Almost every guy appreciates that it is very important for fathers to spend quality time with their daughters. There are so many experiences that can constitute this quality time, but I firmly believe that it is imperative that some of this shared time be finding ways to get our daughters more interested in math and science. Why? Because girls are interested in more than just dolls, pink toys and fairy tales.....and they are surrounded by too many influences that associate math and science with males. Don't believe me? Look at your daughter's books, movies and toys and the manufacturer's marketing towards girls. There may be some exceptions, but the majority of the products perpetuate the stereotypical gender roles.
There is no one better to influence our daughters about the wonder and applications of math and science than us dads. If math and science is not of interest to you, don't fret. You can still make sure your daughter is not deprived from learning more about these topics. Even if you are bored or don't understand math and science, than at least make an effort to find shows, books and role models for your daughters that showcase women working directly with math, technology and science.
Want to build your daughter's confidence? Want to really connect or reconnect with your daughter?
You can involve your daughter with hands on projects, household fix-it projects, yard projects or even just getting out the tape measure to measure things......you can measure anything as long as it does not involve cooking or baking for this activity.
You can spend time playing games with your daughter, but use toys that are typically marketed towards boys.
Teach your daughters to give directions using North, South, East and West instead of just right or left.
Have her calculate things for you.
Take her to a hardware store and show her all the tools and materials that can be used to create things.
Have her help you work on the mower, car or bicycle.
Have her help you change a car tire, the wire line in a weed wacker or put together a model car/ship/train.
Have her measure this....and that...using and verbalizing 4ths, 8ths and 16ths.
Get out your socket sets/saw/hammer and teach her how to use it.
Buy her safety goggles, work boots and work gloves. Make sure they are not pink or purple.
Have her help you replace a faucet, fix a toilet or unclog a drain.
Have her help you wire a speaker or fix a table.
Have her design and build things. Give her tools and materials to work with. Watch with wonder what she creates.
All you have to do is involve her with these hands on projects and the activity will be a learning one for her.
Talk to your daughters about what doctors, engineers and scientists do and make sure she knows that these occupations are not just for us guys.
Find out what technologies she is interested in and explore all the activities that can be completed by the two of you using that technology.
Ask yourself if you know of any women you know that currently are in one of these type of occupations that are typically male dominated and ask her what ideas she has for getting a child interested more in math and science. Possibly ask if she would be interested in talking with your daughter about this.
YOU CAN make a difference in your daughter's dreams and future by supporting her and seeking out
activities that engage here in technology, engineering and science fun. YOU, yes YOU.
Don't put all the responsibility on the school system or media to teach your daughter about this.
In most cases, you will find that you cannot come up with enough activities to quench her brain's thirst for information and involvement. And guess what, you BOTH are going to have a great time.
Even if she doesn't pursue a career in these fields, she will forever appreciate all the abilities you taught her that she will apply towards so many things for the rest of her life.
Her future self will thank you for every moment you spend doing these things with her.
Pictured below is my daughter assisting me with measuring, marking, cutting and installing insulation in our house. Does she look bored to you?
Thank you to D.O. for being an inspiration for this post.