Top Simple STEM ChallengesIt all started with a bag of cups and some tape. Blue painters tape can change your child's life, especially if they've been blessed with an imagination. Why not give that creative energy some direction? After you have gathered some basic materials, you are ready to start some simple STEM challenges!
Easy STEM Building challengesBuilding challenges are easily accessible. You can use a variety of materials and get totally different results. Some fun ones to try:
- pipe cleaners
- empty recyclable containers
- deck of playing cards
Explore Force & Motion with these STEM challengesExperience gravity, drag, and friction with these fun STEM challenges. Start with a paper airplane. Learn the basics of making good folds and creases. Try out your design with some modifications. Questions to ask: What happens when you add weights like paper clips or pennies, cut flaps at the back of the wings and fold them up, or change the material (try it with small light paper or even big newspaper)? What is the longest distance or time you can make the airplane fly? Can you make it fly in a loop?
Use cardboard tubes or paper to create a marble run. Questions to ask: Can you make it take a specific amount of time for the marble to reach the bottom in a repeatable way? What happens as you change the angles of your tubes? Does the size of the marble change the speed at which it completes the run?
What about a car ramp for a toy car? Can you make it so the car stops when it gets to the bottom? What happens if you add a jump into the ramp? Will the car land on its wheels or flip?
Use hard boiled or plastic eggs and design a container that protects them. Can you drop it from the seat of a chair and keep it safe? What about if you drop it from a table, a high shelf, or even off a second story? What are some ways of protecting the egg?
a different size? Will they still fall over?
Get creative with STEM and STEAMSometimes it's fun to get outside and get messy! Make a simple bubble solution with water, dish detergent, and corn syrup (a lot of water, much less dish soap, even less corn syrup - the amounts vary in recipes I've found but if you fill a pitcher most of the way with water, put in about a half cup of dish soap, and about an eighth of a cup of corn syrup it works pretty well. These proportions are less than what I have found online but if it isn't working for you just up the dish soap or corn syrup). Use pipe cleaners or straws and try to make a bubble wand! Questions to ask: can you make a bubble into a shape other than a sphere? What's the biggest bubble you can create?
For rainy days or when you just want to go digital, head to your favorite drawing program. Try to create symmetry art or a fun word cloud with your favorite science words!
If you are looking to go deeper into STEM exploration, I have a set of 10 challenges that include more details about the set up, as well as key engineering vocabulary terms and graphic organizers to record the process. You can can an idea of what they are like at my guest post on Minds in Bloom - there is even a graphic organizer you can download and print to get you started!
What are your favorite easy STEM activities? Want to save these ideas for later? Pin them with this graphic: