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Why STEAM Education Is Universally Beneficial for Kids

Your child doesn’t have to be a Baby Einstein or the next Neil deGrasse Tyson to benefit from a STEAM education. And if they’re naturally drawn to science, there are huge benefits to ensuring that art is part of their education, too. Besides generating better test scores, an improved sense of well-being, and lots of fun, a well-rounded STEAM education can help children succeed in both school and real life by combining the scientific method with the creative process. How does one simple philosophy accomplish so much? The interdisciplinary STEAM approach simultaneously develops a variety of skills in project-based learning episodes: critical thinking, innovative problem-solving, communication, and technological literacy are often all required in order to achieve the lesson’s goal. Here’s a quick-and-dirty explanation of how STEAM develops each of these skills and why they’re important for kids:

Critical Thinking

Three girls assembling structures with marshmallows and toothpicks Critical thinking is the ability to analyze facts and draw conclusions. At a basic level, this could mean understanding that backtalking (a cause) results in losing television privileges (an effect). At higher levels, it involves more skillful deduction and educated guessing. In STEAM education, critical thinking is central to every lesson. The scientific method can introduce children to simple cause-and-effect relationships, but it can also demonstrate more complicated chains of reaction. An artistic approach may also teach students that mixing yellow and blue creates green, eventually empowering them to mix more nuanced shades through experimentation. Critical thinking skills are a huge benefit. They help children produce better test scores, and they may even help them maintain interest in learning materials. Beyond the classroom, critical thinking also enables kids (and adults) to screen for biases in the media they consume. It also improves productivity in analytical activities such as reading medical charts and maintaining personal finances.

Problem-SolvingFour kids pouring paint on a canvas

Problem-solving requires both critical thinking and creativity. To solve new problems, a child must be able to invent equally new solutions. STEAM lessons require innovative problem-solving in variety of ways. Artistic prompts are often open-ended and can be interpreted broadly, encouraging students to think creatively. Even science projects require a healthy amount of creativity—for example, what are the optimal conditions for growing a sunflower? Students must decide what variables to manipulate (water, sunlight, fertilizer, singing to the plant…) and by how much in order to answer their scientific questions. Problem-solving skills will carry kids far both in school and beyond. They can help students figure out questions on the state tests that they didn’t quite cover in class or win them a prize at the school science fair. Problem-solving is also at the root of modern entrepreneurship and many tech companies that seek to streamline everyday tasks or solve emerging issues.


Five kids working on a project around a tableEffective communicators simplify big ideas into chunks that are easy to understand. Sure, there are rules of grammar and spelling—but ease of understanding is equally important. Good communication may also include persuasion, emotion, and building trust, especially in leadership roles. Because STEAM learning is often project-based, students often work in groups. This requires division of tasks and integration of many different ideas. Kids learn how to negotiate for the roles that they want, resolve conflicts, and present results to the class. Communication is a powerful exercise in collaboration with extraordinary results. Good communication skills look very similar across all stages of life and across all industries. Whether writing a college admissions essay, pitching a sale to a potential client, or delivering a keynote speech at a conference, effective communication is a vital step to achieving meaningful goals. Even parenting requires a daily communication workout!

Technological Literacy

Boy typing on a laptop computer Personal computers, the internet, smartphones, QR codes—these are technological marvels that are now integrated into the average person’s daily life. Whether you and your child are early-adopters or technophobes, it’s clear that a certain level of skill with technology is essential to modern living. And depending on your occupation, you may deal with even more complicated technology on a daily basis! STEAM cultivates the adaptive skills required to learn new technology. While your child learns how to use GPS and humidity sensors during science fieldwork, they’re building the neural pathways that will help them quickly learn Photoshop or GarageBand. They’ll process data in Google Sheets and design posters to present their results in Canva. Each new technological skill prepares students for life outside of school. While your child may complain, “But when will I actually use geometry in real life?” you know that they will definitely use high-tech tools or computer software every day in their adult life.

