S Census, “Nearly 93% of people in households with school-age children reported their children engaged in some form of “distance learning.”

STEM Education

Moreover, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics states that “STEM Jobs are projected to grow 8.8% between 2017 and 2029, compared to 3.7% for other occupations.” The jobs in these fields include computing and engineering as well as advanced manufacturing. As outlined, the importance and relevance of STEM within our lives, both professionally and personally, will only keep growing. If you are wondering how to introduce STEM concepts to your children in an engaging manner that doesn’t sacrifice fun, continue reading! We’ll talk about themed learning as well as easy ways to give your child a technical literacy that will allow them to flourish now and later in life, in an increasingly STEM saturated society.


Themed Learning

One of the most effective ways to teach children and sustain their attention is through the idea of themed learning. This goes for introducing your children to STEM topics as well! What is themed learning? It’s focusing on a specific topic and exploring it through a variety of mediums so that they recognize what they are learning as meaningful and not just a grade or something that they have to memorize and recite back.

A lot of STEM learning takes place or even begins in schools, where teachers are given a set curriculum that they teach in-depth, using the tenets of themed learning. For example, children may learn about measurement not only by learning what the marks on a ruler mean but by using a ruler and measuring different objects.

 However, an interest that is only fostered within the school environment can sometimes be difficult to sustain. In 2019, the US Census reported that women remain statistically underrepresented in STEM, making up “about 27% of STEM workers in 2019 in the United States,” and that according to a PEW Research survey students don’t pursue STEM degrees because they “think these subjects are too hard.” The reality of this statistic shows that somewhere along the lines, kids and especially girls decide to not pursue STEM-related fields despite the increase in STEM-related jobs.


Themed learning can be used to engage with your children about STEM topics, outside what they learn in school in order to sustain interest and excitement about the field! This doesn’t have to be a daunting or time-consuming endeavor as there are so many resources online including YouTube videos and STEM-themed games. offers an online learning platform that combines traditional learning (lessons), interactive learning (games and quizzes), and hands-on learning by sending a DIY STEM kit straight to your house. The combination not only ensures a comprehensive education but makes learning about these topics meaningful and relevant to their own learning style and encourages an interest outside of what is being learned in school where there is often pressure to achieve certain grades.

Themed learning can also be executed by watching STEM videos with your children! There are so many resources to be found through a simple search and offer a great opportunity for dialogue after, where you can talk to your child about what they have learned or what they are confused about. Plus, these videos are just as fun and engaging as Paw Patrol or Baby Shark!

There are many STEM-related videos to be found on YouTube! Watching one can lead to suggestions for many others, and help craft a digital landscape that promotes learning as well as entertainment. (Video Source: Climate (STEM Lessons for age 4-6))

Speaking of the array of learning resources that can easily be found on the Internet, introducing your child to STEM concepts at an early age also builds a relationship between them and the devices they are using and will continue to use as they grow older.

For example, many children learn tactile functions through using an iPad, simply by watching YouTube videos and tapping the screen. However, children today often do not think about how the images on screen came to be, or investigate to find out. With the overabundance of technology and media, simply introducing the concept of coding can dramatically redefine a child’s relationship to the devices they use to consume their favorite content. You can also:

  • Introduce Java, Python, and HTML as just another language they can learn. Just as how people communicate with each other in different languages such as English, Spanish, or Mandarin — computers use a language made up of strings of numbers and specific words that do specific things!
  • Never pass up an opportunity to remind them that games, websites, and videos are created by people! Children can become so immersed in games and forget that they are more than just a means of entertainment, but also the result of creativity and hard work. Let your child know that the games they love are created by real people and that they could even create a game that people love just as much one day as well!
The game Zenik’s World featured on the online learning platform PlayZenik was created by a group of inspired and hardworking coders that wanted to create a game where each level was inspired by a different STEM topic
The game Zenik’s World featured on the online learning platform PlayZenik was created by a group of inspired and hardworking coders that wanted to create a game where each level was inspired by a different STEM topic

The world of STEM is wonderful, wide, and only getting bigger, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! As parents, you can take small steps to engage and incite or renew your child’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


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Tasha Lee is a recent graduate and budding writer with a keen interest in education — Whether that be through tutoring or providing live captions in order to make education more accessible. Currently, she is working at TechZenik, a company with one main motive: offering comprehensive STEM education to young children in order to afford them more opportunities later in life and doing this in a way that is as barrier-free and inclusive as possible!

