STEM subjects have been talked about a lot in recent years, so what is all the buzz about? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, math. These subjects are vital to our world, but are sometimes overlooked because of their intimidation factor. However, STEM can be fun! It might just take an activity or two to grab a child’s attention. Getting kids familiar with STEM not only broadens their horizons, but an interest in STEM could also lead to a fulfilling hobby or in-demand career. We have entertaining, hands-on STEM crafts that could do the trick.
1. Ocean in a Bottle
Create a mini ocean. Here is how to make an ocean in a bottle. First you will need a jar or glass bottle for your display. If not new, clean out and rinse. Add sand for the bottom layer. Add water until it is half full. You can enhance the blue shade of the water with food coloring or liquid watercolor paint and stir. Add real or craft shells. Pour vegetable oil into the jar, stopping short to leave space at the top. Secure the lid to the jar with glue (an adult should do this if using hot glue). When dry, have kids shake and tip the jar and observe their “ocean’s” movement.
2. Ready to Launch
This game demonstrates lever movement. Decorate your simple machine. Cover a small coffee can with patterned paper and tape. Paint a yardstick as desired. When dry, glue plastic cups to one end of the stick. Place the can in the middle center, under the yardstick, and keep in place with a rubber band. Place small beanbags or soft balls into the cups. Now for the fun part! Kids can stomp on the opposite yardstick end, which will launch your objects into the air. Move the can up and down the stick and see what happens.
3. A Bridge of Cotton
This activity is an inexpensive and has the potential to occupy a child for ages. All the while, they are getting a lesson in engineering. All you need is glue and Q-tips. You could also use plain craft sticks. Kids can do a sketch first of how they envision their bridge, or get right to the constructing. The only criteria is that the “structure” has to stand on its own.
4. Get Into Shape
This activity builds on kids’ perception of shapes and geometry, as well as visualizing fractions. Previous to the activity, measure and cut out shapes from construction paper in different colors: triangles, squares, and rectangles. Distribute a plain white piece of construction paper to the kids. Have them place the pre-cut pieces onto the white paper until it is completely covered. They will start and realize they may have to shift the shapes around in order to fill the page with even edges, sort of like a Tetris game. When they have a complete fit, glue the shapes down. The kids end up with a cool looking art piece, and also take away a math lesson.
5. Tech Talk
Help them get to know technological vocabulary that they can apply to the real world with a flash card game. Every day, for a week or a month, give them a new flash card with a term of the day, such as “Internet,” “mouse,” and “keyboard.” If you feel like they know the basics, you can advance the terms, like control/command keyboard shortcuts. For example, “What command do you use to copy?” Extra bonus points if you can decorate the cards with graphics. After you have distributed all the terms, divide the class into two teams and do a classroom drill, with two students answering at a time. If they lose, they sit down, if they win the round, they can get back in line for another round. The team with that is still standing wins and gets a prize.
Find even more fun-filled craft projects by clicking here.