If you’re a parent, chances are good that you’ve heard the term STEM. For those not aware, it is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s a newer movement meant to get children interested in sciences early in education to improve the chances that they may pursue a technological career as an adult. Even if your children don’t want to be scientists, or engineers, STEM projects are a great way to help ensure that they have a well rounded education and they can simply make science fun.
This week, we’ve collected a handful of STEM-based projects for those of you with more creative children. These crafts are geared towards kids that enjoy arts, crafts, and simply making things. They’ll be having so much fun, they won’t even notice how much they are learning about the world around them!
Most of us are familiar with the standard elementary school project of building the solar system. While painting foam spheres and hanging them in order is definitely a fun way to learn about space, there are so many other ways to leave a lasting impression on your children while they learn about the 8 planets (and poor little Pluto).
Yarn Wrapped Solar System
For a new spin on creating a model of the solar system (no pun intended), check out this tutorial from AndNextComesL. All you really need is yarn in a variety of colors and some sturdy cardboard to cut out and wrap the yarn around.
Tap Light Planets
If you have enough tap lights and acrylic paint on hand, this idea from PlayathonMomLLC is a great hands-on project for teaching your children about the solar system. The added fun to this is that once completed, these light-up planets can be a great toy for playing after dark!
If you’re only able to get supplies from the grocery store, consider this edible project from CreativeKidSnacks. Have your children decorate a paper plate to look like space, then use the produce provided to represent each planet. Viola! A fun lesson and tasty snack all in one.
When I was a child, I thought that the human body was just a flesh bag that we filled with the things we ate and drank. It seems silly now, but as a young kid, it was the only explanation I was able to devise to explain what happened to the things we put into our body and why they (sometimes) came back out. Nowadays, however, I’m aware of all the different bodily systems that are required to keep the human body running smoothly. Of course, I only know this because somewhere along the way, a fantastic science teacher taught me about internal organs.
If you want to start introducing your children to the biology behind how their body works, 123KidsFun offers a plethora of free human body printables. These print and cut projects provide a fun, hands on way for kids to learn how all the parts of their body fit together. If your child is more advanced, the website offers tons of printouts focused on specific bodily systems like the skeleton, respiratory, circulatory, and many more.
If you’re looking to make math more fun for your creative child, Geometry-based projects are a great way to get them more involved with the M in STEM. TeachWithMe has a great tutorial on how to help your children create Geometric art using grid paper and their art supplies of choice. You may also consider teaching them about tessellations (geometric repeating patterns) using this great, in-depth guide from ThePreschoolToolboxBlog.
Engineering and Physics
This project pulls in a lot of different STEM elements while also including toys that kids already find fun. This Lego pendulum painting project from StirTheWonder is fun for kids while also teaching them about engineering, architecture, and physics. It’s a win win for everyone involved!
No creative STEM project list would be complete without slime. It’s been all the rage for a few years now, and helping kids make their own is a fun way to learn about chemical reactions. ScienceBuddies not only provides a guide on how to make slime, it also covers the details about what happens to change the makeup of the ingredients involved. If you’re missing any ingredients, check out the Pinwheel Crafts store and pick up a slime kit to do this project.
If slime is old news for your kiddos, consider oobleck as an alternative Chemistry lesson. Beyond just being a fun word to say, oobleck also offers a lesson in non-Newtonian fluids and surface tension. ScienceBuddies also offers an in-depth guide and background for oobleck, too.