Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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7 STEM Books for Kids

Are you looking for STEM books that encourage and inspire STEM learning and play? My son is *extremely* picky about what books he is willing to read, and I sometimes struggle finding books that we both love. 

The books in this little collection are gold. Hands down. My son is willing (and even excited!) to look at and read them, and I absolutely love them. Every one of them! I have already been recommending them to friends, so I figured I should put them all on one page, and share them with you!

These books all meet all three of the following criteria:

1- Encourage STEM thinking: My kids want to experiment, tinker, explore, build, and create after we read them.

2- My kids enjoy them. This is incredibly important because if they don't want to read them, it doesn't matter how much they support STEM concepts. On the other hand, since ALL of my kids enjoy them, they are motivated and inspired by them too. My kids are 0-11 years old.

3- I love them. These 7 books are books that I am happy to open up and read to my kids over and over and over and...  Yeah, you know what I mean.  ;)  I have also used these books in community classes I've taught and and preschool co-ops.

So, what are they?! Here you go (in no particular order)...

STEM Books:

(images are Amazon affiliate links)

1- Zoey & Sassafras Unicorns & Germs: 

I adore this book soooo much! It is the first chapter book my son read from cover to cover by himself. It reviews the scientific method in action, teaches science reasoning, and introduces a gigantic unicorn. It also made my kids want to make yogurt from scratch and grow bacteria in petri dishes. Yep. True story! If you're lucky, I'll have time to write up how those projects went! The book's reading level is around 2nd grade, but my preschoolers were happy to listen to it as a read-aloud. My 11-year old read it on her own in about an hour.

2- Genius LEGO Inventions With Bricks You Already Have

This book is incredible. It is a step-by-step guide to making robots, moving toys, gadgets, games, and loads of other really cool LEGO creations (like a fully functional crane or a drummer that actually drums)! My kids followed some of the instructions and then were inspired to come up with their own projects too! I will admit that we did not actually have all the pieces needed for all the projects...but that wasn't hard to fix! The 40 creations are divided into 5 chapters: Marvelous Moving Robots, Terrific Mechanical Toys, Curious Contraptions, Invent and Imagine, and Construct and Compete Buildable Games. This book and a bucket of LEGO keeps my kids busy for more than an hour. Not even exaggerating.

3- The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague

This is another book that I am so in love with, mostly because it champions causes that have been dear to me for many years (racism and sexism in science) while simply celebrating someone who dared to defy the status quo of her time. I will admit that it did not make my kids love math, but it did spark a boat and submarine obsession that lasted several weeks. My kids were designing ships out of everything from aluminum foil and paper to clay and water bottle lids!

4- The Most Magnificent Thing

This book is perfect for preschoolers, but it also appeals to older kids who have ideas that don't always work out exactly the way they imagine the first time. I really love the emotions on the main character's face as she works through the design process over and over and over...and still doesn't get it right! I think every child and adult who has wanted to quit because they were getting tired of tweaking their design will relate to the main character and see themselves in her story. 

5- Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck

STEM for preschoolers and toddlers looks a lot different than it does for older kids. This book may not seem like a STEM book at first glance, but it has motivated inquiry-based exploration in my younger kids for three months straight. They are also slightly obsessed with garbage trucks now! Since this book arrived my girls have wanted to learn about garbage trucks, design their own garbage trucks and trash cans, learn about recycling, and find as many ways to make the sounds in the book as possible! (How many ways can you make a "click" sound? Let me tell you...there are a lot!) I also made a garbage truck sensory bin that was a huge hit.  (Did I mention they bring this book to me about 5 times a day??) And, just in case you wonder, my infant also loves this book!

6- Iggy Peck, Architect

This kid loves to build so much, that you will want to stop reading in the middle of it, pull out of a set of craft sticks, and let your own kids get to work! Seriously, though, his love for building is outrageous and contagious! And it makes a wonderful read-aloud for all ages!

7- Awesome Dawson

This is another one that you read with your kids and they immediately want to go build things...this time, with supplies from the recycle bin! (which I am happy to encourage!) My kids also appreciate how he feels about chores and the fact that he is, indeed, a superhero!

Do you have favorite STEM book? I always love new ideas! Feel free to email me or leave a comment!

Disclosure: We were provided review copies of Zoey & Sassafras, The Girl With a Mind for Math, Genius LEGO Inventions, and Vroom Vroom, but I love them so much I decided to write this article too! Like everything else, I only recommend things I absolutely adore!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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