“And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again!”
This refrain from the song, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” rings true for a lot of parents, no matter how much they may enjoy the holiday season and extra time with kiddos who are out of school.
Our guest blog today comes from Tamara Hudgins, Executive Director of Girlstart. Girlstart is an organization focused on inspiring young girls and teens to take an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, and a long-time Youth Learning partner of Dell. Dell’s Youth Learning programs help kids around the global have better access to technology and a quality education and is a key focus of our Legacy of Good plan.
Tamara is here to share her tips on how to engage both girls and boys in fun, easy STEM activities this month, which she and her organization call, DeSTEMber.
Many schools have some sort of break in the last month of the year. As a mom, I can say that the downtime during these breaks is somewhat welcome, but I don’t want the learning to stop just because school is not in session. Many families and children are spending their month focusing on just a few short days of celebration, with the rest of the time waiting around for those celebrations to begin. At Girlstart, we subscribe to the belief that STEM fun (and learning) is everywhere and should be a part of our everyday experience. We also believe that when children take a break from their studies, it’s a great opportunity for parents, caregivers, and children to have STEM fun together, at home.
But unfortunately, it’s hard to drop everything and take time to dig around for a STEM activity. I can say this (in our mutual confidence) as a parent who is also juggling life, work, and parenting. It’s okay. We know. That’s why at Girlstart, the last month of our year is officially known as ‘DeSTEMber,’ and we view it as our job to help you have a fun, memorable experience with your child that is also supportive of their learning.
I remember when I was a child, some of my friends had those cardboard boxes with 31 cutout flaps, behind each of which was a chocolate. I never got one. But wow, did I want the joyful anticipation of being able to have a new treat each day. So, at Girlstart, during this special month dedicated to all things STEM, we give that experience to you and your family via our DeSTEMber website. Just like those daily treats, we bring you and your family a new, free, downloadable activity every day. These activities are easy and fun to do, using materials you generally can find at home, or that can be obtained during the weekly shopping run.
And it’s not just for families. DeSTEMber is our gift to educators, as well. These activities can be used throughout the year as icebreakers, warm-ups, or activities when you want to have a break and enjoy some STEM fun. We even align them to state and national science standards so you know how Girlstart’s work dovetails with your classroom’s learning goals.
Girlstart has been working on DeSTEMber since 2011, and every year we give you something new. As a result, more than 180 fun activities—plus even more activities posted to our blog!—await you! Come join us during our most festive time of year and take a look at our ideas!
Best wishes from your DeSTEMber elf,
Tamara Hudgins, Ph.D.
Tamara Hudgins, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Girlstart. Since 2009, Girlstart After School has grown from 4 to 65 programs and has been recognized as the most robust program of its kind in the nation, reaching over 20,000 girls, teachers, and family members each year. Hudgins has served in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and higher education communities in Austin, Chicago, and in Central Europe for 20 years, and earned her Ph.D. from Charles University in Prague.