11 Free STEM Activities for Kids
It’s easier than you think to take a STEM education out of the classroom and into your home! Exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is all about asking questions – and we know that kids are great at doing that. By mixing and matching a few (or all) of these free activities, your kids can answer burning questions, brainstorm new ones, and, by looking at the world through the lens of STEM, end up with a new perspective on the world around them. The best part? From taking a nature walk to learning to code, all of these activities are free!
- Take nature walks. Get fresh air and sneak in some science at the same time! Sometimes the best discoveries are those closest to home – have your child collect different bugs and compare them. Can they spot the Fibonacci sequence as you stroll?
- Pick up old tech at yard sales or thrift stores. See if you can work together to figure out how they run. For example, how do radios work? What kind of data is stored on a music tape? What’s the deal with vinyl?
- Whip up something delicious. Learn about proportions and chemical reactions by doubling a favorite recipe…or reducing it by ⅓. What happens if you only double a single ingredient? If you leave out the baking powder or butter, what happens to your baked goods?
- Nurture a backyard or community garden. Kids will learn the consistency needed to perform an experiment as they diligently care for their little plants, and they’ll ask plenty of questions along the way. Do sunflowers really turn to face the sun? How does photosynthesis work? Why do certain things only grow in certain seasons?
- Write a song. Music is math after all – play around with fractions (of time) to create a masterpiece with your kids! Can you learn to play the music you’ve written?
- Create a Rube Goldberg machine. Gather a few objects from around your house and get started! Your kids will learn about cause and effect experimentation, creativity, and engineering. Here are a few cool ones for inspiration!
- Make slime…because why not? They’ll learn about chemical reactions in a very tactile way. (Hint: it’s all about polymers!)
- Build a catapult. Catapults aren’t hard to make with whatever you’ve got lying around – pit siblings or friends against each other to compete to see how far they can launch a marble or cotton ball!
- Build a popsicle stick bridge. There’s nothing quite like the magic of incredible engineering – and your kids can see it for themselves when their popsicle stick bridge holds more weight than they thought possible! All you need to do is scrounge up some popsicle sticks and craft glue to get started. (Need a few tips? Check out this article.)
- Go stargazing. Why can you only see some constellations at certain times? Can you create new constellations? And why does the moon change shape throughout the month? We tackled the recent solar eclipse with a coding project – can your kids do the same with what they see in the night sky?
- Learn to code. Learning to code is fun when you’re creating! Let your kids go crazy with Tynker – they’re bound to learn with our simple tutorials and block-based approach to coding. Learning to code helps kids build a variety of skills – from math abilities to analytical thinking to confidence!