With STEM learning not being part of the primary national curriculum in England, it’s never been more important to try and incorporate STEM activities at home. With science being a fun place to start, encouraging an interest at home will not only enhance your child’s critical thinking skills, but will also boost their future career prospects. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2024 around 2.5 million jobs will require science, engineering, and technology skills. Here’s some interesting STEM activities for your kids to try out and hopefully spark an interest in all things science!
1.The Classic Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano
This classic yet simple experiment is all about chemical reactions and a great place to start when trying to spark an interest in science. The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzy overflow, which makes carbon dioxide turn into gas. Just be sure to watch the delight on your child’s face as the volcano erupts!
- 1/4 cup vinegar (up to a cup if you have a large bottle)
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- Place the vinegar in the bottle using a small funnel.
- Add the baking soda into the vinegar as fast as you can.
- Stand back and watch the volcano erupt.
2. Make A DIY Lava Lamp
This super interesting DIY lava lamp activity demonstrates how different substances react in specific ways when used together and really teaches your kids a lot about chemical reactions. Even better, all you need is a few simple household ingredients such as baking soda, oil, vinegar and food colouring as well as a recycled jar. It’s certainly a fun way to spend an afternoon!
For full instructions, click here.
3. Turn Milk Into Plastic
Your child might be surprised to learn that plastic can be made out of milk! From the early 1900s until around 1945, milk was often used to make many different plastic ornaments, including buttons, beads, pens, combs and much more. Otherwise known as casein plastic, it was even used to make jewellery for Queen Mary of England. Let your child have a go at making their own casein plastic from hot milk and vinegar with this fun science based activity.
For full instructions, click here.
4. Invisible Ink With Lemons
Making and using invisible ink is a lot of fun- your kids might even want to pretend they’re a secret agent and write out secret messages to you. All you need is some basic household objects and the hidden power of lemon juice.
- Half a lemon
- Cotton bud
- White paper
- Lamp or another light source
- Squeeze some lemon juice into the bowl and add a few drops of water.
- Mix the water and lemon juice with the spoon.
- Dip the cotton bud into the mixture and get your child to write their message onto the white paper.
- Wait for the juice to dry so it becomes completely invisible.
- When your kids are ready they can heat the paper by holding it close to a light bulb, revealing their invisible message!
5. Make Your Own Bouncy Balls
If there’s going to be one STEM activity that’s sure to help your child spark an interest in science, then it’s making a batch of colourful bouncy balls from scratch! This fun experiment explores polymer science, using just a few household ingredients. By the end your kids will not only have learned something new but will also have a multi-use substance- they’ll be able to squish it, mould it or bounce it!
For full activity instructions, click here.
6. Bake A Cake!
Baking is a great hands-on STEM activity for you and your kids to enjoy together. In fact, baking is an endothermic reaction, meaning the reacting material (the cake batter) absorbs the heat from the oven to form something new (a cake). It also really shows the importance of chemical processes and how the raising agent (bicarbonate of soda) works with another ingredient such as milk to trigger a reaction and make the batter rise. This is an example of the reaction of an acid to an alkaline substance. You also get to eat cake at the end too, so it’s definitely a winner!
For more information on baking and science, this blog post has some great information. Click here for some child friendly baking recipes.
Other STEM Activity Resources