6 STEM Activities To Try With Little Kids
It’s never too early to start preparing kids for a bright future and these fun and easy STEM activities are a great way to get started!
6 Must-Try STEM Activities For Elementary-Aged Kids
First off, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM activities involving these subjects can have a big impact on our children’s education and their future. Even the simplest STEM activities can provide numerous opportunities for kids to explore and learn STEM subjects.
1. Buy STEM Puzzles
Believe it or not, not all puzzles meet STEM criteria. STEM puzzles are all about discovery and open-ended questions to stimulate in-depth thinking and help discover new concepts. STEM puzzles have certain characteristics. Starting with STEM puzzles should be fun! They should also relate to the real world, trigger both sides of the brain to work together, and should allow kids to explore different areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). STEM puzzles require lateral thinking that requires your child to think of the less obvious way to solve the problem, or puzzle.
Giving your child access to a variety of STEM puzzles and toys can help them learn about what type of professions they may be interested in as they grow. And if you’re wondering how to easily spot a STEM puzzle, just look for the STEM-certified badge included on toy packaging. This helps indicate that the puzzle or toy has all the qualities I talked about above that make it a STEM puzzle.
Zulily offers an entire selection of education toys, including STEM kits, puzzles, and toys your kids are sure to love!
2. Learn to Code
As parents we have to start thinking of coding and computational thinking as the key skills our kids need to learn to excel in the careers of tomorrow. Today, coding is everywhere. I think we can all agree that it’s become the language that will help our kids navigate the future. It can help kids learn to communicate through technology in ways that will help them build a brighter future. Plus, it’s not just coding! Kids who code learn problem-solving skills, practice creativity, and explore logical thinking. Coding is also a great way for kids to collaborate with peers. Whether it’s working on a team project or working collaboratively to problem-solve for an individual project, coding can teach the importance of collaboration while building interpersonal skills in kids. Nowadays there are great coding for kids apps and even kid-friendly coding robots that can teach kids basic coding skills.
This summer it might even be fun to enroll your child in a coding camp, virtual options are always available!
3. Build with LEGO
Are your kids into LEGOs? Mine surely are! We love creating and having fun with LEGOs and most of the time our LEGO builds turn into fun family productions. The possibilities are endless with LEGO and there are many important skills your child can learn from building with LEGO. LEGO inspires creativity and whatever kids envision they can usually execute with bricks.
From basic LEGO bricks to more complex theme kits, there are thousands of ways to create using LEGO. LEGOs can even be used to teach children basic math concepts, sorting and counting. Having your child play with LEGO also gives them the ability to flex their independence muscles. Give them free reign in choosing what to build and they’ll build a sense of responsibility and ownership. Even further, building with LEGO can help build frustration tolerance, a skill kids need to develop early on in order to succeed later in life. Kids learn patience in order to get through the pains of building. LEGO play teaches them to be patient and persistent to get the job done!
4. Play Math Games
Teaching math to your toddler can be as easy as 1+1=2. However, you’ll need to go beyond pencil and paper for your little kid to truly learn math concepts that will guarantee their academic success. Math matters, even for little kids and early math skills can predict later academic success better than early reading skills can. You’ll want to make learning math a fun experience for your toddler. Puzzles, building blocks, board games, and card games are all great for teaching little kids math!
Games like Hi Ho Cherry-O and addition dice teach simple addition. Everyone’s favorite Chutes and Ladders introduces children to the numbers 1 to 100. Then there are more advanced math board games. Classics like Yahtzee, Life and Monopoly that are always good resources for practicing addition and subtraction.
However, you’ll find that some of the best learning math games can come from your own imagination. For example, go on a math scavenger hunt — find numbers around you or identify a certain number of the same object. Use chalk to scribble numbers on the sidewalk or driveway and then quiz your little kid with math questions they have to answer by running to the correct number. You may even want to try some fun online math games you can play together. In the end, learning math can become a fun activity you enjoy together rather than an educational drill.
5. Bring science outdoors
Now that summer is here, turn your backyard into your science lab and have some fun exploring science topics together. I recently shared a blog post highlighting 7 fun summer backyard ideas to try with your kids. It includes all the details on how to create nature discovery bottles, how to turn a bottle into a rain gauge, and even how to conduct a simple science experiment to find the best soap bubble solution. Need even more inspiration? Check out these easy science experiments to try with your kids!
6. Make Slime
And speaking of science experiments, making slime isn’t only super cool, it’s also a great STEM activity that can be turned into a scientific investigation for kids. Making slime involves exploring chemical reactions and kids will find this fascinating! Try making different kinds of slimes and compare and contrast recipes and outcomes. There are many slime kits you can purchase that come with all the materials you’ll need to make slime. However, you can also use ingredients found right at home to make all sorts of slime — glitter slime, fizzing lava slime, glow in the dark slime, and even magnetic slime. Most slime recipes require classic Elmer’s Glue and a mix of water, baking soda and saline solution, or borax.
In the future, STEM jobs are projected to grow about twice the rate of other jobs. By taking part in STEM activities, like the ones listed above, you are already giving your kids a head start and preparing them for the careers of tomorrow!