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Exploring the World of Science: Building Literacy and Creativity in Children Through STEM Approach and Interactive Activities

Building scientific literacy in children has significant positive implications, especially in the context of developing critical skills. For instance, a study in Indonesia involving 120 elementary school students indicated that education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) can substantially contribute to the development of critical thinking skills in these children.

This research involved observing the cognitive skills of students and emphasized that STEM learning is not just about introducing academic concepts but also stimulating the development of their analytical and creative thinking abilities. Furthermore, a content analysis published in 2020 concluded that STEM education not only enriches knowledge but also provides skills relevant to addressing challenges in the era of Industry 4.0 marked by waves of technological innovation.

In line with these findings, the global 3M survey in 2021, involving the 3M State of Science Index, revealed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, STEM has become a major focal point. As many as 91 percent of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region agreed that the world needs more individuals pursuing careers in STEM. Encouragingly, 73 percent of respondents also agreed that the younger generation is now more engaged in science and related issues compared to before.

To facilitate enjoyable science learning for children, there are five practical ways that can be implemented. These methods, deemed easy because science is inherently all around us, include simple experiments, nature observation, visits to science-related places, reading

scientific books, and engaging in practical activities such as planting or designing experiments. Involving children in such activities not only stimulates their intellectual growth but also helps nurture interest and appreciation for the world of science.

Exploring children's questions and finding answers together is a fundamental step in supporting effective learning. When children ask questions, parents can patiently engage in explaining concepts or even conduct joint information searches through visits to the library or by reading online articles. In this age of freely available information, it is important to teach children skills in filtering information, ensuring they refer to reliable sources, and using online fact-checking tools like Google's Fact Check Tools and to verify the authenticity of the information they find.

Playing science games, both physical and online, not only provides a fun experience but also supports the development of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in children. For example, a tug-of-war game can introduce the concept of friction in an enjoyable way, while creating their own board game can be a creative activity teaching children about design and mechanical concepts.

Encouraging creativity by making their own toys using available materials is an effective step in stimulating children's imagination. Gallup indicates that this approach not only allows students to absorb more content but also enhances their understanding of various subjects and improves problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Furthermore, visiting science museums and exhibitions can provide a profound and captivating learning experience for children. Finally, direct engagement in activities, such as experiments or scientific projects, harnesses children's curiosity, providing them with opportunities to experience scientific concepts firsthand. All these steps not only create a platform for active and in-depth learning but also build a strong connection between parents and children while fostering a sustained interest and appreciation for science.

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