How to Add STEAM to Your Child’s Education

If your child needs more of the benefits of STEAM in their current education, you can add it by enrolling them in an after-school program like those offered by IDEA Lab Kids. Subjects range from robotics to culinary arts, so there’s a program for your child no matter their interest! You can explore some of our programs in the IDEA Lab Kids Handbook or learn more on our ILK Facebook page. Find your nearest IDEA Lab Kids location and let’s get started!

How to Have the Best Summer Camp Experience in 2021

As the days start to get warmer and longer, one thing is on every parent’s mind: summer camp.

Summer camp is a brain puzzle just about every year.

Which camps fit around our family vacation? Can we drop the kids off early before work? Is swimming, space camp, and archery way too much?

But the continuing effects of COVID-19 make things even more complicated for 2021.

To help you prepare, we’re answering all your big questions so that you can plan the best summer camp experience for your child this year.

Is summer camp even a “thing” this year?

Yes! Although things will still be a bit different from a “normal” year, many day camps will be up and running.

And while some classes and camps may still be conducted virtually, plenty of in-person camps are taking action to make sure that your child’s summer camp experience is as safe as possible.

Many camps qualify as childcare services, so they’ll remain open as essential businesses. Depending on your location, you may have access to in-person summer camps even if your child’s school was conducting either virtual or hybrid learning

How will the vaccine impact this summer compared to last summer?

Because broad medical studies are more difficult to perform with children than adults, the FDA hasn’t yet approved any of the current vaccines for children.

Studies are underway and could get the vaccine approved for kids in time for the 2021-2022 school year, but kids won’t be able to get vaccinated before summer camp.

This doesn’t necessarily put them at higher risk. Most summer camps will still be maintaining small class sizes and other safety measures.

But the increased availability of the vaccine for adults means that more parents will be returning to work and in need of childcare—probably more than last summer. Summer camps may be in higher demand and fill up faster, so you’ll need to enroll early before they fill up.

Finally, vaccinated adult populations will also help keep kids safer. When adult family members and caregivers get vaccinated, kids’ overall risk of contact with the COVID-19 virus is lower.

What safety precautions should I expect from summer camps?

In addition to recommendations for regular businesses, the CDC has published a set of health and safety guidelines specifically for summer camps.

Camp-specific recommendations include mask-wearing, handwashing, and physical barriers for distancing. The CDC also recommends frequent sanitization, visitor limitations, and posters to remind children of safety practices.

These safety practices are meant to be used with local regulations. If your region has stricter (safer) policies, summer camps will abide by the safest guidelines.

Although each ILK location is franchisee-owned, all of our facilities have been instructed to follow CDC and local guidance to maximize your child’s safety.

What kinds of summer camp opportunities will my child have?

Many summer camps will be offering full-day and half-day camps with a variety of class experiences. Most sleepaway camps will likely be cancelled, either by state and local regulation or by self-regulation.

This summer, ILK will be offering 76 different programs in science, technology, engineering, the arts, math, and more. From astronomy to theatre, and robotics to cooking, there’s something fun for every kid all summer long.

Parents and kids should expect some procedural changes this year. These will help maximize health and safety without compromising fun or learning at camp! Check-in and check-out procedures will be more distanced, classes will be smaller, and handwashing and mask-wearing will be enforced. 

But even with these adjustments, camps across the country will still offer great classes for a fun, active, and enriching summer camp experience.

What else can I do to keep my child safe?

The best way to make sure that your child observes safe and healthy practices at camp is to model them at home. Teach and practice handwashing, mask-wearing in public, sanitization, and physical distancing. Your child is likely to mirror whatever you do.

Other than summer camps, other activities can also keep your family active and engaged. Enjoy distanced outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and sports/games that can be played at a distance. It’s generally safer to avoid contact sports like basketball and football, even if everyone is outside and masked.

And finally, check out our online programs to keep rocking your gray matter from home! Our STEAM @ Home newsletter brings a curated selection of activities straight to your email inbox.

Education is the Key to Success

Everybody knows the benefits of good education. It helps people findsuitable employment opportunities, secure a higher income, and develop life-long skills. Overall, educated people not only create opportunities for themselves but also make a significant impact on society.

