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  • Want To Raise A Future Engineer Or Science Whiz? Try These 5 STEM Activities At Home

    You can do these activities using common household items!
    by Kate Borbon .
Want To Raise A Future Engineer Or Science Whiz? Try These 5 STEM Activities At Home
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  • Maybe you hope your child will grow up to be an engineer or doctor or accountant. Or maybe you just want her to develop skills that will help her in school. With the help of different home activities, you can start building in your child a fascination in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field.

    Honing your child’s interest in STEM doesn’t mean you have to be a math or science whiz yourself. Here are activities that will help her see STEM in action — and they can all be done using materials you have at home!

    5 STEM activities for kids

    DIY Marble Run

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    Skills taught: Cause and effect, energy, gravity

    Materials: Cardboard tubes, tape, marbles or small rolling objects, scissors, a bowl or basket

    Instructions: First, cut the tubes crosswise, and then attach them to the wall using tape, arranging them in such a way that they form a path for the marble to pass uninterrupted. Place the bowl or basket under the last tube. Talk to your child about which routes are faster and slower and hypothesize why that might be the case. You can also ask her to help decorate the tubes or create different arrangements for the tubes.

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    Cloud in a Jar

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    Skills taught: How clouds form

    Materials: A jar, a match, a balloon (cut off the bottom part), warm water, a flashlight

    Instructions: Pour warm water into the jar until it covers the jar’s bottom 1/2 inch. Light a match and hold the lit end in the jar for a few seconds for the smoke to enter the jar, then remove the match. Right away, place the balloon over the jar opening securely. With a finger, push the balloon into the jar to increase the air pressure there, then release it. You will notice a cloud forming inside the jar as you release the balloon. Use a flashlight to help your child see the cloud more clearly.

    Sticky Note Number Match

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    Skills taught: Counting, number recognition

    Materials: Post-It notes, marker, tape, paper

    Instructions: Lay down a sheet of white paper horizontally, then draw “dot quantities” on it using a marker. Attach this paper on the wall. On the Post-It notes, write down the numbers according to the “dot quantities,” then hide them in different parts of your house. Ask your child to find all the Post-It notes and match them to the dots.

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    DIY Balance Scale

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    Skills taught: Balance, weight

    Materials: Hanger, two plastic or paper cups, string/yarn, a hole punch

    Instructions: Punch holes at the top of each cup on opposite sides, then string a piece of yarn through them. Hang the cups on your hanger and place the hanger on a hook or doorknob. Place different objects in the cups to see which one is heavier or lighter.

    Popsicle Stick Catapult

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    Skills taught: Energy, gravity, laws of motion

    Materials: 10 popsicle sticks, rubber bands, bottle cap, small objects like marshmallows, erasers, and more

    Instructions: Take two popsicle sticks and make two V-shaped notches on opposite sides of both, then set them aside. Take the remaining sticks, stack them on top of one another, and secure the stack with a rubber band wrapped around each end. Push one of the notched sticks under the top stick on the stack, then flip the catapult over so that the first notched stick is on the bottom. Lay the other notched stick on top of the stack and secure it to the first notched stick using a rubber band (the notches will help keep the rubber band in place).

    Glue a bottle cap to the top popsicle stick; this will serve as the launchpad for your catapult. Put small items in the cap and use the catapult to fling them into the air, then see how far each item goes.

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