Posted in guest post, Homeschool, Math

Top 10 Play-Based Ways to Teach Math to Preschoolers

Many families find that teaching preschool math through play is an appealing option. A play-based curriculum gives children the freedom to choose manipulative materials based on their learning concepts. It provides parents with the opportunity to use games that children love!

To help your preschooler develop early math skills, here are ten play-based activities.

Learn and Play with Money

Playing with money is a fun and easy way to teach children about math. You can let your child practice counting coins by giving him or her play money in different denominations. Your child will learn to recognize the value of each coin by playing this game. You can take it a step further by having your child count out the exact amount of change needed to buy an object or snack in the house.

Counting Activities

Counting activities are fun ways to teach kids how to count. They can use objects found around the house or in the classroom to practice counting. Kids can count plastic farm animals, crayons, blocks, or even people!

It’s important to count aloud with your child to reinforce the language associated with numbers and to let them know what they’re doing right. In addition, make sure you use different amounts and types of objects every time you do this activity so that their minds aren’t bored by doing the same thing repeatedly (which would cause them to disengage from learning).

Number Puzzles

A number puzzle is a simple game where you create a grid of squares containing numbers. Your child has to find a path through the numbers from one side of the grid to another. For example, he might have to work out which way he needs to go for the numbers on the squares he lands on to add up to seven.

Number puzzles are compelling because they’re good at developing problem-solving and math skills and can be played by kids of all ages. They are also adaptable for older children.

Make the rules more difficult or increase the number of squares in the grid if your child is in primary school.

Counting Routines

Learning math with your child is a lot of fun. It might not be the best way to teach math, but there are still plenty of ways to make learning enjoyable. As a parent or teacher, it’s essential to keep things lighthearted. Learn some counting routines so you can count out loud while walking around the house or while driving on the highway (the latter is also a great way to practice verbalizing numbers and other information).

Start by helping your child count objects as they go past them (for example, if you’re going shopping, you could ask him if he sees any oranges)—finally, many kids like counting games. If your kid enjoys playing with blocks and Lego bricks, find out what number he comes up with for each block or Lego piece, and then try counting it out loud.

Hands-On Math Games

Math games are a fun and easy way to include math in your child’s day. From simple counting games to more complicated addition, multiplication, and division skills, there are tons of math games that kids will love.

It can be challenging to know where to begin with many options available.

It’s time for you to get your game on. I mean, math on!

Color Collages

As they work, your kid will be exposed to various shapes and sizes, introducing them to the concepts of volume and area. They’ll also begin to understand the properties of different materials, like what happens when you glue or staple pieces together, which is an introductory science lesson.


They can hang these colorful creations on their bedroom wall or turn them into greeting cards they could send to Grandma. Colored paper collages are fun to make, and kids have tons of creative freedom – who knows what kind of colorful works of art your child will create next?

Patterned Planting

When you teach patterns using seeds and pots, you can place the seeds in various designs.

Use a variety of materials to teach patterns to preschoolers. You can use plastic animals, pom-poms, or other small objects you may have on hand. Tell students they will play with different shapes and make different pattern designs each day.

Press the pieces into modeling clay and tell students that each color represents a number. Show them how to match up the numbers and ask them which is more or less than another number. Patterns aren’t limited to only math concepts; you can also use patterns as writing activities for your preschoolers by having them draw or color different patterns on paper for practice purposes.

When teaching preschoolers about patterns, you may use any object, such as buttons, blocks, or even random household items like spoons and forks, to teach kids about varied sizes and shapes while reinforcing mathematical concepts like more/less than comparisons.

Card Games

Playing card games to teach preschoolers math is an interesting one. It’s a concept I tried with my daughter when she was young, and I had some success in that regard. The basic idea is to use a set of cards, each with a number on it—like playing poker or solitaire—and have the children learn about addition and subtraction by seeing if they can match their cards to the teacher’s cards.

Tracing Shapes

shape tracing and crafts with kids

In addition to these things, tracing shapes helps build self-confidence in children as they feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their final work come together. It also helps spark creativity in children because there are no rules when it comes to tracing shapes.

