Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are fundamental components of a child’s education. Kids often exhibit a natural curiosity in these topics. The below list of fun, approachable activities based around these subjects will help you support your child’s success in school and beyond.
Activities to Support STEM School Work
1. Oil Spill
Mix any kind of oil and water in a jar, and then add feathers. Have paper towels or a sponge ready, and then ask your child to try to remove the oil from the feathers and the water. This science activity encourages conversation about environmental issues and how challenging it is to deal with large scale oil spills. Seeing how difficult it is to remove oil from the feathers is a first-hand experience of the harm posed to wildlife from petroleum spills.
2. Lego® Maze
The Lego® maze activity introduces basic coding concepts. The first step is to have the child create a maze for a Lego® figure (a user) to navigate. The child must then figure out how they would write instructions (code) to tell the user what to do. Print out instructions, such as “go left” or “move forward” onto individual slips of paper that the child can then arrange in order.
At the most basic level, the game teaches how to switch reference from themselves to a user. Older kids can begin to understand the concepts of looping, sequencing, and other basic coding commands. Check out resources from ResearchParent or the Lego® Learning website for more detailed instructions about how to set up this and other STEM activities with Legos®.
3. Build a Bridge
To try basic engineering concepts, building a bridge and testing its strength is an easy, fun activity. You will need a hot glue gun, about 50 popsicle sticks, a ruler, and parchment paper. With your child, figure out what type of bridge to make. It should be 12 inches across. Craft the bridge on the parchment paper and a baking sheet to avoid damaging furniture or floors with hot glue. When the bridge is dry, place it between chairs and then test the strength by slowly adding weight.
4. Pipe Cleaner Count
This activity helps teach counting and the concept of how numbers increase in size. Gather paper, pipe cleaners, and larger beads. Label pipe cleaners with numbers ranging from 1-10. Have your child place them in order and then string the matching number of beads onto the pipe cleaner, counting aloud as they go.
For an alternative school with an emphasis on STEM skills building, choose Wonderland School in San Marcos, TX. This private facility has 50 years’ experience providing an academically challenging curriculum and a positive learning environment for K-6th-grade kids. When enrolling your child, mention if you learned about the school online to receive a free gift. Call (512) 392-9404 for more information about enrollment or visit the website to view the curriculum and meet faculty.