Keeping the kids busy at home during school closures can be tough. But with STEM, you can get them problem solving and having fun in no time! Here are my top 5 STEM activities for Distance Learning.
These activities are geared towards Kindergarten and younger elementary students, but of course, the whole family can join in for some fun!
1- Build a Name STEM Activity
Gather up any available resources you have at home. Maybe some bolts, soup cans, hair dryers, really whatever you can find! The goal is to use household materials to spell out your name.
This teaches children to be resourceful and creative while they learn about balance and letter shapes.
*Bonus* if you can make it stand on its own!
Materials: Anything your imagination can use to create letters.
2- Longest Paper Chain for Distance Learning
All you need for this activity is a single piece of paper, scissors, and tape/glue.
This works on fine motor skills (cutting & gluing), it works on collaboration if you choose to do this with more than one person, it also works on problem solving when the chain does not appear to be as long as you thought.
Discuss strategy for creating longer chains, ask your child whether to cut thin/thick pieces, should they be long or short loops. How can we make it even longer than before?
Materials: scissors, 1 sheet of paper, glue or tape
3- Pasta Bridge
Did you stock up on more pasta than you know what to do with? If you’re anything like me, you have an abundance currently sitting in your kitchen.
This project teaches about weight distribution, the fragility of 1 versus the stability of multiple pieces of pasta, problem solving skills, and perseverance. This one also takes awhile to complete so it can stretch out for more time.
*Bonus: before you begin, draw up blueprints for a design. Get that blue print here,
If you search online, you can find some amazing bridges with details that rival the Golden Gate.
Materials: spaghetti or another type of pasta, marshmallows or glue, 2 chairs to make the bridge across
4- Shadow Drawings to Track the Sun
You need a piece of paper, some action figures/dolls/humans, and markers to get this one up and running. This is perfect to get out of the house and explore patterns of the Solar System.
To make this into an experiment, I would pick different times during the day to draw the action figure’s shadow. Start at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm. Each time, the shadow is going to appear different. Tracking it is a great way to observe those patterns while incorporating some art. YAY for STEAM education!
Materials: piece of paper, pencil, crayons, a sunny day, something to trace (action figure, teddy bear, etc)
5- Grow Plants & Track their Growth
So many teachers do this in their classrooms to document the life cycle of different plants. You can do this at home even if you don’t have a lot of materials.
If you can, grab a packet of seeds and some dirt from your local store. If you don’t have that, save the seeds from some bell peppers.
You can dry out the seeds for a few days on a paper towel, flip them over every day until they’re fully dry. They can be planted and make their own plants soon!
Don’t have planters? Use toilet paper rolls to make seedling pods and maybe even use some recycled containers from your kitchen to start the plants.
Everyday, monitor the growth of the plants. When they get big enough, replant them outside to enjoy all summer long. (You should start this in the early spring!)
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I have a quick sheet if you’re a teacher that you can send home to your families to complete. It’s a fun way to spread STEM ideas and give parents a break from entertaining their kids during this distance learning time period.
If you’re interested in learning more how I encourage collaboration (think students or siblings at home) you should read my post on collaborating.
If you try any of these ideas out, let me know in the comments or send me a DM on instagram! I’d love to see them in action and connect with you!