Creative Child

12 Engaging STEM Activities

by Rebecca Eanes on Jul 14th, 2016

STEM – Science, technology, engineering, and math – is the buzzword in education. STEM activities offer fun, hands-on learning to inspire inventors, thinkers, and innovators. I’ve gathered 12 of my favorites for your creative child.

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Science:


1. Magic Milk

Magic Milk STEM ActivityMagic Milk Courtesy of Parent Savvy

What you’ll need: Plate, 1 cup of milk, 1 drop dishwashing liquid, and food coloring.

Instructions
Pour milk into the plate, ensuring you cover the base. Randomly add food coloring drops to the milk. Then, add one drop of dishwashing liquid to the center of the milk. A chemical reaction occurs causing the colors to swirl and mix.

According to About Education, the detergent lowers the surface tension of the liquid so that the colors are free to flow throughout the milk. The detergent reacts with the protein in the milk, altering the shape of the molecules. When the detergent combines with fat from the milk, micelles are formed, and the food coloring gets pushed around. It’s pretty neat to watch this stem activity in action.

2. Walking Water

Walking Water STEM ActivityWalking Water Courtesy of Teaching Everyday

What you’ll need: 3 empty glasses or jars (preferably the same size), water, food coloring, paper towels.

Instructions
Choose which colors you’d like to see mix. For example, yellow and blue make green, so you’ll use yellow food coloring and blue food coloring. Fill 2 of the glasses with water and add several drops of blue food coloring to one jar and several drops of yellow to the other.

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Fold a paper towel into quarters lengthwise. Put the empty jar in between the two filled jars. Insert one paper towel end into the blue water and the other end into the empty jar.

Insert one end of another halved and folded paper towel into the yellow jar and the other end into the empty jar. Pretty soon, you’ll see the water “walk” up the paper towels and down into the empty jar, and as they mix, you’ll see a new color forming (in this case, green)!

Watch this demonstration from Whiz Kid Science to see how this STEM activity works before you try it!

3. Make Oobleck

Making Oobleck STEM ActivityOobleck Courtesy of Unsophisticook

What you’ll need: Cornstarch, water, mixing bowl

Instructions
Pour about 1.5 cups of cornstarch into a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of water, pouring slowly. You may need a little less water or a little more to get the right consistency. Squeeze it. Stretch it. Poke it. Oobleck is messy fun that will entertain children of all ages. You can color it with tempera paint if desired.

This gooey, non-newtonian fluid gets its name from the Dr. Seuss book, Batholomew and the Oobleck. It’s one of his lesser-known primers that you may want to read with the kids as a warm up before beginning this STEM activity.

Technology:


1. Create a Stop Motion Animation

My favorite app is the LEGO Movie Maker. It’s very easy to use, and my kids have spent hours upon hours creating films. You can find it in the app store. Hue Animation also offers a kit complete with a HUE HD camera, software and 60-page book. Animation projects can be uploaded directly to Creatubbles and YouTube and shared with families and friends. Check out this video that shows some of the cool things you can do with stop motion animation:

 

2. Take Apart a Broken Electronic Device

Do you have an old computer tower lying around? Even a broken down toaster? Take it apart to see what it's made of. See if there are any items you or your kids can identify. Look them up to see how they work, and if you can think of other tools and appliances that use the same mechanical parts. This STEM activity requires adult supervision, as there may be sharp parts inside.

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3. Check Out a STEM App

Even a lot of parents don't understand it, coding is huge for young adults and kids. Hopscotch is an introduction to coding for grades 4-6. Kids are able to create games, animation, and art, and it’s free! Apple also recently unveiled a new app, Swift Playgrounds. It won't be released until the fall, but plenty of people are excited about it!

More activities continued on the next page...

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