It’s essential to start education at an early age. Children are better at learning than adults — their brains are at a stage when it is growing in size and inventive, helping them absorb information at a faster rate. Early childhood education is highly encouraged since it helps kids improve their social skills and attention span.

Do you want to help foster young minds and build a better future for society? Then owning your own kids education franchise might be the answer.

What are some benefits of owning akids education franchise?

  1. STEM education is an excellent investment.

Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics have always been in demand. The US Department of Commerce stated that the jobs in these fields have grown three times faster than others. People who work in STEM are more likely to receive higher wages and grow their careers much quicker.

  1. Education for kids ensures a better future for everyone.

A career in STEM not only benefits the individual but also creates amazing opportunities for the rest of society. For example, modern technology has brought the world some of the most-appreciated and outstanding inventions such as Wi-Fi, smartphones, and computers.Meanwhile, experts in Science have dedicated their lives to life-altering research. Discoveries such as the flu vaccine and cancer treatment would never have been possible without STEM education.

  1. A kids education franchise allows you to become your own boss.

Many people dream of running a business, especially when you get to call the shots. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to control your goals and finances. On top of that, you help create jobs for teachers, administrative staff, and more!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Robotics Classes for Kids

When people hear the term robotics, they may think of difficult concepts, such as programming and engineering. Of course, this isn’t wrong, but there’s more to robotics than that meets the eye. The subject isn’t as complicated as it seems. In fact, there are robotics classes designed especially for the kids!


Here are five interesting things to know about robotics for kids classes:


  1. Robotics for kids classes help them discover new skills. They get to explore subjects such as math and science but through a different lens.


For example, kids are given a chance to learn graphical and visual coding, which, in turn, develops their cognitive and problem-solving skills. Creativity is also highly encouraged since they get to design and program their own robots.


  1. Robotics classes help kids’ foster new connections. These programs allow children to collaborate on activities and projects, working together to accomplish a common goal.


On top of that, their future is secured through the real-world connections offered by leading educational providers. Your child can explore a successful career in robotics, engineering, and other STEM-related disciplines.


  1. Robotics for kids classes focus on project-based learning. Through this method, the child gets to experience hands-on activities using Raspberry Pi, Legos, and even MICROBIT. They are given ample space for creativity, allowing them to develop engineering skills they can use in the real world.


  1. The best robotics classes make learning more engaging. Top educational providers let their students work to earn digital badges, giving them a sense of accomplishment at the end of a task.


There are endless digital badges to earn, each one focusing on a specific skill set. For instance, there are rewards for being a great builder, designer, developer, and programmer. Kids are encouraged to collect every badge to maximize their classes!


  1. Robotics for kids classes are great for life-long learning. Logic, creativity, and communication aren’t the only essential skills in life. A well-rounded individual should also have patience, persistence, and self-discipline.


Fortunately, robotics teaches all of these skills. Coding is a great way to improve one’s patience, while programming can help build up a child’s persistence. There’s no limit to the number of benefits kids receive from the best robotics classes available.

How Keeping Your Kids Busy Over the Holidays Can Foster Their Minds

This year’s holiday season doesn’t quite feel the same due to the onset of COVID-19. Families are stuck at home, and kids are left to spend their days bored in their rooms. There are studies which show that the situation may hamper the development of some children in terms of critical thinking and creative skills.


Is there a way to keep your children busy over the holidays? Fortunately, the answer is yes—there are great after school programs for kids that can help with their growth. STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math activities are a great way to stimulate their young minds even outside of school.


What are some benefits of signing up for STEAM-focused after school programs for kids?


  1. Improving their academic performance

It’s never a bad idea to ask for help when it comes to improving your children’s performance in school. STEAM activities increase their chances of getting better grades, higher test scores, and completing their homework on time.


The best after school programs for kids make sure that each child is given time to delve into various STEAM activities, encouraging them to explore different ideas and find answers in the most creative ways.


  1. Fostering their emotional and social skills

Humans are social beings, and that rings true even for the younger generations. Kids need time to form bonds and play to improve their social skills. Certainly, this is impossible when children are stuck at home.


