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20 STEM Activities perfect for your child and home

By Anitra

 

This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

 

Are you intrigued how the latest ideas are being created?  How Elon Musk, Owner of Tesla Inc. came up with the fully electric vehicle and the world’s first fully electric semi-truck?  Ever wonder how a 3-D printer was made?  I know I am curious and downright fascinated by the inventions that have taken over our world in recent years.  Without showing my age, I remember being in high school and the technological innovations that were all the rage were the world wide web, DVD’s, and the Prius; the first mass-produced hybrid was introduced!! Isn’t that crazy?!

With everything we do being so technologically based, it is no wonder that STEM is becoming one of the fastest growing educational programs out there.  All the newest advances, all the newest ideas and all the newest breakthroughs are science, engineering and technologically based.

 

In order to keep up with the technology of the world, it is important to introduce these types of activities, skills, and thinking to children.  STEM has slowly made its way into the mainstream public school system, but has had a place in private schools, Charter Schools and alternative schools around the country.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the goal of STEM is to provide opportunities for the youth to thrive “where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know and have the skills and knowledge to solve tough problems, gather & evaluate evidence, and make sense of information”.

Children must be exposed to situations in which they can learn, develop and use the skills necessary to compete in our ever changing world.  I have compiled a list of 20 STEM activities that you can incorporate in your classroom or home to give them exposure to these objectives.  The activities are geared for children three years of age and older.  Due to small parts/objects, these activities are not intended for use with children under three years of age.

**Important note: an item search from any of the links will take you to the desired product**

Item descriptions courtesy of discountschoolsupply.com.  Used with permission.

 

20 STEM Activities for your child and home

 

1. Exploring Circuitry Light Blocks

Item #LSTAX

Explore circuitry and creativity through illuminating open-ended play! Using LED technology, each block lights up when connected to the base or another lit block. A glowing introduction to engineering and STEM.

 

2. Primary Science Color Mixer

Item #COLMIX

Let’s mix some color up and experiment!

 

3. Tornado Tube

 

Item #TORN

Tornado Tube employs hydraulic principles to create the vortex of a tornado within a bottle. Connect 2 empty plastic soft drink bottles together, fill one of the bottles 2/3 full with water, turn it over, spin, and watch the tornado appear.

 

4. Rainforest Cloud Biome Kit

Item #RAINFST

Grow your own tropical rainforest in this unique planter! Rain swirls on top of containers help regulate where water falls to maintain the best conditions for your plants to flourish.

 

5. Solar Building Windmill

Item #SUNMILL

Easy build-it-yourself windmill powered by the sun!

 

6. Brilliant Builders

Item #STRAW

Make structures big enough to sit in or as small as a shoe box.

 

7. Blue Sands Alive

Item #COLSABL

A soothing sensory experience

 

8. Snappy Sticks Building Set

Item #SNAPSTIX

Imaginative open-ended hands-on fun!

 

9. How Long Is It? Measuring Tape

Item #BIGM

This oversized measuring tape is scaled in inches and centimeters. With a large carrying handle, rewind knob with a clicking action, and a 36″ tape, young children will find it easy to manipulate and learn the skill of measuring.

 

10. Platform Scale

 

Item #SCALE

See and compare weights and measurements. Easy to read and accurate with metric and standard English display. Scale measures liquids and solids in the removable pan.

 

11. Height and Depth Measuring Blocks

Item #DEPTH

A unique way to learn about both height and depth!

 

12. STEM Exploring Engineering Set

Item #STEMSY

STEM learning made simple! Introduce and explore all 6 simple machines as you make amazing discoveries, design solutions for real-world problems and conduct your own investigations.

 

13. Hydroponics Lab

Item #H2OGROW

Investigate the hidden magic of plant roots!

 

14. Botany Lab Experimental Greenhouse

Item #BOTANY

Students learn about plants and seeds by conducting experiments in a specially-designed botanical laboratory with greenhouse domes.

