Here is a STEM challenge for happy kids. It is a very simple activity that you can start anytime with your kids. It promotes communication and reflection whilst being a tool for brain development in your child.
Inspiration for the STEM challenge
I am a huge neuroscience fan. I have done a lot of work in this area and am constantly amazed at how the brain works, operates and adapts. I am always looking at new ways to incorporate this type of information and learning into my kids days and thought it would be of interest here too. After all, Neuroscience is one of the science areas in STEM!
Brain development and, in particular, plasticity (or re-wiring) is a very interesting field. It has long been known that the brain can adapt and form new connections based on experiences and repetitions. One of the prime times for this to occur is in younger ages when many huge developmental leaps are made. In other words, preschoolers have the ability to act as ‘sponges’ to rewire and adapt to new things extremely well.
Rewiring the brain
So, what does the research say? Positive thinking can definitely alter brain connectivity and function. There is a huge social movement for mindfulness and well-being activities some of which include meditation, journals, colouring in and being present in the moment. These types of activities have been shown to
- generate new nerve connections
- quicken cognitive speed
- improve analytical capabilities
- change outlook on things
- improve alertness
- increase happiness.
Which got me thinking… how would we apply this to toddlers and preschoolers?
Thus, I came up with the challenge below.
What is the STEM challenge for happy kids?
So… I challenge you, as parents of your kids, to the following:
- Sit down with your kids so that you are at eye level with them.
- Ask them to recall 3 things that made them happy today. You may need to prompt or help them initially with these discussions if they are not something you would usually have. Make it a game and fun for your child. The responses shouldn’t be stressful.
- Do this every day for 21 days.
- Optional: Record their responses. Do this after you have had the discussion so that there are no distractions.
- Optional: Share with your kids 3 things that made you happy today as well. I think this is really important as they learn and will often mimic so much from your responses. Not to mention it will likely help to improve your happiness too. A win-win from my book!
Have time to reflect on this challenge. See how the responses develop over the 21 days.
- Are there any patterns?
- Are they all the same?
- Do they say the same things on certain days?
Then at the end of the 21 days ask your children:
- How they are feeling?
- Do they like talking about the 3 things that made them happy?
Have you learnt anything from doing this challenge with your kids? Was it hard or easy to do?