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      How STEM classes benefit children

      In our competitive society, many children participate in extracurricular activities after school to gain an edge. These activities are well known to lay the foundation for the development of intelligence, personality, social behaviour and learning capacity, and as vital elements to ensure your child does not fall behind in their development.

      STEM or STEAM activities for children are no exception and there is much research that points to their ability to foster a child's ingenuity and creativity, encourage experimentation, teach problem solving and critical thinking1. They also enhance engagement, help define a child's sense of self and thereby increase confidence, and boost resiliency2. Studies from researchers Eccles and Barber (et al) have demonstrated that children who engage in after school activities and find that spark of interest are also likely to enjoy improved cognitive abilities and concentration, skills which translate into academic performance3. Research into the impact of STEM activities for children on learning outcomes in Asia education on learning outcomes in Asia directly backs this up, demonstrating effective improvement in academic achievement, student motivation and attitude4.

      Moreover, children are natural scientists, engineers and problem solvers. They ponder the world around them and try to make sense of it the best way they know how by touching, tasting, building, dismantling, creating, discovering, and exploring. They can be absorbed in building lego blocks or solving rubik’s cubes for hours. Research shows that play has a key role in developing, encouraging and promoting problem solving skills from birth and throughout life5. So for kids, after school STEM classes or lego plays with a hands-on bent aren’t just educational. They’re fun and boost holistic development!

      Also if you want to give your child the best chance of a rewarding career, encouraging them to develop STEM skills may be imperative. STEM skills are important for a career because workers with these capabilities are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in STEM-related fields are growing faster than fields in any other area. These jobs also on average have higher wages than skills that don’t involve STEM skills. In part, this is because we are increasingly understanding that such capabilities are critical for innovation and problem-solving.

      According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2030, up to 375 million workers (or roughly 14% of the global workforce) may need to switch occupational categories and acquire new skills, due to technological automation and other factors. Similarly, a report by the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, half of all employees will require reskilling or upskilling to keep up with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The report notes that workers with STEM skills will be in high demand, particularly in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analysis. Developing STEM skills may in fact be even more critical than we can imagine for our children to have rewarding and fulfilling careers.

      What exactly do we mean by STEM or STEAM activities for children?

      According to Bybee6 and Sanders7, STEM education is a spectrum that focuses on solving real problems which have an interdisciplinary nature at its core. Another view is that STEM education is a meta-discipline based on learning standards where teaching has integrated teaching and learning approaches, and where specific content is undivided, contemplating a dynamic and fluid instruction8. More recently, STEM education has been defined as an interdisciplinary teaching method that integrates science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other knowledge, skills, and beliefs, in particular, to these disciplines9. The ambit of STEM courses for kids is therefore broad to encompass problem-solving with real-world problems that integrate many disciplines.

      This multi-disciplinary character of STEM courses can help prepare a child for longer term career and life success that needn’t be in a STEM-related area such as programming, computer science or laboratory work. Innovative thinking, collaborative skills and engaged curiosity nurture a transformation from child to versatile professional in an evolving workplace10. Although it is important to note that in order to optimize the benefit from extracurricular STEM or STEAM activities for children, researchers suggest that STEM learning needs to be encouraged from an early age and that STEM interest is largely fully formed by the age of 10-14 years11.

      Bizibuz boy coding

      What is the difference between STEM and STEAM kids’ activities?

      Both STEM and STEAM education aim to provide children with a well-rounded education that prepares them for future careers and helps them develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. However, there are some key differences between STEM and STEAM activities:

      • Focus: STEM activities focus primarily on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These activities are designed to help children develop skills in fields such as coding, robotics, and math. In contrast, STEAM activities also incorporate the arts, such as music, visual arts, and drama. This allows children to explore their creativity and develop skills in areas such as design and innovation.
      • Approach: STEM activities often have a more structured and systematic approach, focused on logic and problem-solving. STEAM activities, on the other hand, often take a more creative and open-ended approach, allowing children to explore their own interests and ideas.
      • Benefits: While both STEM and STEAM activities provide children with valuable skills and knowledge, STEAM activities provide an additional focus on creativity and innovation. This can help children develop skills in areas such as design thinking and problem-solving that are increasingly important in today's rapidly changing world.