An after-school program is an excellent outlet for them to find new friends and interact with different people. The kids are exposed to a diverse community, allowing them to collaborate with teachers and fellow children in various STEAM activities.


  1. Building their confidence

All of the benefits mentioned above lead to one thing: adding up confidence. As your children start to do better in school and make new friends, they are more likely to feel happy about themselves.


What’s great is that leading providers of STEAM after school programs consistently offer guidance and support to their students. They help kids develop a passion for learning, and once the holidays are over, your children will surely find school more enjoyable!


About IDEA Lab Kids

IDEA Lab Kids uses the inquiry-based STEAM approach where the principles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are combined with arts. Therefore, it introduces creativity to encourage and build critical thinking skills through hands-on and fun birthday experiences, workshops, preschool enrichment, after-school classes, and much more. We’re inviting you to join our growing family of franchisees. An education background is not required! In fact, many of our franchisees are small business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Why All Kids Should Learn Code

You’ve probably already heard it—your kids should learn code! But why? What’s the big hype around coding? Does my child really need to learn code if they’re not going to be a software engineer?

Code offers two huge benefits to your child. First, code is inherently useful to students throughout their education (and their career). Second, code teaches kids skills and thinking patterns that serve them in other disciplines and activities.

Below, we’ve broken these two benefits down into some of their most important parts. Here are the seven reasons that IDEA Lab Kids teaches our students to code:

1. Coding is useful in every field, from science to art. Whether your child wants to study medicine or animate movies, they will probably rely on code to get their work done. Code isn’t just about computing and calculating. It’s how you tell a digital tool what you want to do! Code tells computers how to recognize weather patterns based on images, or how to stop a video game character when they run into a wall.

2. Code is a global language. Some of us see the word “code” and start thinking of complicated symbols and numbers. But really, code is just a language spoken by computers—and by the people who use them. Like any language, it has vocabulary, syntax, and semantics. Coding helps kids not only communicate in a computer language, but also helps them learn and understand other new languages. 

3. Coding applies mathematical skills in a “real world” context. Has your child ever complained about trigonometry like this? “But I’ll never even use this in the real world!” Well, here is where your child will use “real world” math. Coding teaches students how to apply math conceptually to achieve goals instead of just crunching numbers like a calculator. This can bring even the most reluctant math students to truly enjoy math, once they understand its utility.

4. Coding teaches creative problem-solving. An empty script field is a blank canvas. Kids use code to solve open-ended problems without prescribed solutions. When coding, students carefully consider the necessary steps and potential pitfalls to solve a problem. Unlike solving an algebraic function or analyzing a poem, there are no rules to follow when devising a solution with code. This mimics real world problem-solving and encourages kids to try new things. Which leads us to our next point…

5. Coding encourages students to experiment and take risks based on logic. Coding requires an “if-then” approach and algorithmic thinking. The coder has to account for a variety of possible inputs, then generate outputs based on those inputs. Sometimes unpredictable scenarios will arise and things won’t work. But by experimenting and discovering new outcomes, your child can become a proficient programmer.

6. Coding builds perseverance, resilience, and patience in the debugging process. In those instances where the code doesn’t work… try, try again! Coding requires “debugging” whether you’re a beginner or a professional. This means that sometimes things don’t work as expected, and you have to make small edits repeatedly until things work the way you want them to. This process can be frustrating, but it fosters patience and resilience for your child. And when the code finally works, the product is all the more rewarding!

7. Coding produces fun, meaningful results that build confidence. With options more limited this year than ever, coding offers a creative outlet that can be accomplished entirely on your child’s computer. A short game or program can be designed, built, and shared with friends all online. Your child’s agency and power are uninhibited by coding, and they will be proud to show off the results of their hard work.

Coding is an empowering skill, and it will open up new opportunities for your child both academically and professionally. If nothing else, coding can be a fun hobby that builds vital life skills! If your child is ready to take the next step in their coding journey, check out our coding programs at your nearest IDEA Lab Kids location

Why Coding and Programming are Essential Skills

Are you looking for an extra-curricular activity for your kids? Consider coding or programming classes. It may sound odd to encourage children to take highly technical courses and not arts, swimming, basketball, and other conventional after-school programs. But it could be among the best decisions you can make for your kids. Why? Because coding and programming are now considered “basic” life skills.


