Summer STEM Learning Guide

By Heather Smith

Timely topics
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The first thing my kids want to do when school is out for the summer is “veg”. That means television, video games, and plain old comatose activities.

I’ll admit I allow time for activities like those, but to combat summer learning loss I also try to fill their free time with activities that are fun (and they have no clue they are really learning anything).

With these fun and easy summer STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities, they will be entertained and hopefully retain their school year skills over the summer (and maybe even learn a little more, too).

  1. Paper Math Games: Remember the “cootie catchers” we used to make in elementary school? Easily turn those into paper math games to make reviewing math facts a little more fun.
  2. Chromatography Butterfly Craft: With simple items like coffee filters and non-permanent markers and pipe cleaners your kids can have fun making butterflies while watching the various pigments in markers separate!
  3. Educational Science Apps for iOS: While you want to engage with your children over the summer, there will always be those times when they just want to “veg” with their iPad. This list of educational games leaves me with a little less “mom guilt”… they are learning while having screen time!
  4. Building Projects for Kids: While building with the typical LEGO is fun, my own children grow tired of using the same materials. I found this list of 17 Unique Materials for Building and Creating to be inspiring!
  5. 20+ Home Science Projects: I found this post on accident, but immediately bookmarked it. With fun experiments like learning how plants absorb water, making magic aqua sand, making rock candy and making your own bouncy balls I have a long list of ideas to keep the kids brains active while filing some free time (like on rainy days!)
  6. Innovative Coding Apps:  I found this list while hunting for coding Apps for my own children. With over 15 apps to choose from you have everything from introducing your children to coding and programming to creating simple APIs.
  7. Create Your Own Ecosystem: My kids love to grow things. Anything really. If it’s a seed, it goes in the dirt. Take this a step further and discuss what your plant needs to grow and how this little ecosystem does all the work!
  8. 10 Fun Math Games for Kids: From sums of ten, addition, place value, odd and even and multiplication… there’s a game for it.
  9. Paper Bridge: A little science experiment for kids for you to do at home, that explores the strength of materials as well as construction.
  10. Calculator Games: Whether you like them or not, calculators are here to stay. Why not stimulate their minds into thinking while using a calculator to find an answer to a problem or riddle? You’ll find 15+ fun activities on this site.

If none of these are catching your eye, you can always head into Sylvan Learning for their EDGE camps this summer, where your children can learn about robotics and coding among other subjects!

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