Fun at Home with STEM Projects

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child building robot at robotic technology school lesson, STEM education

Are you plagued with questions from your preschool-aged child? Why does it rain? How do clouds form? 

Their minds are busy and continually analyzing their world and surroundings. They are trying to understand the way things work. 

As parents, we want to help foster their imaginations and search for explanations. Yet, we don’t always have the answers to their questions. We find ourselves wishing we knew more about weather, botany, technology (or anything else they question us on). 

They ask these questions all day because your little learner expressing an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)  topics. With the demand for STEM-related careers steadily increasing, developing these skills could be crucial to your child’s future. 

Today, Twin Cities Kids Club is here to provide you with a list of STEM projects that will take minimal effort on your part to help foster their love for STEM. 

Join Twin Cities Kids Club today for discounts and to discover where STEM events near you are being held! 

What’s STEM?

The word STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM surrounds us in our daily lives. 

Science can be found everywhere around us. Technology advancements happen rapidly. Engineering can be seen as something as familiar as the roads we drive on or ways to clean oil spills and fight global warming. Mathematics is used every day and in every occupation.

Encouraging children with a STEM education can lead them to find their passions and lead them to a STEM-related career. When you create a fun and engaging STEM environment, they will enjoy themselves so much they won’t realize they are learning. 

The Importance of STEM 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs in May 2015, representing 6.2 percent of the United States employment. Wages for STEM occupations are almost double the national average salary of a non-stem profession. Employment in the  STEM field grew by 10.5 percent between May 2009 and May 2015 compared to the non-stem career field with a 5.2 percent growth.

An education that is STEM-focused creates critical thinkers, innovators, increases science literacy. 

Science is vital to make advancements in medicine and treatments. As technology continues to advance, there is an increased need for a better understanding of how the technology works and its effects.  Engineering can lead to innovations and can be used to find more sustainable ways to live. Mathematics can be used to measure the economy’s growth and stability. 

Shaving Cream Rain Clouds

Science 

For this STEM project, you only need five common household ingredients, such as a jar, water, shaving cream, food coloring, and straw. Your child will watch the blue food coloring drip through the shaving cream “cloud”, and this will allow you the opportunity to discuss the process of rain. 

For older children, you can explain that as the rain droplets start to get more massive and too heavy to remain in the cloud, that is when precipitation happens. It can also be an excellent opportunity to discuss the scientific names of clouds.

Build a Sled STEM Activity 

Engineering

Turn your little learner into an engineer with this fun STEM project. With a small piece of cardboard, pipe cleaners, straws, tape, and pennies, your child can design their sled. Once complete, you can slide it down a sloped surface.

You can also use this as an opportunity to discuss how the pennies used as the weights and gravity will work to move the sled down the ramp. For younger children, talk about how the season’s change and winter. 

Either way, this STEM project is sure to put them in the holiday spirit.

Cheerful smiling children are building a constructor

Simple Fine Motor Math Activity

Mathematics 

This counting activity not only focuses on math but also on helping your child tune fine motor skills! All you need for this simple STEM activity is large craft foam numbers and clothespins. 

You can easily trace the numbers and cut them out of the craft foam. Once you have your numbers cut out, your preschooler will begin to clip the appropriate amount of clothespins to the numbers. The opening of the clothespins will help them exercise their motor skills. 

Code Your Name in Jewelry 

Technology

A stem project that teaches coding and where better to start than with binary? For this project, all you will need is some pony beads or wooden beads, a string and a printed list of binary code. 

Have your child assign a color to the number one and a different color for two. They can use a different shade of beads to provide space between the letters of their name. Give your kid the binary list and have them use the colors they assigned to the numbers to spell their name. 

Once finished, they will have a homemade bracelet or necklace that says their name in binary. You can take the opportunity to explain to your kids what binary is and how computers use it. 

How Water Travels Through Roots

Science

In this experiment, you will show your children how water travels through a plant. The few supplies needed for this project are Nappa cabbage leaves, glass jars, water, and food coloring. 

Fill the glass jars with just over an inch of water. Then add a couple of drops of food coloring. Once you place the cabbage into the water you will see the changes after eight hours. 

Explain to your children how plants work that they draw the water up through their tubes from the ground. With the visual aid of the cabbage, your child will be quick to understand how the water got into the plant. 

Popsicle Stick Catapult

Engineering/Science

A catapult is guaranteed to be a hit with your little one! To create one, you will need popsicle sticks, rubber bands, a cap or spoon (to hold small items), scissors, and glue. To assemble the catapult you will rubber band the popsicle sticks together. 

This experiment can easily incorporate science by launching different small items such as erasers, marshmallows, and pompoms. Talk to your kid about which object they think will launch the farthest and why. 

Test out their hypothesis and measure the distance of each object launched. Explain to your learner why or why not their theory was correct. 

Cheerful smiling children are building a constructor

The Benefits?

By exploring STEM with your child, you are encouraging them to think critically and analytically. They will learn to problem solve and adapt. STEM-based work builds resilience, and they will be eager to learn and explore their world around them. 

If your kiddos love these projects, consider signing them up for a science camp this summer. We have a list of camps here.

Sign up to become a member today! We will keep you in the know with great discounts and events in your area!

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