Kids get pretty bored when people try to teach them something in a way that doesn’t inspire their passions and energy. Combining learning with fun make a lesson more exciting. Kids might even find mundane subjects fascinating when you add in some fun. Combine the excitement of building an outdoor fort with STEAM for a fun day in the sunshine exploring the world.
What is STEAM?
You may have heard the term STEM. And STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Recently, experts added one more letter into this acronym by turning STEM into STEAM.This adds art to the equation. This more creative subject has its own controversy with some believing this addition takes away from the hard sciences. However, advocates believe that art is not taking away from, but adding to STEM with an imagination component.
Really, it makes sense on a level that even the hard sciences need imagination. An engineer needs to dream up the design that will be used, while scientists have to brainstorm new theories and ideas. It was Albert Einstein who said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Why Focus on STEAM?
STEAM is an initiative to get young people more interested in these fields. That’s because there is a knowledge gap among younger students, and the United States is starting to fall behind other countries when it comes to these fields. We’re creating a passionate and bright future by getting kids interested now so that they can make a difference later.
Fort Building and STEAM
Encourage your child put his or her scientist hat on when building an outdoor fort. Have them go outside, and look for a perfect place to put the fort. Have your kids define why the spot they picked will be an excellent spot for a fort. Give them a chance to brainstorm what function the outdoor fort should serve. Will it be base camp for their explorations into the natural world around them? Will the fort turn into a secret laboratory where they do experiments?
Kids may not have ample resources that allow them to stock their outdoor fort with all the latest technological inventions. However, they can dream about what tech tools they would need to support a particular type of project. Have them decide what kinds of technology they could use for their fort. Would they want a robot helper? Maybe a computer with a program that identifies all types of plants and animals during their explorations of the backyard would come in handy. Your child might even dream up some tech gear that isn’t around yet.
As mini-engineers, children have to come up with a design that will go into the fort. First, they build a fort skeleton that will support the blankets or sheets that create the walls of the fort. They have to be thinking of ways to improve the shape and size of the fort so that they’ll be able to use it after it’s built. This process is when you see the practical application of fort building. Your kids can use their engineering skills to determine if the ground is flat enough for their design, or what modifications they need to make so that their design on paper will work in real life.
The arts are huge when it comes to fort building. Children have to start thinking of the design that they have in mind. This is where their creativity comes into play. They don’t have to create a design like every other fort out there, as kids can come up with something unique and cool that fits their own style. The sky’s the limit when it comes to designing out a new outdoor fort idea on a piece of paper. Then, after the creative design is finished, your child tries to find ways to engineer this design to work in real life This is just like actual engineers and architects.
You can also incorporate math into building your fort. Geometric shapes play a role in building a fort along with length and measurements. When building your fort, you can tell kids the lengths of the Fort Magic poles so that they can work with or set up specifications to hit for a particular design. Some kids dread doing math, but if you can make it fun and practical for them, they may start to see how enjoyable math can be when used in real life. Sometimes, it’s easy to dismiss math because it seems rather abstract in how kids will use it outside of school. Building an outdoor summer fort represents one activity to help your kids to see how math can apply elsewhere.
Get outdoors and start building your fort. Fort Magic has a lot of different designs that you can use to kickstart your own brainstorming process of what you’d like your outdoor fort to look like when finished. Happy building!
How do you use fort building to teach your kids STEAM skills? Share your ideas with us below!
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The Artful Parent Blog: One of our absolute favorite creative blogs for children and families. The Artful Parent blog is filled with simple ideas to fill your family’s life with art and creativity. A must see blog for sure.