10 STEM ACTIVITIES YOUR KIDS WILL ACTUALLY LOVE
What is STEM and how can we get our kids into it? By Sahar Meghani
STEM is all the rage in the kids’ arena, but what does it mean and where do we start? Well *pours drink* STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and, in a world shaped constantly by innovations in these fields, it has never been more important to cultivate a love of learning them in our kids.
Sahar Meghani and her Trunkaroo team of experts (more on them later) have selected their favourite products, magazines, resources and activities for you to introduce STEM-inspired thinking into playtime, and it’s not as tricky as you think...
1. The Dad Lab
Picture the scene: It’s a raining outside, no plans in place and a bored child is looking at you expectantly for entertainment. You need some Dad Lab in your life! The Dad Lab is a YouTube channel created by Sergei Urban, a stay-at-home dad of two little boys. It is bursting with bite-size videos of easy-to-replicate crafts, developmental activities and science experiments.
2. Science story book
Bedtime reading is a great opportunity to blend STEM ideas with imaginative storytelling. We love the personalised ‘Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home’ book from Lostmy.Name, which features a real satellite image of the recipient’s house - so cool it’s not creepy.
3. Babble Dabble Do
Blogs are an expansive and valuable resource for all areas of life, and STEM for kids is no exception. One of the best is Babble Dabble Do by American Ana Dziengel. Her website is full of creative projects and activities that all link into the areas of science, engineering, art and design. Sound complicated? It isn’t, the projects are all designed to use up stuff you’ll have lying around at home.
4. Engineering tales
We have a serious book crush on the beautifully-illustrated series of STEM-inspired storybooks by Andrea Beaty. ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer’, ‘Ada Twist, Scientist’ and ‘Iggy Peck, Architect’ follow the adventures of three friends with curious tendencies and a passion for STEM subjects. It is particularly refreshing to see books casting girls as engineers and scientists.
5. STEM-inspired UK day trips
Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham (above) offers hands-on exhibits and displays that will get the whole family buzzing about science and technology. Our favourite part was exploding a rock face in the Earth pavilion. BOOM! Mini Engineers host a wonderful array of Lego camps and Lego workshops in various locations around London (https://mini-engineers.com/). Also,
The Institute of Imagination on the Albert Embankment in London is one to watch! Currently in development stages, it aims to establish itself as a community centre of learning and curiosity for children, much like a hybrid of a museum, gallery, and laboratory.
There are some awesome STEM-inspired magazines for kids on the market. Okido is a colourful, graphically stimulating magazine that aims to awaken creativity and scientific interest. Aquila has the 8-12 year old age range covered, with a visually-inspiring magazine covering topics such as science, history and general knowledge.
7. Coding toys
Over the last couple of years, a few innovative companies have begun to produce toys that allow children to interact with technology without losing the value of hands-on play. The Kano computer building kit is crazy cool while Osmo’s integration of physical blocks with the iPad is actually quite addictive.
8. The Science Museum
School holidays and weekends often require a higher level of excitement to capture the attention of little learners. The Science Museum in London has, perhaps predictably, got a shedload of STEM attractions for kids: the Wonderlab is a scientific playground filled with live experiments, science shows and explorative activities, whilst the Pattern Pod and Sound Garden are multi-sensory, interactive galleries for little explorers.
9. STEM Activity Books
We adore the Engineering Activity Book from a series called STEM Starters for Kids. The colourful pages are brimming with engaging puzzles, quizzes, facts, activities and games to keep children entertained and busy learning!
10. Trunkaroo’s creative STEM kits for 3-8 year olds
Last but not least: us! One thing’s for sure, parents are super busy and time-poor. We know that it’s not always possible for you to put together, shop for, plan and do creative and educational projects with your children. After talking to more than 300 parents we found a real need in the market for highly curated, educational projects which were also delightful for children and convenient for parents. So we decided to fill the gap and started Trunkaroo. We make gender-neutral, fun and engaging art and STEM project kits for 3-8 year olds. You can buy trunks as one-off presents for birthday and special occasions or subscribe to a monthly plan and receive all the materials and inspiration for children to do a variety of hands-on activities including art, science, games and imaginative play. Our award-winning STEM projects are reviewed by early childhood experts and tested by real kids to ensure that they are developmentally appropriate and universally appealing. We are on a mission to inspire all children to become mini-makers, scientists, inventors and overall tech-superstars - join us!