At QuestFriendz we believe that there is great value in connecting children’s imagination and curiosity about the world they live in with simple hands-on challenges and activities where problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity are the keys to finding solutions.
For parents who would like to spark their children’s interest in STEM learning and to develop a STEM learning mindset, we have some hands-on and practical off-screen activities to try out at home with your little ones. We call these bite-sized STEM learning activities, STEM quests.
Did you know that baking is a great way to introduce children of all ages to some core STEM skills? Even the littlest ones can help out with baking which can already help to shape a learning and growth mindset. Baking is a great way to learn abstraction but also other STEM skills like sequencing, measuring quantities, understanding chemical reactions, problem solving (trial and error), algorithm basics and creativity just to name a few.
In this activity, your child gets to pick their favourite cookies recipe and the quest is to create a shopping list for the ingredients needed to make the cookies. With this quest your child will get to practice and develop the STEM skills of abstraction.
The reward at the end is their favourite freshly baked cookies for the whole family to enjoy!
Challenge 1: You child can only look at the recipe instructions but not the ingredients list. Your child will need to use their STEM skill of abstraction to pick out the most important details from the recipe instructions in order to make a grocery list. For younger children, you will need to read the instructions for them and ask them to identify and help to note down the ingredients along the way.
Challenge 2 (for STEM superheros): You will need to abstract the equipment needed for baking. From all the kitchen utensils, the child has to select what is needed to bake her delicious recipe.
Additional challenge (for older children): You can start by giving your child a budget for their baking quest and then asking your child to select from their favourite recipes, one recipe that is based on ingredients that can be purchased within a certain budget set by the parent. This will require your child to exercise their problem-solving skills, by identifying which ingredients are needed and in which quantities based on the recipe they select. They will then need to assess if any of the ingredients are available at home and deduce which ones need to be purchased from the grocery store and in which quantities. They may need to adjust their recipe selection, ingredients and/or quantity based on their assessment. This is all part of a structured problem-solving approach.
Why is abstraction important? Abstraction is a key skill to learn for children. It helps to filter out the noisy details from the most relevant ones so that they can focus on solving a problem with the right information.
At QuestFriendz we believe that imaginative and hands-on purposeful play, when combined with problem-solving through play, are key to providing young children with an engaging and memorable experience. Starting STEM at an early age helps children to make important connections between everyday life and the STEM disciplines. Addressing young children also allows us to harness their natural curiosity. This magical state helps to accelerate learning including STEM learning. Children become better equipped to face a fast-paced and evolving world, when problem-solving skills and learning to fail are introduced from a young age.
We’ll be sharing some more of our favourite STEM educational quests for parents to try out with their kids at home or for teachers to try in the classroom. Stay tuned!
Would you like to learn to code and develop core STEM skills?
Take a look at our Lillicorn interactive STEM book series. Our books help children learn to code and develop core STEM skills in an interactive, inclusive and engaging way! Children solve a series of hands-on STEM quests (educational puzzles) individually or in small groups within a rhyming story. Our books are perfect for use at home, in school or on the move. We also have lesson plan guides available including activity sheets, games and other learning activities, to extend your STEM learning fun! Our books are available in English, French and Dutch language versions.