Just because COVID-19 is keeping kids at home doesn’t mean they can’t still have engaging, STEM-filled adventures.
There are lots of simple STEM activities children can do alone or with a little help from parents. Take a look at a few of our favorites. They all use simple, household items or electronics, and they’re all designed to nourish children’s curiosity.
1. Create a video report: Give regular assignments a technological twist with a video. Create biographies, explain math concepts, or explore a period in history with visuals that’ll make those topics even more exciting. If you want to start with an easy option, try a book report. Your child can even use Animoto’s Book Report template as a launching off point.
2. Practice coding: Help kids keep up their tech literacy by giving them some time to code. Try the free, easy-to-use Scratch app for kids from 8-16, and Scratch Jr. for younger kids around 5-7 years old.
3. Make a stop motion video: Stop motion videos are an exciting way for children to make their own “animated” projects. Read up on how kids can make their own stop-motion using just a smartphone camera and a free Animoto account.
4. Make a boat out of recycled materials: Before you throw out that milk carton, why not put it to use? Let kids design their own boats using whatever you might have around the house. The project will teach them the properties of different materials and let them engage in some educational play.
5. Try the egg drop challenge: Challenge kids to build a container for an egg that can survive a drop from a given height. Let your mini-engineers use recycled materials, office supplies, or whatever else you might have handy. Then test out their designs somewhere you can get messy. Check out the lesson plan from The Boston Children’s Museum to find out how to do it.
6. Candy construction: Give your children gumdrops, jelly beans, or mini-marshmallows, along with a box of round toothpicks. Then let the kids turn all that candy into a delicious three-dimensional design. Take a look at the Exploratorium’s directions for inspiration.
7. Make oobleck: What’s oobleck, you ask? It’s an irresistibly slimy mixture named after the substance in Dr. Seuss’s book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. You can create your own oobleck at home by combining cornstarch and water with a little food dye. Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid—a fancy name for something that acts like both a liquid and a solid, and kids will have a blast experimenting with it.
8. Grow plants: Even if you don’t have a garden, you still show kids how plants grow. A child can “plant” a dry bean using a damp paper towel and a clear plastic cup. Kids can even test different growing conditions to see if plants grow better in the light or in the dark. Take a look at the directions on the Science Sparks website to find out how to set up this kind of experiment.
9. Create a walking rainbow: Show how water can take a walk in this easy, colorful science project. You’ll just need a few clear glasses, paper towels, food dye, and a little time to make your own rainbow. Check out the full set of directions on STEAMsational's page.
10. Math facts dominos: Turn learning math into a fun game. Just add stickers with math facts to popsicle sticks and let your child play. Visit PlayDough to Plato for a detailed guide to setting up this activity.
11. Hold a shape scavenger hunt: Ask kids to find different shapes around the house. You can up the difficulty level for older children by asking them to find certain types of angles or more difficult shapes. If the children can’t find enough examples in your house, let them go on a digital scavenger hunt instead!
If you have a favorite STEM activity we missed, let us know in the comments! Or if you want to learn more ways you can add video to your lessons, visit our Classroom page for inspiration.