We only have two months left of school so I am starting to make summer plans for my boys. Downtime is an important part of summer but there definitely needs to be a balance between activities and doing nothing. As a former bioengineer, middle school math teacher and self-proclaimed math and science geek, I definitely like to encourage STEM ideas. I’m excited to partner with iD Tech today to share 7 easy ways your kids can explore STEM this summer!
Explore Stem: Science Experiments
There are lots of fun summer activities that double as science experiments. Solar oven s’mores is just one example, the perfect combination of summer fun and learning. Simply adjust variables like oven size, materials or food type and you can investigate how the changes affect the outcome.
2. Explore STEM: Build Something
Encourage your kiddos to create something. Challenge them to build something with their LEGO bricks or random recycled materials you have around the house. These LEGO building prompts are a fun way to get the creative juices flowing. Print mine or create your own on sticky notes.
Using their imagination to build anything and everything with boxes and craft supplies is another fun idea. Invite a few friends over and host your own cardboard box party.
3. Explore STEM: Cook Together
My boys love baking with me and if you let your kids help you there is a lot of learning involved. Start with this easy stir-fry recipe or make some Pac Man cookies! Beyond measuring ingredients and following recipes, there is a lot more to the science behind food and cooking.
4. Explore STEM: Visit a Museum
Take a field trip to a local museum or make plans to visit when you are on vacation. One of our favorite adventures in San Francisco was visiting the Exploratorium which has hundreds of hands-on exhibits. If you aren’t traveling this summer, check out your local planetariums science center or children’s museum. They usually have a variety of hands-on STEM-oriented activities for kids. In Tucson, we love the Pima Air & Space Museum, The Children’s Museum Tucson, and the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium.
5. Explore STEM Toys
If your kids are really into technology, consider investing in a cool STEM toy they can play with all year long. We really like the littleBits droid inventor kit, OSMO and Snap Circuits. All these of those options are pretty easy to set up. If you have a maker in the family along with extra money and patience, you should consider a 3D printer! A 3D printer would keep your kiddo busy all summer long with projects.
6. Explore STEM on a Road Trip
Summer vacation often means road trips for many families. We spend multiple weekends heading to the mountains to escape the heat during the summer. While the car ride may seem boring at first you can turn them into contests to keep your kids engaged.
Try a scavenger hunt or make bingo boards with landforms, or animals you are likely to see. Or have them guess how much gas it will take to get to your destination. I remember my parents making the grocery total a guessing game when I was younger, the closest one to the total wins. You can play the same game while traveling, how much will the snacks cost at the gas station or what will your restaurant bill total be?
7. Attend a STEM Summer Camp
Consider a STEM-oriented summer camp, whether it be a sleepaway or day camp there are likely fun options nearby. We always plan on at least one or two weeks of summer camp to keep the boys active and engaged.
Would your kids want to design video games, mod Minecraft, print 3D characters, or build laptops? iD Tech offers a wide variety of programs for students to make friends and master new tech skills. Their camps also include fun camp culture like outdoor activities, dress-up days and gaming tournaments.