By: Courtney Byrne
Schools out for the summer (or almost out in our case!). Summer is a time to relax, enjoy the pool and playing outdoors. We always try and read a lot in the summer to keep in the learning groove. We participate in our town’s library summer reading program which has a fun carnival to participate in if you complete reading hours. But what about STEM? For many kids, these are their favorite school subjects and it can be tricky to figure out ways to incorporate STEM activities when they’re away from school for a few months. But fear not! Today we’re sharing easy summer STEM activities for kids.
10 Easy Ways to Incorporate STEM this Summer
1. Jelly Bean or Marshmallow Toothpick Building
This is an easy one: grab a pile of toothpicks and a bowl or jelly beans or marshmallow and get to work. We like to try and see how we can make a structure sturdy enough to build higher, try new shapes (pyramid, cube, etc). We have also made constellations – grab a book at the library about constellations and see how many you can create using toothpicks and marshmallows. Make sure to do this one in a cool place in the summer – so the marshmallows don’t get sticky!
This is a great activity for inside or outdoors and one of the most simple science projects I can think of. It’s great for all ages because little ones will get a kick out of items floating or sinking to the bottom and for older kids, you can explain a little more about why thinks sink vs float and have them try out some harder to guess items. It’s also a great introduction to “making predictions” in science. We have a free printable “sink or float” sheet. Click here to visit the post with 2 great versions of this printable.
These are really fun! It’s also a fun little project to bring on a trip because you can easily put the supplies in a ziplock and bring along. I first heard of this idea from Science Seeds when they were at my daughter’s school teacher the kids a much bigger, super awesome rocket building project. They showed me briefly how to make a simple straw rocket at home and we tried it out. Click here for directions. It’s an easy one!
Cooking is an easy way for kids to practice measuring and chemistry this summer. Let little kids help you cook and let big kids try out making a recipe all on their own (help where needed for safety of course).
Tell the kids to go around the house or yard and invent something you wish you owned that doesn’t exist.
6. Make Math Fun
Graph baseball stats, people’s birthdays and see if you can reach any conclusions (or is your data not rich enough).
Send the kids outside for this messy science project. It might be messy, but it’s easy, colorful and a great experiment for all ages. Click here for instructions.
Build a vessel using only the items listed and then see how many pennies it can hold before it sinks. Click here to download and print the directions from scienceSeeds. This activity can be morphed into a fun summer pool activity where you challenge your pool club or other friends to build a structure and see how long you can paddle it across the pool. Only building materials allowed are duct tape (finite amount) and cardboard. This is a great fundraiser, birthday activity and just plain good old fun.
9. Order a few STEM Kits for kids to do. Having them on hand and at the ready for when someone says “I’m bored” is great! We love these from scienceSeeds.
10. Sign up for a STEM related camp or class. If you’re in NJ try Science Seeds (more info below)
I worked with the team from scienceSeeds to create this post. I’ve met them and they are amazing with getting kids excited about STEM activities. I was so glad they wanted to share some of their tips. I included ordering their kits as an easy way to incorporate STEM this summer because they really are well made, well thought out and well worth the cost. Here’s a little more about Science Seeds:
Founded in 2008, scienceSeeds is a science enrichment program that seeks to engage children and their parents in discovering the mysteries of the world we live in. We strive to motivate and engage young minds, encourage out-of-the-box thinking and promote the natural acquisition of a scientific vocabulary. We will help children understand that getting wrong answers is part of discovering the right ones and motivate kids to engage in ongoing investigation both individually and collaboratively. We offer after-school classes, workshops, weekend maker sessions, summer camps and science-themed parties in an inviting, nurturing, family-friendly environment.
Science is the disciplined application of curiosity. When children experience science through building and try to configure a circuit out of some wires, batteries and paper clips, they make the connection between theory and practice and realize that science is everywhere around them. From the initial “Wow!” where something seems like magic, our students observe, experiment and learn the science behind the magic until that “Aha!” moment when all the information coalesces into understanding.
Then the students harness the power of their new knowledge to make something new and different: the “Cool!” stage. Our students become absorbed in the process of learning by doing. In the fall of 2019 we launched our DIY S.T.E.A.M kits line available for purchase at www.scienceseeds.com/shop. Our kits are the result of our 10 year experience working and teaching children. While many of our kits stress particular scientific concepts, we also offer DIY kits that encourage children to build, customize and experiment.
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