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Challenge: Summer Fun

10 Fun STEM Activities for those Long Summer Days

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When you're home with your kids for the summer, you don't just want to have fun--you also want an enriching learning environment that will help prepare them for success when they go back to school. At the same time, you want them to experience the freedom and fun of the summer months. What could be better than STEM activities that kids are genuinely interested in? When you pull out these great activities, your kids will jump at the chance to play with them again.

Activity #1: Paper Plate Marble Mazes

Want to get your kids thinking creatively and watch them having a blast? With a paper plate and a few more basic craft materials, you can craft these amazing paper plate marble mazes. Let them work through each others' mazes for hours of added fun!

Activity #2: Construct a Straw Roller Coaster

With just a few straws, a hot glue gun, and a ping-pong ball, your kids can construct a fun straw roller coaster that will allow a ping-pong ball to go on an incredible adventure! If your kids are still young, they may need a little extra help with the hot glue gun in order to prevent burned fingers.

Activity #3: Create a Newspaper Fort

You might not have newspapers delivered to your home anymore, but chances are, you know someone who does. Get them to save newspaper for you for a little while, then turn your kids loose with some tape, a stapler, and the newspaper. Before you know it, you'll have an awesome fort that your kids will be eager to play in all summer long. As an added bonus, if it's damaged, you'll know exactly how to put it back together again!

Activity #4: Do the Egg Drop Challenge

Do you remember using materials to cushion the fall of an egg when you were a kid? Do you remember that sense of delight if your egg survived--or the crushing sense of disappointment if you weren't one of the lucky ones? Let your kids explore with a variety of materials to see what will help their eggs survive. Since you're doing it at home, it's not a one-time challenge; instead, they'll be able to do it over and over again!

Activity #5: Explore Tensile Bubbles

There's nothing that gets kids excited like bubbles--even older kids. By constructing fun three-dimensional geometric shapes, you can create fun new bubbles that will be sure to catch their interest. Take your bubble play to the next level and let your kids learn at the same time!

Activity #6: Construct Paper Building Blocks

Sure, you probably already have a ton of blocks and other building materials around the house. Those materials, however, pale in comparison to building blocks that your kids have created themselves! Give them the chance to put together fun paper building blocks and watch them light up as they construct a variety of fun structures.

Activity #7: Design a Bottle Rocket

Kids love things that fly, explode, and "blast off"--and these great bottle rockets will do exactly that. The blogger who originally posted the tutorial noted that their bottle rocket flew higher than her house! Your kids will have a blast launching the rocket in your back yard over and over again.

Activity #8: Take the Toothpick and Play Dough Challenge

If your kids are learning about shapes or construction, the toothpick and play dough challenge is a great way to get them thinking and encourage them to explore creatively. Let them start with the challenge cards provided, then urge them to move forward and create their own great structures.

Activity #9: Build a Cup Tower

Have a stack of plastic cups sitting around after a party? Challenge your kids to build the tallest tower out of just those cups. What design is easy to stack? What will bring the tower crashing down?

Activity #10: Tin Foil Boat

Can your kids construct a boat using just aluminum foil that will not only float, but carry pennies as well? Which child can construct the boat that can handle the most weight? This fun challenge uses only a few simple materials, so you can enjoy it any time throughout the summer.

The summer months don't have to be void of educational activities. Instead of letting your kids hit the dreaded summer slide or, worse, hearing them complain repeatedly of boredom, try some of these great STEM activities.

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