Bringing STEM Home

Through youth development programs such as Afterschool and Early Learning Readiness, the Y seeks to provide underrepresented youth across the country with support, encouragement and resources to improve their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills year-round. Parents and caregivers can inspire girls and boys by bringing fun STEM activities into the home


MAKE MATH FUN! When children are preschool-age, begin playing with piggy banks and asking them to count out change. Encourage them to spend their money in a vending machine or a dollar store, and keep track of what’s left.

BUILD ENGINEERING CHALLENGES WITH HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. Use handy supplies like cardboard, tape, straws, spaghetti, marshmallows, index cards or pennies to jumpstart an engineering challenge. Ask your child to build a bridge, a ramp or the tallest structure they can attempt. Encourage critical thinking skills by asking questions like: What do you think would happen if…? What do you think you might do differently next time?

COOK TOGETHER IN THE KITCHEN. What makes bread rise? What are the factors that impact success? It’s important to encourage children’s natural curiosity. Invite them to help you in the kitchen where they can explore, question and investigate. Support math skills by asking: What measurements would be required to make one loaf of bread instead of two?

CREATE AN OUTDOOR SCAVENGER HUNT. No matter where you live, there is an interesting world outside your door. Give each child an envelope with a challenge such as, “Find five different types of leaves,” and have them place the leaves in the envelope.  Have your children bring back their discoveries and talk about what they observed.


To learn more about how the Y prepares youth for success, visit

Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas