There is no shortage of studies on the value and effect that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) educational programs have on children. The truth is that the earlier you expose children to it, the more engaged they will be in the subjects that can lead them into successful careers and lives.

But to do that, it has to be fun, and, fun is first and foremost with the FIRST LEGO League, an EmBe associated program! There are several divisions, Discover, Explore, and Challenge, with several sub-divisions according to age.

This year they're adding the PLAYMAKERS Challenge for kids ages 4 to 6 and 6 to 10 years. They'll be exploring the transformation and activities of play spaces through sports, fitness, and play, while moving, collaborating, competing, and celebrating.

The Replay Challenge is for ages 9 to 16. They'll use their ingenuity and imaginations to turn various locations into play spaces and they will also build a LEGO robot and compete in a fun game.

Next is the Ultimate Goal Challenge for 12 to 18-year-olds. Again, through a collaborative effort building LEGO robots, teens learn to work together, to come back from failure, and build confidence by exceeding their own and their team's potential.

Finally, the Infinite Recharge Challenge targeted at 14 to 18-year-olds, combine sports and STEM components with the goal of building an industrial-size robot for competition. An added bonus is the opportunity for high school students to gain access to multiple, exclusive, higher education scholarships.

I guess the overall message is STEM is not only a bridge to future success, but also to friends, teamwork, competition, and most of all- - fun!

There are two information session dates coming up, Monday, August 31, and Monday, September 14, both at 6:30 PM. Pre-registration is required.

For more information see FIRST LEGO League at EmBe or call 605-336-3660.

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