 

15. STEM Force and Motion Discovery Set

Item #FORCE

Design engineering challenges with this exclusive STEM set! Discover science concepts while predicting, measuring, collecting and comparing data.

 

16. Classroom Measurement Set

Item #MEASURE

Children can practice customary capacities, liquid measurement and metric conversions with this set.

 

17. Smartcar Logic Puzzle

Item #SMARTCAR

Challenge kids to build a car with 5 different blocks in this unique logic game!

 

18. Number Tower

Item #NUMTOWER

Select a number block then stack the cubes, counting each as you go – it’s fun to learn about numbers! 22 pieces total, numerous ways to use, self explanatory with lines indicating cube spaces on the back of each number block.

 

19. Jenga

Item #JENGA

The original wood block stacking game!

 

20. Root-Vue Farm

Item #ROOT

Watch carrots, radishes and onions take form before your eyes through a sturdy, styrofoam surround with break-proof acrylic viewing window. Complete instructions plus tested experiments.

 

STEM Related Books

 

1.Our Physical World Books-5Titles

Item #EBOOKS

The perfect introduction to physical science. Easy to understand explanations of how basic physical principles of science relate to our world.  Titles in set include: All About Matter, Electricity All Around, Learning About Rocks, A Look at Magnets and Soil Basics

 

2. Science Vocabulary Books-4 Titles

Item #NATWORLD

Explore nature from the smallest insects to the tallest trees!  Includes these titles: Learning About Animals, Learning About Trees, Learning About Insects, Learning About Plants

 

3. Weather Watchers Books-6 Titles

Item #TWISTER

Young readers fascinated by the changing skies can focus on different types of weather and its causes.  Titles Included: Clouds, Lightning, Rain, Snow, Sunshine, Thunder, Wind

 

4. How Do You Measure? 4 Titles

Item #MEABKS

Learn about measuring units and picking the right tools.  Titles Included: How Do You Measure Weight?, How Do You Measure Liquids?, How Do You Measure Time?, How Do You Measure Length and Distance?

 

These activities and books are meant to be an introduction to STEM education.  Giving children the opportunity to engage in hands on learning is important and imperative to the future of science, technology, engineering, and math.

 

I have found a few new activities from this post that I will be incorporating into my classroom.  I hope that you are able to find and add some of these interesting, fun, exciting activities to your environment as well!

 

Enjoy!

 

Anitra

 

 

Sensorial

Fun & easy to make Flubber!

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

Young children benefit greatly from sensory experiences.  They use their senses to explore and discover the world around them.  Exposing children to tactile activities helps with the growth in physcial abilities, cognitive and language skills, and social and emotional development as well.  Tactile experiences are sometimes overlooked when educators prepare early childhood environments, but the importance of sensory/tactile experiences is something that should not be left out of a young child’s everyday learning activities.

There are many ways to add sensory/tactile experiences to your curriculum; playdough, water tables, sand tables, and shaving cream are just a few.  There are endless everyday items that can be used as sensory experiences for young children.

 

Looking for a fun and easy activity to add a tactile activity to your homeschool or classroom curriculum?  Make Flubber!

Flubber. Slime. Putty. Whatever you’d like to call it, it’s fun, ooey, gooey and is super easy to make!  There’s just one rule to making flubber…get your hands in it! Smush it, mush, squish it with your hands so that you can make sure it gets mixed well.  All you need is  three simple items, and you can make flubber in no time.  You will definitely be a hit with your own children or children in your classroom.

 

I have made this particular flubber for many, many years.  It is always a favorite in my classroom.  You can use cookie cutters with it, cut it, roll it, or spread it out…whatever you’d like!  It adds a little different element to tactile learning than playdough, and it is just as fun!  Below are the simple and easy steps to making your own flubber.

