Out-of-school Time Families Grow Together at STEAM Family Night

Out-of-school Time Families Grow Together at STEAM Family Night

This virtual STEAM family night brought the joy of quality afterschool programming to the home. Before the 21 families – 40 adults and 32 youth - gathered online, they received a bag containing all the ingredients and supplies needed for the night's activities. 

FLIPANY, a Prime Time partner, began the evening with MyPlate- compliant Pizza Quesadillas. MyPlate is designed by the USDA to educate and ensure food being eaten includes the five food groups in healthy amounts, so the body receives proper nutrition. This pizza quesadilla recipe included whole grains through the whole wheat tortilla, low fat cheese for dairy, optional proteins or either pepperoni or beans, spinach as the vegetable and bell peppers as the fruit. The addition of bell peppers prompted a lot of questions from the participants on what makes a bell pepper a fruit and what other foods are, surprisingly, also fruit. Bell peppers, pickles and olives, if you were wondering.  

Charli Baden, from FLIPANY, demonstrated safe cutting techniques and different styles of slicing ingredients. Baden also offered alternative instructions that utilized a microwave if a stove and skillet weren’t available, making the recipe accessible to all. Families proudly showed off their culinary creations and began to enjoy their snack as the next activity began.  

The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County’s activity included some creative recycling. The bell pepper seeds that were removed earlier were now going to be brought to life during their germination experiment. The virtual STEAM night bags also included a book, depending on the youth’s reading level. These included Curious George Plants a Seed by Erica Zappy, Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm and Salsa Stories by LuLu Delacre; all three books focused on the topic of segment, germination and family.  

Calli Sharkey (pictured above), director of the Literacy Coalition’s Stories and STEM program, read  Curious George Plants a Seed, available in both Spanish and English, to explain the process of germination, how a plant goes from a dormant seed to a growing seedling. The experiment began by creating an enclosed warm and moist environment in which to place the seed. Youth took their small plastic bags and added cotton balls to them. Then following Sharkey’s  guidance, they used their pipettes to add drops of water to the cotton balls before gently cocooning their seeds inside the bag and sealing it closed. The last step was turning these pieces into necklaces so that your own body heat would be used to help the plants germinate. Youth participants had many questions about how they can best help their seeds grow and what they can help germinate next.  

In total, 73 attendees learned some new healthy and delicious recipes, received free books to read together at home, started their germination journey and will also receive an additional family STEAM activity kit for attending the event thanks to the generous funding by the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. More great STEAM activities are available to you and your afterschool program including the Meet a Scientist Series. To learn more about STEAM offerings click here