Engineering for Kids – 5 Tips to Introduce Engineering to Your Child
Look around you. At least 95% percent of the things around you were created by an engineer, or an engineer played a role in its creation.
Engineers and their skills are in high demand across many sectors, and that is why they are one of the most lucrative jobs.
Engineering is, without a doubt, one of the most admired careers in the United States. Most people who are already in the job market but outside engineering will confess that they wanted to venture into engineering at some point in life.
As a young child, it is important to explore STEM subjects. STEM encourages children to experiment, research, and make mistakes as they learn how things work and take their own experiences to reach the right outcomes. It encourages critical thinking, logical analysis, and project-based learning, which are all key stepping stones in any STEM education.
As a parent, you must immerse your kids into engineering as early as possible, especially if they’ve shown an interest at a young age. Read on for 5 tips on how to introduce engineering to your child at a young age.
Make sure to check out our article on The Importance of STEM in Childhood Education!
1. Tell Them What Engineering Is
The first thing you should do is explain to them what engineering is and some of the things it entails. Engineering to kids (or at least most of them) involves building and setting up structures. This couldn’t be further from reality.
There are almost a dozen different types of engineers. (typesofengineeringdegrees). Some of the well-known ones include electrical engineer, civil engineer, mechanical engineer, software engineer, and chemical engineer.
In contrast, the lesser-known ones include aerospace engineer, biomedical engineer, petroleum engineer, marine engineer, and a host of other different classifications.
Each class of engineers has specialized in a completely different thing, and it is crucial that young children understand this. To drive the point home, you can use different things within the house to explain how an engineer played a role in its design.
You can find our Free Engineering Design Process worksheet here.
2. Enroll Them in An Engineering Camp
If your child has shown interest in engineering concepts, you can help them grow that interest by enrolling them in an engineering camp for kids. What kid doesn’t love a good camp experience?
Better yet, when it is for something they are genuinely interested in. An engineering camp is a great place for your child to engage in different hands-on engineering activities with other children. It allows them the opportunity to learn and grow.
These camps offer fun activities that encourage the exploration of both math and science.
They provide the perfect combination between education and fun while also giving your child a chance to interact with other children their age that share the same interests.
Most of these camps are sponsored by top-rated universities and are well equipped to teach your children the basics of engineering. It is a great way to get more of an engineering education outside of their regular curriculum.
3. Encourage Them to Engage in Extra-Curricular Activities
Engineers achieve their successes by putting in hard work and being proactive. These are some of the qualities you need to instill in your child early on.
A good way to do so is by encouraging young engineers to get involved in extra-curricular activities and school programs that can help grow their interest in the field of engineering.
Some of these activities have local, interstate and national competitions and science fairs that kids can enjoy participating in while improving their knowledge and familiarizing themselves with the fundamentals of the field.
It is also a great opportunity for children to meet like-minded peers, learn to cooperate, and further develop their interpersonal skills.
4. Find A Mentor for Your Child
For kids of an older age who are now more serious and focused on getting into the engineering field, a mentor could be life-changing. Mentoring offers much more than just an extra technical learning experience.
A mentor helps aspiring engineers by providing them with insight into the industry, introduces them to key social issues, teaches them how to listen, and guides them on finding solutions to potential problems.
Especially for a career as competitive as engineering, mentoring is integral in teaching the young ones how to navigate the industry and find their own success. With such guidance from an early age, kids should be able to channel their natural curiosity in healthy and productive ways.
5. The Internet Is Your Friend
In this digital age where you can do your shopping from the comfort of your couch, connect with friends and family who are on the other side of the globe, and even get a ride with the tap of a button, it shouldn’t be hard to find helpful information on how to go about learning more about engineering for kids. There are parent groups and countless articles online that can provide helpful information.
There are also a few apps that have been developed specifically for kids. A good example is the one from SOLIDWORKS. It introduces the concept of CAD and product design in a fun, engaging way.
Minecraft is a popular game with kids and is especially beneficial for those interested in engineering careers. It can help them build their engineering skills as well as their problem-solving skills.
At the end of the day, if your child is interested in engineering, it shouldn’t be hard to get them engaged in activities that could help them grow and develop their skills.
Everything we have included on our list is great for getting your children more interested in arts and crafts, engineering, science, exploration, and research. It helps them develop more of a DIY mindset as they strengthen the skills they will need later in life.
Make sure to check out our article comparing Snap Circuits and Little Bits if electrical engineering interest you.