Creativity and imagination are not just for artists; the same level of openness to ideas and creativity is required for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). Without imagination and curiosity, we would not have built a rocket to explore space or discovered antibiotics.
Creativity and imagination are the magical ingredients to STEM and our progress. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics go hand and hand, but adding creativity and imagination to STEM elevates the ability for innovation. Just add the magical ingredients of the arts (creativity, imagination and thinking outside the box) to STEM and you have STEAM.
“Creativity breaks the ice to enable learning [….] the skills of the 21st century need us to create scholars that can link the unlinkable. These scholars must be willing to try many combinations before finding the right answer. They must be comfortable with concepts that they can play with in new ways. We want smart-thinking, creative people. This is the formula for a better tomorrow.” Ainissa Ramirez, PhD, author of the TED Book Save our Science, recipient of MIT’s ‘Top 100 Young Innovators Award’.
Great achievements have been made by creative scientists thinking outside the box. They were clearly imaginative and curious to see what would happen if…… No matter whether your little ones end up with a career in the arts or in the sciences, engineering, or maths, they will need openness to ideas, creativity, and imagination to discover what is possible.
Your little ones are naturally inquisitive and want to touch, feel, taste, and understand everything around them. Nurture that curiosity and creativity by feeding their imagination. Support and encourage openness to new ideas by helping them discover different solutions and answers to any problem they come across by developing their divergent thinking. Remember, if it’s fun and engaging they will want to explore and find out more. Who wouldn’t?
Develop their creativity through activities using imagination and role-play as this is a wonderful springboard for STEM/STEAM activities. Be multi-sensory to ensure all your little ones are engaged and part of the creative process.
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
Some ideas to help stimulate their imagination and creativity whilst nurturing early math, engineering, and science and adding an A to STEM:
Jump on board a time travel machine and arrive in the land of the dinosaurs!
Discover a couple of Stegosauruses that have got stuck together and need help.
We pull them apart but, in the process, disaster as all their plates fall off. We need to pick up all their plates and pop them back. There are so many ways of doing this that will link to STEM/STEAM.
You could just use imagination or create some paper/card plates in different colours and they have to find them in the right order and put them back on the Stegosaurus.
With masking tape create a spine on the ground with coloured or numbered plates as the guide. The children then search for and find the right colour or numbered plates and place them on the stegosaurus.
Early maths and engineering
In our adventure back in the land of dinosaurs we must put the egg up high for the Titanosaurus to reach as she is so tall! Time for block play (to represent boulders and rocks) to build a tower and place the egg on the top for her to reach. This is a wonderful way to create little scientists as they experiment and observe their building efforts. This process helps them learn about mass, weight, proportion, and balance as they plan and predict the outcomes of their efforts and most importantly help the mummy and baby Titanosaurus.
What do we find in the land of the dinosaurs lots and lots of volcanoes? Think of all the fun you will have to create eruptions together with your little ones. Don’t stop there you can have fun with meteors hitting the earth (poor dinos) and they can see the damage when you show them images of the craters on the Moon.
Time for the trusty tuff tray or sand pit. If you are using the tuff tray fill it with smooth moon sand or sterilised flour. Get some small pebbles to represent the meteors and then have the children drop them from different heights and forces. Compare
the differences between the impacts made. Endless fun to be had with this one.
Early technology and engineering
Explore the different forms of transport and technology around us that could help us travel back in time to the land of the dinosaurs. Build something together that can fly, move, or float and help us get there but try to avoid being eaten up by the dinosaurs in the water, land, and sky – they are feeling very hungry!
Go forth and nurture their
creativity and imagination. Add an ‘A’ to your STEM as we need our little ones to make connections that no one else can see or think about.
Remember, CREATIVITY and IMAGINATION are the magical ingredients for science, technology, engineering, and maths to deliver progress and innovation.
“Creativity allows people to be effective.”
About the author:
Gina’s background was originally ballet, but she has spent the last 27 years teaching movement and dance in mainstream, early years and SEND settings as well as dance schools.
Whilst teaching, Gina found the time to has create the ‘Hi-5’ dance programme to run alongside the Australian Children’s TV series and the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy for Hit Entertainment.
Her proudest achievement to date is her baby Littlemagictrain. She created this specifically to help children learn through make-believe, music and movement. One of the highlights has been seeing Littlemagictrain delivered by Butlin’s famous Redcoats with the gorgeous ‘Bonnie Bear’ on the Skyline stage.
Gina has qualifications of teaching movement and dance from the Royal Ballet School, Trinity College and Royal Academy of Dance.