Hello, Left Brain Craft Brain readers! I am Heather, from Only Passionate Curiosity, and I am so excited to be guest posting for you guys. A little about me- I am a homeschooling mom of four, and I am a hot mess. I am one of those people who tends to get super ambitious, but without fail, I end up procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed or just forgetting about all of my well-intentioned plans.
When it comes to my kids and their education, I know how important STEAM activities are. I want my kids to be curious about how the world works. I want them to be problem solvers. I want them to be creative. I want them to explore their world.
I want to set the example for them- so this year, I am working to make more time for STEAM in our home and in our lesson plans through organization, planning, and a little more flexibility!
Making More Time for STEAM
I’m all about lists, so here’s a helpful one for you. Tips to help you make time for STEAM in the new year.
Make a To-Do List for STEAM projects
It’s hard to make more time for STEAM if you don’t know what kind of activities you want to do with your kids. You can find a ton of great ideas by exploring Left Brain Craft Brain’s science for kids section or by heading to check out this STEM Pinterest board packed full of activities to do with the kids.
Create your own Pinboard of activities you want to do and save these pins here. You don’t want this board to be a dumping ground of all the activities that look cool- instead you want to focus on the activities you feel that you really could and would do with your kids. Take time to click through the pins to make sure the websites have all the supplies and instructions listed. As you work through the activities, you can use Pinterest’s new “Tried It” feature to mark it off.
A word of warning- this task has the potential to become a time-waster. Some of us have a tendency to procrastinate, and you don’t want to spend all your time planning projects and never doing them. If you are the kind of person to get sucked into the planning stage, set a timer, or set a goal of finding just 10 activities you want to do with the kids and stop there. Don’t let yourself get sucked into this time trap!
Stock up on STEAM supplies
It’s hard to do activities if you don’t have the supplies ready for them. In our home, we have a hutch near the dining room table that has two drawers, one for art, and one for science, and I keep them well stocked with supplies.
You can make a shopping list from the to-do list you created, or stock your drawers slowly over time. Here are some of the items I keep on hand in our home:
Paint, Markers, Crayons
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Clips, Rubber Bands, and other do-dads
Toothpicks, Popsicle Sticks
Engineer your week to allow for STEAM activities
Let’s be honest here- as a mom, I am not always excited about activities that have the potential to make a mess, or require a lot of energy from me, or take a lot of time. And, while STEAM activities can take just five minutes, some of them are a little more intense.
This year I don’t want to be afraid of the intense. I want to allow more time in my week for more fun, more learning, more messes- which means I need to plan for it.
The solution to many of life’s problems is to form a routine. Take a look at your day and determine when you have the most energy and patience. I am a morning person. I am at my best right after breakfast, especially on days when I don’t allow myself to head straight to the couch or computer. If I get right up, and stay up, right after breakfast I have the energy to tackle hands-on projects.
When I am planning out my week, I am setting aside one morning a week for hands-on STEAM activities. I’ll have a plan for which activity we are doing, and have the supplies ready to go.
Give yourself (and your kids) room to explore
Another goal of mine in 2017 is to say “yes” to my kids more often, and be more flexible with them. Keep your eyes wide open for oppourtunities to learn more about the world with STEAM. Lessons can pop up in the most interesting places- perhaps you see a neat insect while walking to the car (taking a closer look at how they move), or something breaks in your home (can your child try to figure out what went wrong?), or you are cooking dinner (why does the dough rise like that?) . . . you never know when the next mystery will need solved.
When these thing happen, and your child comes asking questions, take a deep breath and try to say “yes” to exploration. I’ve found that I am more likely to brush them off or hurry them along when I am feeling frazzled or overwhemed. Getting more organized is key to being more of a “yes” mom.
Get a planner that works for you. I realized this year that none of the paper planners on the market were designed with a mom in mind- they didn’t include room for me to keep track of everyting I needed to feel on top of things- so I created one myself. My Ultimate Mom Planner has room for everything from to-do lists to reminders, meal planning, chore routines, scheduling, lesson planning and more.
I hope it helps you feel less like a hot mess mom, and helps you accomplish more of your goals in 2017. Happy Planning!
Get the Ultimate Mom Planner on Sale Now- it’s flexible, undated and has room for all of the things a busy Mom can’t forget.