STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a hot topic these days. Teens can build interdisciplinary skills through competitions in robotics and cybersecurity, but what opportunities are there in San Antonio for younger children to get excited about science?
The San Antonio Children’s Museum offers weekly, monthly, and seasonal science classes and activities for young children. Depending on your child’s age and schedule, you can probably find a science class that works for you.
Pint Sized Science (ages 4-6) classes are offered Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. in one of the downstairs party rooms. It’s free with museum admission. We started attending regularly over the summer, when I made the decision to homeschool my six-year-old son, F.T.
Every week there is a different topic. The museum provides all the materials: crumbled Necco wafers? Yep. Rainbow crystals? Sure. Live earthworms? Got it. From biology to engineering to physics to chemistry, they have it covered. The projects engage all of the senses and are very hands-on. The staff are on hand to guide your kids, but they stand back and let kids make discoveries for themselves.
The science activities build teamwork skills, too. As the capstone of the project on ramps and roller coasters, the kids teamed up to build a giant roller coaster out of foam tubes and took turns rolling marbles down the tubes and across the room.
For slightly older kids, the Homeschool Science Club (ages 7-10), meets about once a month, also downstairs. Advance tickets are available online; members get a discount.
Last month, F.T. went to Homeschool Science Club to build a windmill. In the first few minutes, he kept checking to see if little sister G.N. and I were still nearby playing in the Kids’ Market, but he quickly got engrossed in the project. I peeked through the window and saw him literally jumping with joy because his windmill worked. The older kids in the class added pulleys to their windmills; F.T. thought those were really cool, so he talked me into going to the hardware store and doing a pulley project at home.
Can’t make to the museum on a weekday? The Investigation Station is open Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. (also Fridays at 3 p.m.). It’s free with museum admission. Just wander by the lab table in Science City, on street level.
Also, the museum offers holiday camps, including a science camp and a Lego camp during Thanksgiving week; be sure to register in advance.
- Toddler & Pre-K: Pint Sized Science
- School kids: Investigation Station on weekends; holiday camps
- Homeschoolers: Pint Sized Science up to age 6; Homeschool Science Club up to age 10
In case the Children’s Museum changes its schedule, be sure to check their website or give them a call at (210) 212-4453.
You have several transportation options for getting downtown. The Children’s Museum will partially validate your parking at the garage at Houston and Navarro; the vehicle entrance is on College Street. (You may have parked in that garage before to see a show at the Majestic.) Going green? Catch a bus or ride a B-cycle. In 2015, we can all look forward to visiting the new museum campus—currently under construction—on Broadway near Brackenridge Park.
I hope you will give one of these science classes a try. It’s a great way to build your kids’ interest in STEM subjects, plus teamwork skills and independence. But it’s too early to think about what major they will choose in college . . . right? (There are lots of well-paying jobs in STEM fields. Just saying.)
Do you have a favorite at-home, do-it-yourself science experiment? Or a favorite science class or camp in San Antonio? Please leave a comment and share.