As a parent, you want to make sure your child’s passion for learning continues long after the school year is over. STEM activities for kids can help to keep their curious minds engaged while they have fun with important academic concepts. Choosing the best STEM activities for your child is easy. Simply choose activities that align with their interests and their learning style. The great thing about STEM activities for kids is that there is an abundance of resources available online, and most of them are inexpensive.
What Is a STEM Activity?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. We want our children to be comfortable enough with these key concepts at an early age so that they can easily grow into the innovators, problem solvers, creators, thinkers, and doers of the future. STEM activities provide hands-on learning that will keep your children passionate about exploring the world around them.
Science-based STEM activities for kids focus on earth science, physics, and chemistry. Technology-centered activities include work with computers, tablets, and smartphones. For children interested in engineering, focus on activities that involve designing and building robots, bridges, or simple machines. Mathematics plays a key role in all STEM activities, from simple pattern identification to calculus.
The Best STEM Activities for Kids
The best STEM activities for kids are ones that excite your child, are easy to execute, and use items that you have around the house, or can purchase inexpensively. The internet is a great resource for finding fun activities you can do with your children. The following are a few STEM activities to get you started.
Create a Family Discovery Jar
Spend some time with your kids brainstorming ideas and questions that spark their curiosity. Some questions to consider include: How did Perseverance get to Mars?, What makes grass green?, or How do clouds make rain? Write the questions down on separate pieces of paper and put them in a special container. Each day, pull out a topic to explore. Add new questions and ideas to the jar as they come up.
Pool Noodle Marble Run
This is an easy summer activity for children of all ages. You can add more ramps of varying sizes for older children. Discuss concepts such as slope, gravity, and noodle size. If the ramps don’t work out the first time it is a great chance to work on problem-solving skills.
You will need:
- Pool Noodles
- Painter’s tape
- A serrated knife, scissors
- Bucket to catch the marbles
Have an adult safely cut the pool noodles into different lengths. Cut the pieces down the center to create your half ramps. Attach the painter’s tape to the underside of each noodle to allow it to easily attach to a wall or outdoor fence. Create a system of ramps that will allow the marbles to travel from the top to a bucket at the end. Test run the marbles. What worked? What didn’t? Why? Use your engineering skills to determine what changes need to be made and try again.
Make a Rain Cloud
Explore the water cycle by creating a rain cloud in a jar. Remember to create a hypothesis prior to starting the activity.
Items you will need:
- Clear jar
- Shaving cream
- Separate container of water that is dyed blue to make it visible as it rains out of your cloud
- Pipette or liquid dropper
Fill your jar with plain water, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top to add the shaving cream. Add the shaving cream to the top of the water to create a big fluffy cloud. Start adding the blue-colored water to the cloud using the pipettes. Keep adding blue water until the rain begins to fall from the cloud and rain into the clear water below.
These are just a couple of fun activities to get you started. Remember the best STEM activities for kids are the ones that they find interesting and will keep them excited about the learning process. Stay Curious!