6 STEM Toys and Experiments for Outdoor Playtime
Children in school nowadays are being taught many different concepts, even when they are at play. The STEM is one of the largest concepts that children are being taught in school. Science, technology, engineering, and math is the parts of the STEM that teachers are instilling in little minds each day at school. Even when they are outside playing during the nice weather, many classrooms are trying out STEM activities to keep the learning going even while they are at play. Here are six incredible outdoor activities that you can do with your kids to keep the STEM going even at home.
Build with the Outdoors
Part of the STEM is engineering. This particular portion often looks at things like building, which is one activity that you can do outside anytime. Building a sculpture is a fun way to incorporate nature and engineering at the same time. A few ways you can get to building outside are things like:
- Building a structure to hold water
- Building a structure from rocks
- Build something woven
- Build a structure from leaves
- Build a structure from twigs or branches
Building outdoors can include pretty much anything. Have your kids choose their materials and structure design, have a contest, or just try to see who can build the fastest sculpture. No matter what you choose to build, incorporating engineering is a great way to get started on STEM activities.
Cook with the Sun
A great way to incorporate the science portion of the STEM is to create a sun cooker. To do this, you will need several things like tape, aluminum foil, cardboard, plastic wrap, scissors, glue, and more. As you build your cooker, talk to your kids about reflection and insulation, and incorporate how the sun creates heat to make your food cook. You can use something like cheese, chocolate or marshmallows to cook something delicious outside. If you want, you can even cook s’mores outside in a sunny spot. This is a great activity to get kids thinking and building at the same time, making it an ideal STEM activity for the outdoors.
Find the Golden Ratio
The math portion of STEM might seem like a difficult option, but outdoors is a great place to find mathematical things. For instance, you can have your kids look for patterns or shapes in the nature around you. Have them look for a four-leaf clover in a patch of clover if you want. If your children are a little more advanced, you can bring in the “golden ratio,” which is a common mathematical equation. While it might seem complicated, you can find it any pentagram, star, or pentagon shape. Take the activity outdoors by having your kids look for these shapes in nature.
Feed the Butterflies
If you’ve ever seen a hummingbird feeder, then you understand this interesting science concept. Creating a butterfly feeder is a great way to combine science and engineering in one awesome outdoor activity. To make a feeder, you will need a few things like a canning jar with the lid, string, nail, hammer, sponge, scissors, and a sugar solution. If you want, you can bring a few decorative materials so your kids can decorate the feeder how they want before you put it together. Employ their help to put the pieces together and fill the jar with the solution. As you observe the feeder, butterflies will start to show up, enjoying the delicious nectar.
Make a Map
If you have a larger yard with lots of running space, one interesting part of engineering that you can teach your kids is map making. Grab some paper, head outside, and start making a map. You can teach your kids about land maps, landmarks and more. Have them choose a large object, like a shed or a large tree, to be a landmark and encourage them to draw the landmarks on the paper for the map. If you want to take it a step further, you can make it a treasure map and help them bury something they can call treasure.
If you want a fun technological option for your STEM activity, you can go geocaching. Working on your smartphone, all you have to do is download the geocaching app and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your location. The app will give you locations where caches are hidden. Employ the help of your children to find these little-hidden treasures, take them to the place, and have them sign their name or leave an object. It’s like a kid-friendly treasure hunt.