14 Simple (and fun!) STEM Activities You Can Do Today
Need a fun STEM activity to do at home or in an after school club?
These 14 simple STEM activities can be done in 1 hour or less! They only require simple ingredients and items that you can find at your grocery store (or already have at home!)
I’m a big fan of STEM bins. Purchase a simple craft box (these are my favorite storage bins for a playroom), and load them up with your old paper tubes, bubble wrap, and more so you always have cheap STEM activities on hand. Also, take a look at my article, 5 Ways to Use STEM Bins to Encourage Creative Thinking.
14 STEM Activities You Can Do At Home Today
1. How to Make Slime
All you need is some glue, borax, and water. Plus, add some food coloring for fun and creative designs. If you don’t already have borax, you can find it at any supermarket. Its a common cleaning agent.
What lesson can you teach by making slime? you may be asking. Well, its an example of a polymer, a large molecule made up of a chain of repeating units (monomers.) Discuss the properties of polymers for a little science lesson mixed into the fun.
Find the full slime recipe here.
2. Magic Milk Experiment
You can easily do this science experiment in 20 minutes. And, you probably already have everything you need to do it right now.
All you need is milk (2% or whole), food coloring, and dish soap.
Watch the exploding colors as the fat molecules separate once they come in contact with the soap.
3. Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag
All you need for this activity is salt, ice, and either whipping cream (for really tasty ice cream) or milk. Then, add the toppings and flavors you love! Its a great opportunity to teach how different elements have different freezing and melting points. What happens when you add salt to the ice?
4. Make a Kaleidoscope
This activity puts the “A” in STEAM. Combine a bit of science with creative play by building these Kaleidoscopes. Its a great activity for preschool ages. Plus, once you make it, you can continue to use the Kaleidoscopes as a fun DIY toy. Simply use what you already have in your craft box for some fun designs. You will need a reflective “mirror” material to put into the tubes. We recommend these mirror sheets.
5. Create a Crystal Garden
Borax or epsom salt make for easy, beautiful crystals grown overnight.
I also love this activity around Christmas time — use the same solutions on pipe cleaners for beautiful, simple crystal ornaments. Find the full instructions here.
6. Rocket Launcher with Straws
Download this free STEM printable for rocket ship designs. Simply add them to a straw and blast off! Easy activity than can be done in an hour at home. (But save some time to test your new rocket!)
7. Build Toothpick Bridges
This is the classic engineering activity that even I did in school. All you need is toothpicks and glue. I recommend using some graph paper as well to layout your designs. What lessons can be taught with this STEM activity?
Well, once you build your bridge, you need to test it! Place the bridge over two tables, and then hang weights from the bridge. Slowly add on more weight to see which bridges can withstand the biggest load. (Hint: Bridges using triangles as their main structure are likely to win!) Kids will see first hand how different shapes and geometry impact the strength of a structure.
8. DIY Wind Cars
Unpack that STEM bin of yours and use what you’ve got! Pipe cleaners and tubes will all help you make an epic wind car. You can buy wooden wheels at a craft shop or simply dig out wheels from an old Lego set.
You can purchase wind car kits, but its just as easy to make one on your own for next to free!
9. Homemade Marble Runner
Some marble runners on the market are quite expensive, in my opinion. Great news? You can make your own at home! All you need is an old cardboard box lid, large popsicle sticks, and clue.
Create fun puzzles and mazes and let your marbles go off to the races!
10. Pizza Box Solar Oven
Show kids the power of green energy with these simple pizza box solar ovens. S’mores are a great food to start with in your solar oven, but then branch out from there to see exactly what your solar oven can make! (I recommend giving small Pita Pizzas a try in your solar oven too!)
11. DIY Lava Lamp
These cool lava lamps just require water, oil and either salt or antacid tablets. Learn about different density and the effects of it. The oil is more dense than the water so the water and oil won’t mix.
Drop in the antacid tables to get the bubble, lava lamp effect. Plus, a bit of food coloring makes it look great! You should have everything you need at home for this simple STEM activity.
12. Make Your Own Bath Bomb Experiment
For this one, you likely don’t have all the supplies already at home. But making your own bath bombs — how awesome is that? It’s an activity both the kids and mom will love! The main ingredients are cornstarch and baking soda. You’ll also add some of your essential oils. You can change these up depending on the scent you want.
13. DIY Floam
Loved the slime activity above? Then this homemade floam is perfect for your family! All you need is borax, glue, and some poly-fil beads (those tiny styrofoam beads in beanbag chair), and tah-dah! Your own homemade floam that you can play with for hours.
14. Coding a Lego Maze
Learning to code doesn’t need to involve more time in front of the screen – especially for young learners!
The first step is to think like a programmer and understand the command and logic sequences written when coding. This activity is perfect for developing those skills! Download the free printable here.
These simple STEM activities are great for a rainy or snowy day. I always recommend teaching a bit about the science behind each activity, rather its density, freezing points, or simply how light reflects! Your kids will love these activities, and not even know that they’re learning!
Looking for something that is themed for this Spring? Checkout our ultimate list of Spring STEM activities!