Summer, glorious summer! A time for relaxing, vacations, and unplugging... We’re several weeks into summer, and if your family is anything like ours, that last one might be a challenge. As an antidote to too much screen time, we’ve put together a list of STEM activities for families.
Not only will these activities help prevent the summer learning slide, they’ll also encourage kids to put down those screens for a bit. That’s what we call a win-win!
Some of the activities involve apps and online research. You can mix and match to strike a healthy balance between hands-on activities and educational online resources.
Does making elephant toothpaste, fizzy lemonade, or invisible ink sound fun? Check out these free resources:
At home: Check our Yellow Scope’s 20 Minute Labs for a series of quick and fun hands-on experiments! Sign up for our email list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for new labs every month.
Send your kids to “camp”! Our Camp Yellow Scope is a digital series of eight chemistry-based experiments, including printable instructions and worksheets to hypothesize, record, and analyze data.
Online: There are some excellent online STEM resources to keep kids engaged. Check out Nova Labs from PBS, which covers topics from cybersecurity to the sun.
Science kits: If you're looking for convenience and real science equipment, consider everything-in-the-box science kits such as Yellow Scope’s:
Your local library may also have science kits that can be checked out for free!
Explore the natural world! Keep your eyes open and be curious.
Identify plants: Learn the names of the plants in your own backyard or at your local park with the online resources like Audubon's Native Plant Database or apps like PlantSnapp and Garden Answers.
Take a hike: Hiking is not only good exercise, but can also stimulate your brain! Check out rock formations, birds’ nests, insects, and plants. Carry an inexpensive magnifying glass to get closer to nature. Bring along paper and markers to draw what you observe!
Be a bird detective: Use this guidebook from Bird Sleuth to explore the world of birds in your neighborhood.
Stars, galaxies, and more: Visit a local observatory to learn more about our universe. Keep a track of astronomical events that you can observe in your region even without a telescope.
Mark your calendars for various upcoming meteor showers. Check out these other spectacular 2021 sky events. NASA kids is another great resource of online activities for kids.
Online: PBS and National Geographic are great resources for online STEM games for kids.
Library: Check out STEM books or participate in STEM programs at your local library.
STEM games: Check out these cool games that will keep your kiddos (and you!) busy for hours: Snap circuits junior, Lego Chain Reactions, Gravity Maze and Math for Love Prime Climb
Subscribe to STEM magazines: Kids love getting mail! Consider a subscription to a STEM magazine. There are some great ones our there: SMORE, National Geographic, MUSE, or Strong Magazine.
Books: Some of our favorite girl power science books are Andrea Beatty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Ada Twist, Scientist. We also love the beautifully illustrated Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachael Ignotofsky.
Introduce the world of science with The Fourteenth Goldfish, where fifth grader Ellie meets a teen who looks like her scientist grandfather. Also, check out Jeannine Atkins' Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, which showcases three real-life scientists who loved science as children themselves.
It’s true! There’s a science journal out there for kids. Real scientists submit papers there that are then reviewed by kids. If your kids are interested in learning more about scientific research and review process, sign them up for Frontiers for Young Minds. (for ages 8-15).
Museums and science centers: Go visit your local science and technology museums. Explore the exhibits and participate in STEM activities there.
Movie night!: Grab the popcorn and queue up a science-themed Hollywood movie, such as Hidden Figures, and The Mars Generation, or tune in to shows like Emily's Wonder Lab, Xploration Outer Space, or Project Mc2. (Common Sense Media provides ratings and excellent descriptions of media to help you determine if the subject matter is appropriate for your child.)
SHARE WITH US!
Let us know how your activities turned out! Did you identify a new plant or read any STEM book? Share your summer STEM photos and videos with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We love getting your messages!