Nov. 8 is National STEM Day—a day that encourages kids of all ages to get excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

For some children, subjects like science and math seem boring and are not favorite classes in school--but it doesn’t have to be this way., a nonprofit organization that focuses on early childhood services and kindergarten readiness, suggests taking advantage of young children’s natural curiosity to get them interested in STEM subjects at an early age.

“Parents and educators can foster this curiosity by guiding children through their journey and by providing additional questions, explanations, and examples to help inspire deeper exploration,” the website explains.

And is critically important. STEM occupations are among the fastest growing jobs in the United States, but research shows that few American students pursue studies in STEM fields. Women and minorities are especially underrepresented in these occupations.

A Look At The Numbers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in science and engineering occupations will grow by 18.7%, compared to 14.3% for all other occupations. Approximately 59% of this increase will be computer/mathematical scientist occupations. Other science occupations will increase as well with biological or environmental scientists (20.4%) and social scientists / psychologists (18.5%) being the most notable. Another growing field is healthcare. While healthcare practitioners and technicians are not considered to be a part of the science and engineering occupational category, this field contains significant numbers of people trained in the same areas and is projected to grow by 25.9%.

Those working in STEM occupations also earn higher wages than those in Non-STEM occupations. In 2018, BLS reported the median annual wage for STEM occupations was $84,880 compared to $37,020 for Non-Stem occupations.

Help Your Children Explore STEM
What better day than National STEM Day to get started on sparking your child's interest in STEM subjects? Here are five fun, hands-on activities that you and your child can do together. Not a STEM expert yourself? No problem! Each of the simple science projects below feature a video with instructions.

My Ice Observation - Transform a liquid into a solid (and vice versa) with this colorfully cold experiment

Engineer a Rocket Ship - Your child will create a pulley system and pretend a rocket ship is soaring through space. First design your ship with this template. Then follow the instructions in the video to make it fly. 

See Sound Waves - Use different noise-making objects to cause sound waves to make sand move! 

Explore Gravity with a Catapult - Use a combination of simple machines to build a catapult

Friction Racing - Build a ramp and then use a toy car to test which of the two surfaces has less friction.

WHRO Public Media & STEM

WHRO Public Media is a prominent leader in promoting STEM education throughout Southeastern Virginia.

Our STEM Van visits elementary school classrooms, libraries and community centers to offer hands-on learning activities and engage students with iPads and other technology.

During our Odd Squad "Be The Agent" Camps children craft their own gadget to solve a real-world case and interact with digital apps -- all while developing their math, technology, and problem-solving skills.

In our Coding Camps, students create their own stories, games and collages with the PBS KIDS ScratchJr tablet app.

Local STEM Opportunities:

Mad Science of Hampton Roads - A local organization that offers hands-on science experiences for kids through after-school programs, birthday parties and camps.

Virginia Air & Space Museum: STEM Saturdays - Investigate robotics, physics, chemistry and more with activities focused on the theme of the day. 

Want More Ideas?

The PBS Parents website has information, games and activities related to science  and math. Find activities based on age level, topic or PBS Kids show to engage your children at home.

PBS Kids Apps are another fun way to help your children explore STEM subjects. From ocean science based on the popular TV show Splash and Bubbles to exploring nature, charts and graphs, and science concepts with Sid the Science Kid, there is something for every age level and interest. Warning: some of the games can pretty fun and addictive for parents as well! has rounded up 49 more STEM activities that you can do with your children.

Read more about STEM:
Pew Research Center: 7 Facts About the STEM Workforce
The Learning Counsel: 5 Ways to Celebrate National STEAM/STEM Day