Your kid can draw each shape in any color or pattern they desire. Have your child pick out a sheet and then trace over the lines on the sheet using crayons or markers in whatever colors they want. Using different colored lines makes it easier for them to follow along and get feedback as they go along.

Measuring Ingredients

You can also teach measuring units like teaspoons and tablespoons by asking them to use a tablespoon to scoop up some flour or put three teaspoons of baking soda in the bowl. They can also be introduced to order—as in, “First we put in 3 cups of flour.”


Teaching ratios is another skill that kids need for math literacy. When you’re making a recipe with your preschooler, talk about the ingredients you’re using: “We’ll need twice as much flour as sugar” or “We’ll need 2 cups of butter for every 3 cups of sugar.” These are all skills that will help when they get older and have to do calculations independently.

Painting With Shapes

Painting with shapes is an easy, fun, creative way for preschoolers to learn about conditions.

Using a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of shapes in your painting can make the artwork enjoyable. You can use these techniques with paint on paper or other surfaces. The art is also great for other projects such as collages or scrapbooks.

You can cut out the different shapes you need from cardboard, wood, or even heavy paper. If you have a computer and printer available, it’s also easy to print out the required shape templates on card stock before cutting them out with scissors.

Encourage your preschooler to experiment! It doesn’t matter if they don’t color each shape carefully within its lines; they should enjoy creating with color and patterns as they paint their masterpieces.

You can easily teach your preschooler basic math concepts through play.

Play is an essential component of quality early childhood education. Through play, children learn and develop a wide range of skills.

It also aids children in developing their social and emotional skills, as well as their knowledge of math, science, and literacy. Play provides kids with natural opportunities to make sense of the world around them.

Researchers have found that play connects with the pleasure centers in our brains, which encourages learning and creativity. Play teaches self-regulation and promotes resilience because it allows you to try out new ideas that may not work right away.

You can easily teach your preschooler basic math concepts through play. The simple act of counting items together or stacking blocks reinforces essential number recognition while having fun playing together.

About Our Guest Post

Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.

If you want your article featured on – submit a request form.

Posted in guest post, Homeschool, Parenting, Reading

How to Choose Books at Your Child’s Reading Level

Teaching your kid to read is one of the most satisfying things you can do as parents. There is nothing more exciting than watching our babies grow and learn.

We all know that reading is an important skill. Children tend to learn to read their first books between the ages of 3 and 7. The earlier he or she begins to discover the love of reading, the easier it will be for them to become confident and independent readers as they get older. There are many online resources you can use to develop your child’s reading skills. It is important that once a child gets a small grasp of phonics we encourage them to continue building their literacy skills. This can be done by choosing books that are on their reading level and of interest to them.

Twin boys reading a book

Keep in mind, that children will not master reading skills overnight. The process takes time, and you must be patient with your child. You must also be supportive of their needs as they learn. The best way for a parent to teach their child how to read is by choosing books that are at just the right level.

Girl reads to her stuffed animal toys.

As a parent, it is important to choose books at your child’s reading level. By doing so, you are making the reading experience more comfortable for your child. Choosing books that are too easy will not challenge your child. He or she will not feel as if they are making any progress. On the other hand, choosing books that are too difficult can cause frustration for your child. It can lead to him losing interest in reading altogether.

The tips below will help you learn how to choose books at your child’s reading level.  This article will make the process of choosing books easier for you.

5 Steps to Choosing Books for Your Child (On Their Reading Level)

The 5 steps below are super easy ways to choose interesting books that your kid can actually read (on their own).

1. Learn your kid’s measured reading level

The first step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is knowing your child’s reading level. For this to happen, you will need to administer a reading test.

The best way to do this is with the help of a professional. They can tell you what level your child is at in reading. Then they can recommend books that are at that same level. It will allow you to choose books that are fun and challenging for your kids. It also ensures that they are learning new things while they read each book.

You can also do a reading test at home. One ideal way is by using the San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability (SDQA). The SDQA measures a child’s recognition of words out of context. This means that the child will read the words independently, not in sentence or story format. Generally, proficient readers

read as accurately both in and out of context. This test consists of 8 graded word lists from Pre-K to 7th Grade. The words within each list are of about equal difficulty.

This test is very simple and easy to do. You can do it at home in just a few minutes.


A minor fault of the SDQA testing method is that it is not suitable for comprehension testing. So, if your child pronounces words correctly but has trouble understanding what they are reading then this test may place them at a higher level than what is best for their reading enjoyment. Who can enjoy a story that they do not understand?

