This Valentine’s day why not take some time to help the young girls in your life fall in love with technology, engineering and creative projects and activities. Not sure where to start?
Here are 6 ways you can get started!
Learn how to code together.
You may have heard your kids talk about Scratch. It’s a tool used in most schools to teach kids to code and there is a simple online version that anyone can use for free. The online tool is much more than just coding a cat. There are music videos, animations, games and tonnes of other activities. The website has a number of examples of activities you can try together. https://scratch.mit.edu/ Don’t enjoy scratch, don’t give up. There are a lot of other ways to learn to code. You can try some simple online projects with BBC micro:bit kits borrowed from the library. It doesn’t need to cost anything! This website is a good place to start: https://microbit.org/ideas/
Play with STEAM.
STEAM = science, technology, engineering, art and math. Boys often get encouraged to experiment with computers and STEAM activities at home more than girls do (with the exception of the occasional pink themed items). Encourage girls to experiment, play games, or do other STEAM activities together. A lot of ideas for activities can be found online and many can be done with things laying around the house. This home crystal making project can be done with things in your kitchen. https://babbledabbledo.com/science-for-kids-crystal-garden/
Problem solving opportunities.
Research has shown that boys are often encouraged to solve problems, but girls are fed the instructions for tasks. Ask questions to encourage problem solving such as “Where/How might you find that information?” “What happens if….?” and give them freedom to experiment. One challenge we tried recently was to have them come up with an invention. They could draw or write to describe their invention and there were absolutely no limits to what it could be or how it was made. It’s very entertaining to see what they come up with.
Young children are sensitive and most of their own self-worth comes from you. You can empower them and help them see that they can be good, even if it’s something new. Help them see it’s not about being the best, it’s about doing their best and praise them for trying. Help them see they can succeed from learning and practice and can develop their ability. No one is born a coder, everyone starts somewhere. Help them to talk confidently about their achievements and nourish self-belief. Celebrate the little things and make sure they know they can do it.
Biologically, boys and girls brains are not that different in terms of TEC subject capability. Outdated notions that boys are better at maths, engineering, computer science, science and gaming have proven wrong time and time again. In fact, when girls do study those subjects in school, they often do better than the boys. Pay attention to any “I can’t because that is for boys” comments and find role models who already do those things. Critically, also listen to your own comments and those made around your girls. If they continue to hear that this isn’t really for girls, they will start to believe it. If you need some mentors, here is a brilliant free resource for tons of awesome women who are awesome at all things TEC. https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=23086
Try it out together.
There are lots of free events like Tech Jams where all ages and experience can go and play with support from knowledgeable volunteers. From Minecraft to micro:bits and Raspberry Pi, these sessions are a great way for you and your daughter to try new things. Looking for one just for girls? Well you are in luck. Our first TECgirls event is on the 4th of April and with tones of creative activities, it’s a great way to explore, play, and learn together. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tecgirls-live-4th-of-april-tickets-93392253745