National STEM Day Activities

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Today is National STEM day!  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or STEM, has been incorporated into preschool, elementary, and high school curricula in recent years to bring more awareness to these principles with students from a younger age.   Here are some STEM activities you can do at home with the kids as well as some places in Orlando to check out.

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National STEM Day Activities

Here are fun activities to do with the kids for STEM Day both in and out of the house.

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Local Places to Visit

Here are some local places that are celebrating National STEM Day.

WonderWorks will be celebrating National STEM Day by hosting science labs for kids. The labs are spread throughout the WonderWorks building and are included with admission. Kids will get to explore different scientific concepts including temperature and density.  The labs will be located near similar exhibits in order to show kids the science behind the exhibit.

Main Event
In honor of National STEM Day, Main Event is offering its unique STEAM curriculum from 3PM to 6PM today. It is free for all walk-in guests. They are also offering a small taste of Play Academy With any bowling purchase, customers will have the opportunity to try out the Play Academy Bowling Lab, where the data they collect will demonstrate how the scientific method can be an informative tool for many challenges – even perfecting bowling skills. Following the completion of the bowling lab, customers will also be able to participate in more scientific experiments including DIY tie-dying T-shirt activity or a DIY ice cream creation… and yes, even the parents get to make a sundae!

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Experiments To Do at Home

Here are different experiments that you can do at home with the kiddos

Cloud in a Jar
Cloud in a Jar is a fun way to teach children about waterspouts and cycles, as well as condensation.  Simply pour hot water in the jar and mix it around until the sides of the jar warm up.  Place a lid on the jar and then some ice cubes on top of the lid.  Leave it for about 20 seconds then remove the lid.  Spray a little hairspray in the jar, replace the lid, then watch as the clouds form in the jar!

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Crystal Wonder
Ever wondered how to grow your own Crystal Wonder in a jar?  Here’s how!  Using Epsom salts and food coloring, mix equal amounts of Epsom salt and hot water in a glass jar.  Add food coloring to the crystals then put the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours.  When you check on it, you’ll have your crystal wonder!

Elephant Toothpaste
You can’t make this stuff up! Actually, you can make this stuff!  Elephant Toothpaste is a giant foaming experiment that looks like a tube of toothpaste big enough for an elephant.  Parental supervision and safety goggles are both recommended for this activity.  With just a few ingredients, your child can wow friends and family alike!

Fibonacci Numbers
Fibonacci numbers are mathematical patterns that are found in nature.  While it is not a complex idea to grasp, the concept of Fibonacci numbers is taught mostly in elementary schools and higher learning. One of the simpler ways to teach this concept is for children to count the spirals of a sunflower or a pinecone.

Ice Cream in a Bag
Who doesn’t love ice cream?  It’s even better when it is homemade!  Although Ice Cream in a Bag has a few more ingredients that the other activities listed, the outcome is just as fun.  This is a great way to introduce children to the chemistry behind the making of their favorite treat.  We recommend parental supervision while creating this STEM activity as there are many ingredients to this fun project.

Jellybean Building Blocks
Have extra candy and not sure what to do with it?  Create the perfect STEM activity with jellybeans.  Making Jellybean Building Blocks are pretty easy and provide hours of fun using only jellybeans, toothpicks, and your child’s imagination.  Your child will learn about creating structures and the concept of structural engineering.

Magnetic Slime
With this project, you get two for the price of one!  Magnetic Slime is a great science project and fidget in one.  Once you make the slime, adding iron oxide to the mix will give the slime a metallic quality that makes it react with strong powered magnets.  Children will have so much fun watching the slime move as it is drawn to the magnet.  Pretty cool!

Pipe Cleaner Counting
This is a great STEM math introduction project for little ones just learning to count.  The Pipe Cleaner Counting Game gives children a visual aid in learning number value and one to one correspondence.  Using simple items like pipe cleaners, glue, beads, and markers, children just learning to count will have fun while doing math.  We suggest parental supervision while creating this STEM activity as there are small parts used in this game.

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Sticky Note Number Match
This is a great game for preschoolers and young elementary school children.  The Sticky Note Number Match game gets kiddos moving and includes math too.  it is pretty simple to create using sticky notes, white butcher paper, painter’s tape, and markers all the while introducing your child to math concepts and number stories.

The Paper Chain Challenge
This is a STEM twist on a classic children’s art activity.  For The Paper Chain Challenge, give your child (and maybe a couple of friends or siblings) a piece of 8.5 x 11 paper and pose the following question – “Who can make the longest paper chain from a single piece of paper?”  Give the children at least 15 – 20 minutes to create then at the end of the challenge, ask the children open ended questions about their creation.  Give them a chance to explain their design, what they think could have made it better, and for them to offer a conclusion for their creation.

Shows to Watch

Here are some fun STEM shows to watch with the kids.

Emily’s Wonder Lab

On Emily’s Wonder Lab, the host Emily makes STEAM fun for kids with different activities and experiments that can be recreated at home. Each episode is only 12 minutes making them the perfect length to hold your kiddo’s attention.

On Oh Yuck!, Dr. Septico examines the science behind gross things like sewage, slime, snot and passing gas. If your kids didn’t like science before, they will definitely love it now.

On It’s Okay to be Smart, kids can learn about different science topics. Each video clocks in at 10 minutes for less.

On National Geographic Kids, they cover interesting topics such as weird but true, how things work and the truth behind things and more.

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