      In summary, STEM activities focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, while STEAM activities also incorporate the arts. Both approaches provide children with valuable skills and knowledge, but STEAM activities provide an additional focus on creativity and innovation, which can help children develop skills in areas such as design thinking and problem-solving.

      Kids’ STEM classes on the Bizibuz platform

      The Bizibuz platform categorizes children’s STEM classes under “STEM” and Arts classes in the more traditional sense of visual and performing arts under “Arts”, however many of the kids’ STEM courses do incorporate elements of creativity and design so parents can regard STEM and STEAM as interchangeable notions when searching for kids’ activities on the Bizibuz platform.

      Our wide range of extracurricular STEM classes for children are designed to engage their natural curiosity and give them an edge in developing creative problem solving. Children learn a growth mindset by doing, build specific skills in areas such as coding, robotics and engineering, and are able to genuinely differentiate themselves from other students.

      How old should a child be to try STEM or STEAM classes?

      Generally, STEM classes are most appropriate for children who are at least 5 years old and have developed basic literacy and numeracy skills.

      Here are some general guidelines to consider when deciding if a child is ready for STEM classes

      • Interest and Curiosity: Children who show an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math are more likely to enjoy STEM classes and benefit from them. If a child is curious about how things work, enjoys problem-solving, or likes to tinker with gadgets, they may be a good candidate for STEM classes.
      • Basic Skills: To fully participate and benefit from STEM classes, children should have basic skills in literacy and numeracy. They should be able to read and write simple sentences, and have a basic understanding of math concepts such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
      • Social and Emotional Development: Children should also be socially and emotionally ready for STEM classes. They should be able to follow instructions, work in groups, and communicate their ideas effectively.
      • Developmental Stage: The ideal age for a child to try STEM classes may also depend on their developmental stage. For example, younger children may benefit from hands-on activities that involve exploration and discovery, while older children may be more interested in more advanced topics such as coding or robotics.

      Ultimately, the decision of when to enroll a child in STEM classes will depend on the child's individual interests, abilities, and developmental stage. It's important to choose classes that are age-appropriate and designed to meet the child's specific needs and interests.

      Is it possible to boost my child’s exposure to STEM activities at home?

      Even if you don't have access to formal STEM classes through education centers, it is definitely possible to introduce your child to STEM activities at home.

      Encourage exploration and experimentation: Provide your child with materials and tools that allow them to explore and experiment with science, technology, engineering, and math concepts. For example, you could provide them with building blocks, circuit kits, or coding toys that encourage problem-solving and creativity.

      Use online resources and apps: There are many online resources and apps that provide fun and interactive STEM activities for children. Some examples include Khan Academy, Scratch, and Code.org.

      Attend STEM events and activities: Look for STEM events and activities in your community, such as science fairs, maker spaces, and coding clubs. These events can provide your child with hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to meet other kids who share their interests.

      Incorporate STEM into everyday activities: Look for ways to incorporate STEM concepts into your family's everyday activities. For example, you could involve your child in cooking and baking activities that involve measuring and fractions, or use a telescope to explore the night sky.

      Read STEM-related books: Reading books that feature STEM-related concepts and themes can help spark your child's interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Look for age-appropriate books that feature real-world examples and engaging illustrations.

      Remember that exposing your child to STEM activities at home can be a fun and rewarding way to help them develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity skills.

      A wide range of extracurricular STEM courses for kids

      While it is possible to foster a passion for STEM in kids through activities at home, STEM classes take a lot of creativity and effort so it’s also worthwhile exploring what third party solutions exist for children that are educational and stimulating! The Bizibuz platform has a range of after school STEM courses for kids covering diverse activities from Coding cool creations like websites and Minecraft mods, to tinkering with Robotics, building striking structures in Engineering, becoming a Maths wiz or a Chess champion, conducting surprising Science experiments, or doing a deep dive in Chemistry, Physics or Biology. Many of these specialities may be overlapping. For example, children can learn about coding, mechanics, and electrical engineering through robotics activities. Science experiments involve hands-on exploration of scientific concepts and methods such as hypothesis testing and data analysis, often in the context of chemistry, physics, and biology.

