STEM for families

​By showing your child that you have a positive attitude to STEM and you see the great possibilities it presents, you can have an impact on how your child feels.

The way that STEM subjects are taught may have changed over the years, but families are still able to support children of all ages engage in STEM related experiences.

Getting involved

You can support your child to engage with STEM in a number of ways, for instance:

  • Encouraging children to investigate and ask questions about the real world. You can support this by asking open-ended questions. For example, 'Can you describe..?', 'I wonder what would happen if..?', 'How would you answer that question..?' , 'What if..?'
  • Supporting play activities that are STEM-related. For younger children, this could include playing games to identify different shapes, numbers and patterns, singing songs and nursery rhymes about numbers and playing with building blocks. For older children, this could include using a digital device to make a movie with special effects, learn cooking skills and encouraging the use of apps and computer games that are STEM-related.
  • Engaging your child's child care facility or school and asking the educator/teacher what opportunities exist for children to learn about and experience STEM. You could also investigate opportunities to get involved in STEM-related learning activities. Some schools and childcare facilities have opportunities for families to volunteer for classroom-based activities and excursions.
  • Asking your Maternal and Child Health nurse for examples of STEM-related activities that you can do at home with your child.

For secondary school learners, this may include:

  • Engaging your child’s school or learning institution about STEM subjects that are offered and extra curricula activities that may have a STEM focus, such as national science forums, pedal prix, engineering challenges and coding challenges.
  • Engaging with young people about STEM-related careers and educational pathways and seeking the advice of teachers and careers advisers about the broad range of STEM-related educational pathways that are available.

Websites and places

Victorian Maths Challenge: Explore and solve maths challenges with family and friends. Amongst many activities, young children can collect, count and sort objects from the garden, balance on a see-saw and find patterns in the world around us.

Museums Victoria cares for the state's scientific and cultural collections.  Museums Victoria includes Melbourne Museum and Scienceworks. These museums provide stimulating exhibits and activities ensuring that families can maximise their STEM experience.

Zoos Victoria - Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo - provide families with the opportunity to discover a wild range of wildlife and learn about conservation. Over the school holidays, students aged 13 to 18 years old can participate in the Youth at the Zoo membership program.

The Digital Technologies Hub for families provides learning resources on digital technologies. The families section of the hub contains information, activities, careers advice and cybersafety links for families to explore.

The STARportal is the go-to place for families to discover local STEM activities for the children in their lives and for providers to find partners with which to collaborate.

Cosmos is a science magazine published in Australia. Its accompanying website has latest science news, discoveries, developments and events.