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Mendo Lake Family Life

27 Simple STEAM Activities You Can Do at Home

Oct 01, 2019 01:45PM
By Janeen Lewis

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education has grown in popularity in recent years as the number of STEAM-related jobs continues to increase. Foster a love of STEAM at home with these fun and easy ideas.

Science
Welcome questions like “Why is the sky blue?” Questioning is the first step of the Scientific Method.

Use scientific words and make exploring a part of everyday life.

Create a kitchen science lab with common ingredients. Make homemade ice cream in a Ziploc bag (tinyurl.com/y4lvzxd2); make butter out of heavy cream in a mason jar (sweetpaulmag.com/food/homemade-butter-in-a-mason-jar); or grow geodes in eggshells (sciencebob.com/eggshell-geode-crystals).

Encourage household problem-solving. Bread dough that doesn’t rise, an inside door that sticks in winter, or an insect infestation in the garden are gateways to hypotheses, experiments, and answers.

Have a blast—literally! Make a paper-mache baking soda and vinegar volcano (tinyurl.com/y76tlozm). Go outside and drop a pack of Mentos in a two-liter soda, or launch a bottle rocket (tinyurl.com/y5rmnjpc). Discuss the science behind the blast.

Technology
Make the computer your friend. Teach your child how to do research, make brochures for school projects, and use spreadsheets for chores and allowances. When you take a family trip, let your child research places to visit.


Start coding early. Check out code.org for fun ways kids can code online. Other coding sites to try are Codeacademy, Kodable, Lightbot, Scratch, and Tynker.
Introduce Raspberry Pi. Kids can use this card-sized single board computer for basic programming.

Make a stop-motion video. Apps to try: Lego Movie Maker, Stop Motion Studio, Lapse It,
iStopMotion, and Clayframes.

Use digital tools to help with schoolwork. Try merriam-webster.com, thesaurus.com, and khanacademy.com. Explore study-aid apps like Tinycards, and use the apps myHomework and MyGradeBook.

Engineering
Teach kids the Engineering Design Process. Check out a kid-friendly version at teachengineering.com.

Keep building supplies on hand. Try Legos, wooden blocks, K’nex, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Duplo bricks. Use toothpicks or pretzels to build with cheese, grapes, and marshmallows. Check out Lego Robotics at the Redbud Library in Clearlake (facebook.com/cmaslakecounty).

Create catapults. Some materials to try: Popsicle sticks, spoons, drink lids, rubber bands, and pom-poms. (See childsci.org/popsicle-stick-catapult.)

Build a Rube Goldberg machine out of household materials. This machine is intentionally designed to perform a simple task through a series of complex chain reactions. To learn more, visit rubegoldberg.com.

Join a radio control club. Planes, helicopters, and boats often inspire children. Building their own involves creativity and problem-solving skills. Check out Wine Country Flyers Model Aircraft Club (wcflyers.com).

Arts
Stock up on art supplies: watercolors, finger paints, crayons, colored pencils, pastels, construction paper, sketchbooks, and origami paper.

Experiment with evaporation art. Mix salt with water and paint. Have your child predict what will happen to the salt and water. (See tinyurl.com/y3jdlysg.)

Borrow a how-to-draw book from the library. Step-by-step directions will give your child more confidence.

Sculpt with air-dry clay. Paint creations after they dry.
Listen to a variety of music genres. This will open your child’s mind to different artists and styles of music.

Sign up your child for a creative writing class. Call the local library and ask about writing classes for kids.

Read poetry books.

Math
Teach number sense. Mentally work through problem-solving logic with your child. Laura Overdeck’s Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Feiwel & Friends, 2013) is a good book for promoting math discussions.

Check out Texas Instruments’ “STEM Behind Cool Careers” (education.ti.com/en/activities/stem/gen-stem) for videos connecting algebra, geometry, and physics to jobs such as fashion designer, pilot, and more.

Cook or bake together. Measuring and figuring out equivalent fractions and conversions are all part of recipe building.

Try grocery-store math. Have kids compare prices for the best buys and stay within a weekly budget.

Measure the miles. When going on family outings, ask the kids to calculate the miles and time it will take to get to your destination and the amount and cost of gas you’ll use. 

Janeen Lewis is a writer, teacher, and mom. She has been published in several parenting publications across the country.