Sometimes the most enriching experiences are simply ones families do together.

As conscientious parents, we spend a lot of time and energy finding the best activities for our kids. Sometimes it is more effective to find a “good” activity and take the time to do it together. Rather than sign our kids up for classes and workshops, let’s make the time to get involved, dig in, and do things with our kids.

It is often said that kids will do what we do, not what we say. Hence, the best way to get our kids excited about STEM is to show them our own fascination and excitement. An extra benefit is that we get to have fun along the way!

One of our favorite family activities is to hunt for fossilized shark teeth. This is much easier than it sounds – a short drive to the middle of New Jersey and a sieve to sift through rocks in a stream bed in search of fossils. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon together – learning and working as a team.

The girls enjoy it so much that they declared it an annual family tradition. Do they enjoy searching for fossils because it’s fun and exciting or because it’s something we do together as a family? I don’t know, but it is definitely an enriching experience for our entire family on many different levels.

Family activities can be even simpler. Recently, we were fascinated by a spider outside our house that repeatedly built and rebuilt its funnel-shaped web. We were so curious that we contacted a local entomologist (Lou Sorkin whom you can meet at this Sunday’s (10/25) STEAM Fair) and did some research to figure out it was an Agelenopsis.

Go ahead and get out there with your kids. Play some math games. Build a Lego kit together. Explore a museum. Come to our STEAM Fair at the Port Washington Public Library this weekend. Search for fossils. Brainstorm ideas together as a family. There are limitless possibilities. Grown ups need enrichment too!