When it comes to STEM, it’s best to introduce it to kids at a young age. This way, you can encourage kids to learn the basics of science, technology, engineering, and math with easy-to-understand, fun, hands-on STEM activities. However, for teachers who have had to deal with remote teaching, it’s not always easy to teach hands-on, STEM activities to kids remotely. The same is true for educators who teach at-home kids remotely during their summer breaks or after school.
With that said, there are many online STEM programs and courses designed to flame the curiosity of young minds and encourage elementary students to show interest in STEM. These courses include some fun activities that you can teach your students to spark their interest in STEM. Let’s explore some of them!
At-Home STEM Activities for Kids
Here are some of the most enjoyable and learning-oriented STEM activities that you can give to your elementary students:
Cloud in a Jar
Cloud in a jar is the perfect activity for your youngest students. It will teach them the basics of water cycles, states of matter, and condensation. But above all, it’s a fun activity that only requires household ingredients like water and hairspray to form clouds. A solid tip is to ask parents to take the kids out on a cloudy day and help them perform this activity.
Sticky Note Number Match
The sticky note number match is a movement-oriented math activity that requires a sheet of paper, some tape, sticky notes, and a marker. It will help kids understand the meaning of numbers. However, it doesn’t require students to memorize numbers. Instead, this activity lets them hunt for sticky note numbers and stick them on the wall over the figures that match the numbers. You can keep it simple and start with numbers 1 to 5.
Making Milk Plastic
Did you know that from the early 1900s until 1945, people used milk to make various plastic objects, such as beads, buttons, decorative buckles, fountain pens, combs, brush sets, and so much more? Your students will surely love this information and would jump on the opportunity to make plastic out of milk! This type of plastic is known as casein plastic, and you can make it out of vinegar and hot milk.
This activity will help you teach kids about real-world issues. It requires you to mix oil and water in a big container and put some feathers into the mix. Then, you can ask the kids to use little spoons, paper towels, or sponges to separate the oil from the feathers and water without spilling the water. With this activity, you can teach students how oil spills negatively affect the environment.
Ice Cream in a Bag
STEM in education doesn’t have to be too technical, especially for younger kids. As a teacher, you can introduce this fun activity to your students and teach them how to make ice cream in a bag. You will start with room-temperature ingredients and cool them down to make delicious ice cream that the kids can enjoy. This way, you can teach the kids how the whole process works and why cooling the ingredients down to a certain temperature matters.
Paper Roller Coaster Activity
Building a paper roller coaster is another fun yet simple at-home activity for elementary students. All they will need is some paper and tape and the help of their supervisors or parents to make the roller coaster. You can teach them the laws of physics as they create their roller coasters by tying paper pieces together.
It’s not always easy to introduce elementary students who face the limitations of remote teaching to STEM. You need to always be on the lookout for fun activities for your elementary students so that they are motivated to learn more. Homemade slime is one of these fun activities. However, you can add some STEM magic to this staple by adding some magnets and iron oxide powder into the mix. This activity is great for kids who are curious about how magnets work.
Build a Balance Scale
This STEM project requires a plastic hanger, a string, and cups. You can use it to introduce the concept of balance to your students. It’s a simple activity that can be super fun for young kids. If you want to encourage your student’s curiosity and willingness to learn, ask them questions that spark their interest. For instance, you can ask them, “How many LEGOs does your T. Rex, toy car, or Barbie weigh?”
All you need for this STEM activity is a pile of large marshmallows or jellybeans and some toothpicks. This activity will help you teach your students about structures and it’s a fun introduction to structural engineering. Encourage them to use the marshmallows/jellybeans to make shapes or structures. You can give them different challenges to build specific structures, such as robots, houses, etc.
Now that you have a list of fun, interactive, and learning-oriented STEM activities for your students, make sure to introduce your students to them and establish the foundations of STEM in their hearts and minds.