Even if your children don’t pursue an IT profession in the future, coding and programming classes will come in handy everywhere. The following points best explain why children should learn coding and programming at an early age.


Coding is the new literacy 

As experts say, coding has become the new literacy. It is a fundamental knowledge building block, and everyone should develop it. It has become as important as reading and writing. The only difference is that instead of allowing you to communicate with others, you can communicate with computers.


Develop other essential skills 

Learning how to code at a young age will not only set your kids off to potentially lucrative careers in the future—it can also enhance essential skills that your kids need today. Through coding, your kids will become smarter, think critically and logically, solve problems, build things, become more creative, etc. When your kids learn to program early in life, they will gain a deeper and more complete understanding of coding and programming principles. This will give them a competitive edge over others.


Coding and programming have now become the new interactive playground for children. Many schools and academic institutions offer such classes to hone young minds and set them up for the future. Their classes are age-specific, fun, and engaging. Activities range from developing applications, designing websites, crafting video games to creating 3D animated objects. Kids look like they are just playing when, in fact, they are developing several future-ready skills.

Is Online Tutoring the Future of Personalized Learning?

The educational sector is among the industries that have been greatly hit by the pandemic. Schools and academic institutions had to adjust to the new normal, taking health and safety protocols more seriously than ever before. While parents may send their kids to schools that have already opened, many still choose to have their children stay in the safety of their homes, taking advantage of online schooling.


Online schools have certainly evolved to become much better these days. Still, they are not perfect. Teachers still find it more challenging to facilitate discussions, activities, or even keep their students’ attention online. In the same way, students are less engaged in the lessons and more distracted. So how can you ensure that your kids get the most from their online classes? This is where online tutoring comes in.


Online tutoring can supplement online classes. It is a one-on-one assistance program that can help students understand their lessons, specifically the areas and topics they find difficult. They can help with homework too. Online tutoring offers a variety of benefits, aside from accessibility, safety, and convenience. Here are some of them.


Designed to fit every child’s needs 

Online tutoring is a face-to-face program. Tutors can tailor fit their teaching style and approaches according to the child’s learning preferences and needs. They can customize activities and lessons and overcome specific learning obstacles, too. This way, kids will be able to comprehend their lessons and be more motivated to study. Also, learners get to move through the lesson at their speed.


Connect using any device 

The online tutoring programs are powered tech platforms used for personal learning needs. Students can study and connect easily using any device (laptop, tablet, or smartphone) through it. Great learning experience inside the digital classroom is also guaranteed as they can talk, chat, write, draw, send files, and even re-watch tutoring sessions at any time.

What Membership Would Be the Best Fit for Your Child?

Educational membership programs and after-school activities offer long-lasting benefits for kids, keeping them productive, active, entertained, and engaged in a safe environment. It lets children discover interests, learn essential life skills, and form new friendships outside school, which is ultimately helpful in their overall development.


Finding an after-school activity for your children isn’t as easy as it sounds, though. You want to make sure that it will be interesting and fun—something that your kids will feel excited about. Otherwise, it may seem like you’re just given them extra tasks that may make them feel overwhelmed.


One way to choose the right membership programs fitting for your children is to consider their learning style. You must understand that each child has different learning preferences. Some kids follow instructions by simply listening, while others will need visual aids to comprehend the lessons. Others learn best by moving or doing. Find out your children’s learning preferences so you can select the right membership program for them. In case you need help, here are some recommendations for you:


The solitary learner

These types of learners prefer to do things on their own. They are independent and self-aware, able to do self-study without a problem. They often prefer being away from the crowd. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that they won’t need membership programs. It’s a good thing to enroll them in the basic membership, which offers one pre-scheduled class every week. This way, solitary learners can still interact with other kids and learn essential social skills.


