By Becc Lester-Beam, Community Outreach Coordinator at Seminole Science Charter School
Whether your child is participating in virtual schooling or you’re simply out of ideas to keep them entertained on the weekends, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities are an excellent way to keep students engaged and learning. While we may not feel it here in Central Florida, September 22 marked the first day of Fall. Here are some fun STEM activities your family can do at home to help usher in this new season.
Take a bite out of LEGO apples.
LEGOs are easy to build with and offer simple lessons in math and engineering. Invite your child to use red, green and yellow bricks to create two-dimensional apple shapes. Don’t forget brown and green for the stem and leaf. If your child is a LEGO master, challenge them to build a 3-D apple with a rounded shape for a masterpiece that looks good enough to eat.
Document unique leaf rubbings.
Head outside and ask your child to collect some dried leaves off the ground. Encourage them to find leaves in different sizes and shapes. Set the leaves on a hard surface and place a piece of thin sheet of paper (such as wax paper, tracing paper or parchment paper) on top. Have your kids rub over the paper with a crayon, revealing the unique markings. Compare and contrast all your leaf rubbings, then sit with your child at the computer and try to identify what trees your leaves came from based on your online research.
Build apple toothpick towers.
This is a fun twist on the usual toothpick and gumdrop/marshmallow activity. Grab some toothpicks and carefully slice up a few apples into smaller building blocks. Stick an apple piece on both ends of a toothpick and help your child build a 3-D structure. See who can build the tallest structure using the fewest number of apples or team up for a family design challenge. Don’t forget to turn the apples you don’t use into a yummy, healthy snack afterwards.
Learning and exploratory-based activities like these are a great alternative to TV and toys. The next time your child seems bored at home, consider a STEM activity to improve their critical thinking skills and, most importantly, have fun as a family.