5 Easy STEM Activities to Do at Home with Your Child

6 Easy STEM Activities to Do At Home With Your Child

K–12 schools, including Connections Academy®, are integrating STEM principles into their curriculum, offering students an applied approach to learning science, technology, engineering, and math to develop our next generation of great innovators. To help spark a love of STEM in your child and motivate your student to learn, here are five easy STEM activities for kids. They’re designed to keep your child interested and engaged, with hands-on science experiments and learning activities you can do at home.  

These activities are geared toward elementary school learners and require just a few simple supplies you probably already have on hand. Use the activities to supplement your child’s school curriculum or your homeschool program—or just to spend time with your child learning something new!   

 

1. Make a Fruit Battery Out of a Lemon

Did you know that acid in citrus fruits can make a light bulb glow? In this fun science experiment, your child will be introduced to the basic principles of electricity by building a simple circuit and making a battery out of a lemon.  

What you need: 

  • 1 lemon 
  • 1 copper nail, screw, or wire, roughly 2 inches in length 
  • a zinc nail, screw, or galvanized nail, roughly 2 inches in length 
  • 1 holiday light with a 2-inch lead (enough wire to connect the two nails) 

Follow these four simple steps to fruit battery success: 

  1. Press down gently on your lemon and roll it around on a table to get the juices flowing inside it. You want it to be soft, but you don’t want to break the skin. 
  2. Insert both nails into the lemon, about 2 inches apart. Be sure they aren’t touching each other, and don’t let them break through the other side of your lemon. 
  3. Remove the insulation from around the holiday light’s lead, exposing the bare wire beneath. 
  4. Wrap the exposed wire around both the copper nail and zinc nail, and ta-da! Your holiday bulb will light up. 

As your child gets older, add on to this activity with more advanced STEM projects to help them understand circuits and electrical properties. When they reach high school, they can further their STEM education and gain valuable job skills by taking career and technical education courses

 

2. Guess the Weight

Kids love to play guessing games. Help them learn how much things weigh with a simple guessing game to support their math skills.  

What you need: 

  • several household items with different weights 
  • paper to record your guesses and findings 
  • a kitchen scale  

Guess the weight: 

  1. Pick up each item and guess what it weighs. Be sure to record your guesses! 
  2. Place each item on the scale to find out how close you are. Record the weight. 
  3. Repeat with more items. 

You can extend this activity with more advanced math by having your child calculate the combined weight of two items once each has been weighed or by calculating the difference between their guess and the actual weight.  

 

3. Apple Oxidation Experiment

Introduce your child to the basic steps of the scientific method (which will help them when it comes time to enter the science fair) while learning about oxidation with this easy apple oxidation science experiment.

What you need: 

  • paper to record your guesses and findings  
  • 4–5 different liquids, which could include plain water, salt water, sugared water, pure lemon juice, apple juice, orange juice, or milk 
  • 4–5 cups or plastic food storage bags 
  • 1 apple 

Follow these five simple steps to learn about oxidation: 

  1. Write down your predictions on how each liquid will affect the apple. 
  2. Pour each liquid into a cup or bag. 
  3. Cut the apple into small pieces and place one piece into each cup or bag, ensuring they’re fully covered by the liquid. Leave one piece of apple out of any liquid. 
  4. Check your apple slices at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. Record what happened to each apple.  
  5. Check the results against your predictions. 

 

4. Design and Build a Mini Marble Golf Course

Your child can develop their planning, design, and problem-solving skills by creating a mini marble golf course in this STEM activity. The potential props for this activity are endless, so get creative while engineering a fun golf course!  

What you need: 

  • paper to map out your course 
  • drinking straws 
  • shoe box lid(s) or other large, flat piece of cardboard  
  • scissors 
  • glue sticks 
  • small paper cups 
  • obstacle items, such as Styrofoam shapes, chenille stems, toilet paper tubes, craft pom-poms, etc.   
  • craft sticks 
  • marble

Design and build:

  1. Use the paper to draw 2–3 different golf course holes, including obstacles. 
  2. Using your drawing, glue the straws onto the cardboard to outline the different golf holes you designed. You can cut the straws to different lengths and bend them to create an interesting golf hole feature. 
  3. Glue a paper cup on its side in the position of the hole. The open part of the cup will serve as your hole for the marble “golf ball.” 
  4. Add any obstacles to your course and glue them down.  

Once you have glued everything, give it some time to dry. When it’s ready, use the craft sticks to hit your marble on each hole, trying to get it into the paper cup. 

 

5. Make a Lava Lamp 

In this fun science project, your child will learn about liquid density by creating a lava lamp.  

What you need: 

  • a wide bottle, such as a glass vase 
  • vegetable oil 
  • water 
  • your favorite color food coloring 
  • an Alka-Seltzer tablet 

Follow these three simple steps to create your groovy lava lamp: 

  1. Leaving 2–3 inches at the top, fill your container with a ratio of 3/4 vegetable oil and 1/4 water. Add the vegetable oil first, then watch the water sink to the bottom when added. 
  2. Add several drops of food coloring. 
  3. Drop the Alka-Seltzer tablet into the water and watch the reaction! 

 

Looking for more STEM activities you can do with your child at home? Learn how to build a Rube Goldberg machine or take a virtual trip to the moon

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