The social, interpersonal learner 

These kids thrive in group activities. They love working and collaborating with other people. As social, interpersonal learners can adapt easily to any environment, they do well in the intermediate or unlimited membership program. Having two or more after-school classes where they try various things and meet different people will keep them productive and further their strengths in communication, collaboration, and creativity.


The kinesthetic learner 

One of the kinesthetic learners’ best characteristics is that they never get bored of learning, especially when it involves activities. Unlimited membership programs that offer up to five pre-scheduled STEAM education classes will be great for them because they will stimulate their brain through a fun game or hands-on experience. They will enjoy experimenting, applying what they have learned, innovating, and developing new ideas.


About IDEA Lab Kids

IDEA Lab Kids uses the inquiry-based STEAM approach where the principles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are combined with arts. Therefore, it introduces creativity to encourage and build critical thinking skills through hands-on and fun birthday experiences, workshops, preschool enrichment, after-school classes, and much more. We’re inviting you to join our growing family of franchisees. An education background is not required! In fact, many of our franchisees are small business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Virtual vs. Classroom Learning: Choosing for Your Child

Schools across the country are handling COVID-19 differently. Some have resumed in-person teaching with protective measures. Some are entirely online, and still others have adopted a blended approach. A few, like many schools in New York City, are giving the choice to families. At these schools, each household makes their own decisions about sending their children back to the classroom or learning from home.


However, not all families have stuck with their initial choice. Last week, the NYC Department of Education announced that the majority of students were opting for virtual-only learning. This is the first time that virtual students have outnumbered students in blended or in-person classes.


Why are some families and students changing their minds about virtual vs. classroom learning? There are a few big reasons.


  • Safety. The pandemic situation seems to shift every week. While some regions seem barely affected by the COVID-19 virus, other communities have seen a resurgence of infections. What felt secure to some families a month ago now seems unnecessarily risky. Keeping kids at home limits the whole household’s potential exposure to the virus. For some families, this benefit alone is enough to opt for remote learning.


  • Flexibility. Thanks to the pandemic, many families have had changes in work schedules and childcare options. In some cases, families need more hands on-deck at home. Kids who need to watch younger siblings or prepare dinner for the family can still tune into lectures while helping out. Pre-recorded materials provide even more flexibility. Students can also save valuable time by dropping their commute in favor of a quick login.

  • Learning resources. Some students have benefited immensely from the learning resources available to them in a virtual learning environment. Recorded lectures can be paused, rewound, and replayed while students copy notes or review for a test. They also may be more likely to seek out additional tutorials on the internet during asynchronous class periods if they are struggling with a particular topic.


On the other hand, plenty of families are electing to keep their kids in the classroom, either full- or part-time. For these families, the benefits of virtual learning are outweighed by other boons.


  • Face-to-face interaction. Classroom learning can make communication between student and teacher much more efficient, and students may focus better in a classroom environment. Face-to-face interaction also provides better socialization than a virtual environment. Even micro-interactions like eye contact, passing around materials, and chatting during breaks can have huge benefits for social development and mental health.

  • Routine. While you can create a routine at home with a virtual learning schedule, it may be harder to maintain than a routine based on going to campus. Having separate spaces for work and leisure helps generate structure. This can help make work more productive and leisure more restful when incorporated into a routine. Routines also help with mental health by creating a sense of normalcy and predictability.

  • Childcare options. If all the adults in the family are working outside the home, then school may be the best childcare option. Young children who can’t be left alone at home benefit greatly from the structure, stimulation, and supervision of a school environment. Even for older students, classroom learning can be great just for keeping them on-task if they are prone to distractions when unsupervised.


Ultimately, only you can choose the best option for your own family. Depending on your situation, the decision between virtual vs. classroom learning may be an easy one. If you’re struggling to decide, you can carefully consider the listed benefits and discuss them with your family.


Finally, if you’re looking for a solution that combines all of the benefits listed here, check out our IDEA Lab Plus program! In socially-distanced learning pods, your child will have the support of an in-person teacher while participating in their school’s virtual learning program. Get the best of both worlds by finding your nearest IDEA Lab Kids location.