What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym used to describe science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects. This acronym is often used to clump these subjects together because of their similarities in hard skills and career paths. In education, many curriculum plans combine these subjects into cross-curricular lessons to increase student comprehension and retention.
Benefits of Outdoor Learning
Having your children or students participate in outdoor STEM activities is beneficial for their educational success and mental health. Outdoor STEM lessons often incorporate active learning and hands-on methods that allow children to move their bodies. These education techniques have been linked to improved test scores and information recall. Outdoor STEM activities also give students the freedom and flexibility needed to exercise and improve their 21st century skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.
Outdoor STEM Activities for Kids
This article includes a compilation of five (5) easy to implement outdoor STEM activities that will pique your child’s or student’s interest in STEM to help improve their STEM literacy.
Little Bins Little Hands Bug House for Kids
Outdoor STEM Activity Details: Little Bins Little Hands created an engaging long-term outdoor STEM activity to get children excited about learning. Using a handful of common household and outdoor items, children will use their creativity to design their own bug hotel. After they finish the build, they will wait days and/or weeks to see a variety of bugs that begin to live in their structure – this can be anything from spiders to beetles. This outdoor STEM activity introduces children to earth science and is a great way to help them gain experience in making observations.
STEM Focus Area: Science and Engineering
Science Buddies DIY Sundial
Outdoor STEM Activity Details: Sundials are used to tell time based on sunlight and sun positioning in the sky. During the Science Buddies DIY Sundial outdoor STEM activity, children are tasked with creating and using a sundial. This activity is the perfect introduction to engineering and the engineering design process (EDP) as children work to create a functional sundial. Once the sundial is functional, children will be able to continue practicing their skills in reading by using the sundial over an extended period of time.
STEM Focus Area: Engineering and Mathematics
KidPillar Homemade Bubbles
Outdoor STEM Activity Details: The KidPillar Homemade Bubbles is a great introductory STEM activity for children. The bubbles require minimal ingredients, which makes them the perfect option for at-home learning, after school programs, summer camps, or the classroom. When making their bubbles, children are learning introductory chemistry concepts they will use throughout their education. Once this outdoor STEM activity is complete, children can stay outside and play with their bubbles. This activity is a great way to improve a child’s STEM literacy and create a positive connotation with STEM classes and lessons.
STEM Focus Area: Science
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls Bottle Rocket
Outdoor STEM Activity Details: The Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls Bottle Rocket is an easy to implement STEM lesson for children. Children are transformed into engineers during the build phase as they create their own bottle rocket using 6-10 materials. Once the bottle rocket is created, children go outside to set up their launch pad and send their rocket into the air. This outdoor STEM activity is mentally stimulating and will get children excited about learning. Throughout this disguised learning experience, children are strengthening their science and engineering skills, all while thinking they are playing and having fun!
STEM Focus Area: Science and Engineering
STEM Sports® Playing with Precision
Outdoor STEM Activity Details: STEM Sports® Playing with Precision is an easy to implement outdoor STEM activity that requires minimal equipment and materials. In this lesson, students measure accuracy and precision by determining percent success and percent error. Students then explain how the amount of force put on the ball will influence the distance traveled by completing a force diagram. This outdoor STEM activity mixes STEM education and sports to create an active, hands-on lesson perfect for implementation at home, during after school programs, in the classroom, or at summer camps.
STEM Focus Area: Science (Energy Transfer)
STEM with STEM Sports®
STEM Sports® is committed to providing quality STEM education to K-8 students around the world. Part of our goal as a company is to give parents and educators the tools needed to implement STEM lessons with their children or students. In our blogs and newsletters, we report on current STEM trends and give ideas for how to facilitate STEM at varying grade levels.
If you are a parent or educator looking to learn more about STEM education, read these blogs: