Corridor community makes STEAM subjects hands-on for kids

Kids learned the effects of texting and driving through a simulator brought by the National Advanced Driving Simulator team at STEAM Fest.

Members of a corridor community are working together to provide children with future career ideas when they grow up.

It’s called STEAM Fest and it’s an event put on by Iowa City Parks and Recreation. The team’s goal is to keep families engaged in the community and leave an educational, but fun impression on kids. For some parents, it has the children thinking about their future.

“He’s already talking about building the tallest hotel in the world,” said Yolanda Villalvazo, who attended Sunday’s event with her family.

Villalvazo is talking about her 9-year-old son who dreams of working in the construction business.

“He's very interested in construction--building things. He has a lot of questions as to why,” said Villalvazo.

For the Villalvazo family, the Iowa City Parks and Recreation’s STEAM Fest held those answers to her young son’s questions.

"We have a lot of community organizations who have come together to offer free, hands-on educational activities on STEAM topics,” said Nancey Pope, the Nature and Science Coordinator with Iowa City Parks and Recreation.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. On Sunday, more than 60 kids came out to explore these subjects and what they have to offer in a hands-on way.

At least 30 local organizations brought interactive activities for the kids to participate in. From trying their hands at being a surgeon to learning about the effects of texting and driving, these children walked away with lessons learned and a lot to consider.

"[For kids] to start thinking about careers in science and possible areas that they can explore as they grow into adults,” explained Pope.

STEAM Fest was first held last year. Pope says one of the event’s primary goals is to make STEAM subjects more accessible to kids at a younger age and open their minds to what options they have in the future.

"For us, it's a wonderful opportunity to open a 9-year-old's mind to the possibilities,” said Villalvazo.

STEAM Fest is not an annual event yet, but it is one of their many events that Pope says the Iowa Parks and Recreation team is working toward making annual to help children create the careers of tomorrow.

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