 

Making Flubber

 

Materials needed:

Purex Sta-Flo Liquid Starch

Elmer’s School Glue

Colorations Washable Tempera Paint (any color)

Bowl

1 cup measuring spoon

1 teaspooon measuring spoon

Silicone spatula (optional)

 

                      

 

 

STEP ONE:

Measure out 1 cup of Purex Sta-Flo Liquid Starch into the measuring spoon.  Pour into the bowl.

 

                           

 

STEP TWO:

Measure 1 cup of Elmer’s School Glue into the measuring spoon.  Pour into bowl with liquid starch.

 

 

STEP THREE:

Measure 2 teaspoons of Colorations Washable Tempera Paint into the mixture in the bowl.  (I chose orange to go with the Fall theme).

 

                    

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:

Using spatula and or your hand, mix everything together.  Keep mixing until all of the liquid starch, glue, and paint are blended well.

               

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:

Next, take the flubber mixture and place it into a ziploc bag.  It is normal for it to be very wet and stringy, so don’t worry.  Once it is in the bag, you can mix it a little more by squishing it and mushing it.

 

 

The flubber will need time to sit and form.  You will need to let it sit for at least a few hours, maybe longer.  You want it to not be super wet, and for all of the liquid starch and glue to be as one.  If it is still stringy and really wet, let it sit for awhile longer.  Keep the flubber stored in the ziploc bag in between uses.  Flubber lasts anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on how often it is used.  Use your discretion on if you feel the flubber should be thrown out.

 

Flubber is an easy, fun, and simple way that you can add a great tactile element to your curriculum.  It’s awesome for adults too!!

 

Enjoy!

Anitra

 

 

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Sensorial

Knobless Cylinders-A twist on a Montessori classic

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

The Montessori classroom has different areas that each have a different focus.  The Sensorial Area of a Montessori classroom introduces concepts that focus on all five of the child’s senses.  The purpose of the work in the Sensorial Area is to assist and prepare children to be logical, perceptive, and aware of their environment and world.  It teaches such concepts as discrimination and order; visual discrimination in differences of dimension, width, length, size and color.  Tactile works are used to determine variations in roughness and smoothness, just as in the works that determine varying tones using their auditory sense.  Other works narrow in on the gustation or the ways in which we determine the basic of taste.  There are many Sensorial works that focus on just one of the senses, where many of the works encompasses two or more of the senses.  Like any of the other areas in a Montessori classroom, the works are placed and introduced in developing order; from concrete to abstract; and from simple to complex.

I have decided to discuss one of the “classic” Montessori Sensorial activities.  The Knobless Cylinders are a staple in a true, authentic Montessori classroom.  The work consists of four wooden boxes; each with a different colored lid.  The colors of each box are red, yellow, green, and blue. Each box contains a set of ten cylinders in the designated colors. The red box contains red wooden cylinders that vary in diameter.  The yellow box contains yellow wooden cylinders that vary in height and diameter.  The green box contains green wooden cylinders that vary from height and diameter.  The blue box contains blue wooden cylinders that vary in diameter.

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of the Knobless Cylinders is to determine the differences in similar shapes.  It also helps with hand eye coordination and small motor skills.  I choose to add a bit of a “twist” to this classic Montessori work, and have added felt mats to use for each box.  I found inexpensive felt mats in the corresponding colors, and when I introduced this work initially, I included the felt mat.

I personally feel that it gives the child another way of keeping their work area tidy, and keeps things nice and orderly.  They must take each of the items to their rug individually, and begin with unrolling the felt mat first.  They then open the box, and place it on top of the lid. they may then choose to order the cylinders, use the control cards, or build a tower.  Once they are done with the work, they must take each of the items to the shelf individually, and make sure to roll up the felt mat as well.

I came across these felt mat years ago, and have used them faithfully ever sense.  Sometimes, I find that it is ok to add to the Montessori works; as long as it is not a distraction or takes away from the purpose of the work.  As long as the children enjoy using them as well, there is nothing wrong with adding a little fun and variety to a classic Montessori work.

Anitra

 

 

 

 

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