There are a plethora of online tests that you can give your child, to test word pronunciation and comprehension. Most will only take 10 to 30 minutes.

2. Searching for books that match your child’s reading level

Once you know your child’s reading level, it’s time to go out and buy the books. Of course, it will help if you can find out what the level is ahead of time. You can always get help from a teacher or librarian for this purpose. It will help you avoid buying books that are too easy or too difficult for your child.  Amazon’s children’s book section offers books for every age and stage.

3. The five-fingers spelling check and how to do it

The next step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is to do the five-fingered spelling check. It will tell you if you forgot any words to make sure that they are included in the words list. And it will prevent you from buying books that have words that your child can not pronounce.

You can do the five-fingers spelling check by asking your kid to hold up five fingers and read one page of a book. Put one finger down every time your kid doesn’t know a word. If all the five fingers end up down, the book is too difficult for your child.

This test can be done when buying a book in a store, at your local library, or while shopping online. If you are shopping for a book online, browse the look inside feature and ask your child to read one of the preview pages. 

4. A Quick Comprehension Check for Kids

The next step to choosing books at your child’s reading level is to check their comprehension. I mentioned this earlier when discussing the reading test. Who can enjoy a book that they don’t understand?  You can do this by asking your kids questions about what they have read. You can ask questions like “Who is the main character?”, “What happened in the story?” or “Why did that happen?”. Make sure that you do this as soon as your child finishes reading a book. If you wait too long after, they may have forgotten all about the story they read. So, it is best to do this right after they finish reading a book. If you notice a certain level of books or even books by a certain author are too difficult for your child to comprehend, try doing one of the following.

  • Re-read the book with your child.
  • Slow reading down and ask comprehension questions every page or every other page.
  • Go down a level and read books that are a tad bit similar. There is no shame in leveling down, your child will eventually be able to understand. We do not want to overwhelm children. We want them to develop a love for reading and acquiring knowledge.

5. Checking your child’s word pronounciation

The last step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is to do an audio check. It will help you find out if your child has any trouble pronouncing the words in the book. You can ask them to read short passages from the book. You can ask them to repeat words until they have them perfectly memorized. Make sure you provide the correct pronunciation before asking them to repeat words over and over. If you are unsure of how to pronounce a word, be open and honest with your child. Tell them “I am not sure about that one, but I will sound it out slowly so that I can say it correctly. Will you do it with me?”

8 Helpful Tips: Developing A Child’s Reading Skills Early

  1. Start reading with your kid from a young age.  It will give them the desire to learn how to read. Kids always want to do what they see mom or dad do.
  2. Encourage them to read books that are appropriate for their age. For example, if a young child is going to read a book about dinosaurs, make sure that the book doesn’t have any scary images. We don’t want our kids to be afraid of opening a book because a big scary dinosaur is there.
  3. Read with your kid every day. It will help them enhance their reading skills and learn how to appreciate stories. Bedtime is a perfect time to read.
  4. Encourage your kid to engage in conversations using what they have read. Talk about the books we read. It will help them to expand their knowledge and get ideas from the books you are reading together.
  5. Make sure that your child is always interested in what they are reading. “I can’t wait to read this book!” should be the feeling a child has when introduced to a book. Give your kids the opportunity to pick book topics that interest them. It will encourage them to keep reading.
  6. Whenever possible, turn regular TV time into reading time; for example, you can read aloud while your kid follows along with his book. As your child’s reading ability improves, he or she can even take over when you need a break!
  7. Give your kids multiple opportunities to read books based on their interests; this will help them develop their interests and differentiate between what they like and do not like, thus creating a more positive attitude towards learning. This will result in your child developing a love of reading.
  8. Actively teach phonics skills. Children as young as 2 or 3 years old can learn to read. Learn how to teach your child to read with these easy phonics videos, workbooks, and materials.  

We hope this article has helped you learn how to choose books at your child’s reading level. You can use the tips and strategies we have included in this article to make choosing books easier. Above all, the most essential thing you can do is to read with your children!

Learn About Our Guest Author

Andrea Gibbs is a blog contributor and stay at home mom
Andre Gibbs

I’m Andrea Gibbs! Born, raised, and still living in New York. I’m a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I’m a blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Rego Park, New York to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.

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