So it is summer and my kids love STEM so you would think a STEM camp would be a no-brainer except I’m not made of money. My kids have been done with the school year for 3 weeks and we’ve already been on our big vacation. So you not what that means, they are bored.
It is hot where I live in the summer. Our heat index has already been pushing 100 before noon. That limits our things to do in the summer. So without water involved the kids naturally gravitate to electronics – which is only good in limited amounts.
If you’re also feeling the struggle, here are a few STEM activities on those days where screens have been turned off and the kids need to get busy with some fun STEM projects. I’m guessing your are hear because either the kids are already driving your bonkers OR you are looking for ideas on science for kids – either way I got some ideas you need to check out.
Using that beach trip to your advantage.
Salt water has different properties from fresh water. I suggest using those differences as a jumping off point for kids to explore.
In this experiment, kids get a chance to explore whether salt water conducts electricity. The payoff is a buzz from a buzzer (or not). That alone makes it worth trying.
You can make this as simple or as complicated as you would like, but the idea is that the salt will change the density of water.
In the link, you will find out how to take the shell off of an uncooked egg. Then you can place that egg in salt water, fresh water, and even corn syrup to see what happens. The results are a great way to illustrate why drinking salt water is only going to leave you thirsty.
If the lake, ocean, or pool are part of your things to do in the summer…
…this can be a perfect opportunity for water quality experiments or a research project:
Indicator species (like frogs) or invasive species (like the python in the Everglades) can be used to talk about water quality. I’m actually finishing up some resources on that right now. In the meantime, check out this great video on frogs…
Summer storms can get pretty bad where I live, but it is a chance to talk about the water cycle and what happens to all that humidity in the air.
What about STEM project ideas for your own backyard?
Check out all of the natural finds that are available in the summer. That means shells, plants, bones, etc that are just laying around waiting to documented by your family. Check out Nature Magazine. Make sure to grab a science journal for the summer.
Catching (and releasing) fireflies is a summer past time that we never get tired of. Interested in why the firefly does its thing? Check out this episode of the Wild Kratts.
Just watch out for mosquitos that are also out during the same time.
Cool down with crystals.
Crystals are a whole branch of chemistry. All 3 of these are great ways to spend a few hours one afternoon. Are there better things to make in summer than cool treats (the borax crystals excluded).
STEM challenges & Engineering – STEM activities with a competetive edge.
Kids love a challenge and these stem challenges are just right for kids ages 4th-8th grade. These are fun things to do with a friend. Video and competition are especially popular with
Consider hosting your own stem camp at home.