Friday, 20 April 2018

GARDEN: Supporting Childrens STEM Learning Outdoors

GARDEN: Supporting Childrens STEM Learning Outdoors
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which focuses on how parents and educators can support children to think in a more connected or holistic way. Toddlers are naturally curious, so are often taking part in STEM activities without even realising. Being curious and playing go hand in hand, as questions are always being asked and answered. All we have to do as parents is provide stimulus, materials and experiences for our children's to explore and discover. 


Our senses are a big part of STEM learning and a great way to start teaching children to be more aware of themselves and their environment. Children will explore all day, if given the chance, so ensuring the environment is safe is key. You'll probably find that you're home and/or garden is already filled with STEM learning opportunities for children to discover, so it's just about making the most of them.

One item you can add to your garden this spring/summer to support your children's STEM learning is the Fountain Factory Water Table from Little Tikes (£59.99). This water table is unique in the sense that it enables children to explore all four aspects of STEM and is therefore ideal for supporting their development while they're having fun! The great outdoors is the ideal place to explore our five senses and with the addition of a water table you are able to ask questions to help them understand the world around them. Questions like...

What does it feel like?
What do you hear?
What does it smell like?
What does it look like?

You could always add ice cubes to the water tray for a different sensory experience too. When it comes to the Technology part of STEM it refers to tools more than electronics. A tool in this case is something that is designed or engineered to make someone's life easier, such as scissors, pipette, ramps and crayons. Using the Fountain Factory Water Table children can explore the purpose of the inbuilt water pump, control various water taps and work out what the hose can be used for. All of these are opportunities for us as parents to question further their understanding and explore new concepts together. 


The Engineering part of STEM is the start of problem solving, as children learn how things work and use this to build new things. The interchangeable pipes in this Little Tikes water table provide the ideal situation for children to discover what happens when they are changed around, as well as problem solve to get the whole system working together. The water boat, funnel and cup, that are included in the Fountain Factory, are also devices that can be explored. 

What does it sound like when the water goes through the funnel?
What happens when this pipe is removed?
How can we get water to pour out of this tap?
Why doesn't the boat sink?

The final part of STEM is Mathematics, which for toddlers is about simple counting, shape, patterns and space. The Fountain Factory Water Table has various pipes that can be counted, shapes to find, containers to pour from and into and different sized pieces to identify. You could also have some different sized rubber ducks floating around the water table, which can be sorted according to size or weight. The options when it comes to water play and mathematics are endless!


Isabella has absolutely loved making the most of the recent warmer days by mixing up potions in the Fountain Factory Water Table, changing the pipes around, doing the 'washing up', splashing around and making us all endless cups of tea. The imagination of toddlers never fails to amaze me.


How do you make the most of outdoor learning opportunities?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x


*This post contains PR samples. All opinions are 100% my own and honest. 
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11 comments

  1. What an amazing water table! We really need to buy a new one when we get back to the UK as our one has gotten a bit beaten up and broken over the years! I'll definitely be looking into this one. My two would love pouring water down all the funnels! Such fun!

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  2. We have a Little Tikes pirate ship water play table which my toddler LOVES! STEM subjects are so important, this is a really fun way to explore them x

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  3. This looks amazing my youngest would love it. STEM is so important and this a great way to introduce it.

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  4. This looks like a great addition to the garden. What a fun toy.

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  5. Oh the Little Tikes table looks amazing! We live self sufficiently and our 4 kids spend the vast majority of each day outside. STEM subjects are so important for everyday life, and many children are using STEM without their children even knowing it. Get kids outside and play!!!

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  6. Water is such a great learning resource for little ones, as well as amusing them for hours!

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  7. This is cool and I love how brightly coloured it is! I remember having something similar to this as a kid but not quite as elaborate x

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  8. That looks like a great water table. We have the Little Tykes Pirate Ship and I've literally put it on our deck today for my son to play with. He loves it and as you said a great way to introduce STEM to their lives.

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  9. That table looks like it has a lot going on but it also looks like a lot of fun. Both of my children attended preschools that were all about STEM learning and I embraced it at home as well.

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  10. This looks great! In fact my 2 year old was sat next to me when I was reading this and said "that cool mummy, me too?" haha! xx

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  11. That fountain factory water table looks amazing! I need to invest in some more outdoor play toys for my little bear since the nice weather is coming in. STEM is so important for children and nurturing that is brilliant for them. Definietly looking into this table.

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