      While exam preparation and after school study are important for children, giving students the opportunity for a more balanced learning experience through an after school STEM program can help them develop into more well-rounded individuals with a life-long passion outside the classroom!

      Bizibuz KnowYourChild™: Find out if your child has an aptitude for STEM

      Our unique KnowYourChild™ tools are a series of benchmarking tools for children of different ages designed to track a child’s development, highlight necessary intervention and hidden talents, guide on activities to optimize performance and monitor the efficacy of activities over time.

      These tools are developed using advanced algorithms and input from top universities including the Education University of Hong Kong and Polytechnic University and senior teachers from leading institutions including the Chinese International School and Canadian International School.

      Our Primary KnowYourChild™ tool is the first of its kind to gauge the logical reasoning skills of a child aged 6-12 years of age in order to uncover an aptitude for STEM and in particular coding. A child is asked a series of questions in the area of coding that measure their ability to problem solve and recognize patterns. After the child has completed the tool, parents receive a comprehensive report of their child including smart activity recommendations targeted to address either weaker areas (performance more than one standard deviation below the mean) and to foster talents (performance more than two standard deviations above the mean). If the child has previously used the KnowYourChild™ tool, the report also includes development trend analysis in order to reflect on the impact of activities previously undertaken.

      Visit our KnowYourChild™ tools in order to further explore your child’s developmental progress and activity recommendations that optimize your child’s talent in STEM.

      Bizibuz playing chess


      1. McClure, Elisabeth R; Guernsey, Lisa; Clements, Douglas H; Bales, Susan Nall; Nichols, Jennifer; et al. STEM Starts Early. The Education Digest; Ann Arbor Vol. 83, Iss. 4, (Dec 2017): 43-51.

      2. https://www.theedadvocate.org/7-benefits-of-stem-education/

      3. Eccles JS, Barber BL, Stone M, Hunt J. Extracurricular activities and adolescent development. J Soc Issues (2003) 59:865–89. doi:10.1046/j.0022-4537.2003. 00095.

      4. Wahono, B., Lin, PL. & Chang, CY. Evidence of STEM enactment effectiveness in Asian student learning outcomes. IJ STEM Ed 7, 36 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00236-1

      5. https://cms.learningthroughplay.com/media/vd5fiurk/what-we-mean-by-learning-through-play.pdf

      6. Bybee, R. W. (2013). The case for STEM education: challenges and opportunities. New York: NSTA press.

      7. Sanders, M. E. (2009). Stem, stem education, stemmania. The Technology Teacher, 68(4), 20–26.

      8. Merrill, C., & Daugherty, J. (2009). The future of T.E, masters degrees: STEM (). Louisville, Kentucky: Paper presented at the Meeting of the International Technology Education Association.

      9. Thibaut, L., Ceuppens, S., De Loof, H., De Meester, J., Goovaerts, L., Struyf, A., … De Cock, M. (2018). Integrated STEM education: a systematic review of instructional practices in secondary education. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(1), 2. https://doi.org/10.20897/ejsteme/85525.

      10. Sarama, J.; Clements, D.; Nielsen, N.; Blanton, M.; Romance, N.; Hoover, M.; Staudt, C.; Baroody, A.; McWayne, C.; McCulloch, C. Considerations for STEM Education from PreK through Grade 3. Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE)

      11. Wong, Billy. (2012). Identifying with Science: A case study of two 13-year-old ‘high achieving working class’ British Asian girls. International Journal of Science Education. 34. 43-65. 10.1080/09500693.2010.551671. Murphy, C., & Beggs, J. (2005). Primary science in the UK: A scoping study. Final report to the Wellcome Trust. London: Wellcome Trust.

      STEM courses for kids