Take STEAM outdoors while summer is still here

IMG_0510If you’re like a lot of parents I know, your children (and maybe you) have spent a lot of time hunting down Pokémon in all sorts of places thanks to the new(-ish) Pokémon Go game. Though it’s only been out a couple of months, the game has already proven to be a sneaky way to get kids active and outdoors – and also a great way to find history hidden right under our noses.

If you’re looking for more ideas to marry the digital and tree-lined world, an article by the good folks at Mind/Shift gives four great recommendations for STEM tools that will get kids outdoors and exploring. (I can especially vouch for the Playground Physics app published by the New York Hall of Science, as well as the other apps that are a part of their Noticing Tools collection.)

Even a “simpler” app such as Leafsnap, which uses image recognition technology to identify what tree a leaf you photographed came from, is a great way to explore the outdoors before the school year starts.

What other apps and tools have you been using to blend the digital and real worlds this summer?

Girls and coding

A couple years ago, I walked into a big toy store and was struck by how gender-specific the marketing of specific toys was, even as their basic characteristics were pretty similar.


It turns out that this same gender-specific marketing might be to blame for the lack of women in coding-related professions, a field that was originally dominated by women. A great Planet Money episode called “When Women Stopped Coding” is a good look at when and why the tide turned.