9 of the Best Summer STEM Activities for Kids

Summer's here, and it's time for kids to kick back, relax, and have some fun! But, that doesn't mean learning stops. By including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities into their summer routines, kids can keep their brains engaged and have a blast at the same time.

These STEM activities for kids aren't just about reinforcing what they learned in school. They're also a great way to promote critical thinking, creativity, and a love of learning. And, let's be honest, who doesn't love making slime or finding out what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar?

A little girl in a pink shirt wears purple glasses and looks up at STEM illustrations around her

What is STEM?

STEM education places an emphasis on science, tech, engineering, and math. It’s all about getting our kids ready for the opportunities and challenges of the future.

STEM teaches kids how to think for themselves and solve problems. STEM gives kids the chance to tackle real-world problems, which helps them learn skills like analyzing, evaluating, and problem-solving.

STEM also allows kids to explore their interests and come up with their own solutions to become more innovative and entrepreneurial, which is key in a world where technology is always changing. You might also see the acronym STEAM, which incorporates the arts.

But STEM isn't just about being smart; it's also about getting ready for the job market. By giving your child a strong foundation in STEM subjects, you’re setting them up for success in careers like science, tech, engineering, and healthcare. And even if they don't enter a STEM field, the skills they learn will be valuable in any industry.

By giving your child access to different STEM-related subjects, they will start to understand how different disciplines are connected. For example, math and music. And it's not just about knowledge. STEM also helps kids work together, communicate better, and gain confidence in themselves.

Learning Continues During the Summer

The summer months are a great time for children to continue their learning journey. Unfortunately, research has shown that students who do not engage in educational activities during the summer often experience learning loss, particularly in math and reading.

This phenomenon, known as the "summer slide" can have an impact on a child's academic achievement over time. STEM activities can help decrease the summer slide by providing children with engaging and enriching learning experiences that reinforce the concepts they learned during the academic school year.

A child digs a yellow spoon into a plastic container filled with blue rice

Keeping Your Kid’s Attention

Keeping children engaged and interested in STEM activities is essential for promoting sustained learning. Need a few tips?

Make it fun! Incorporate hands-on, interactive activities that allow children to explore and experiment. If your child needs a break from an activity, put it down and come back to it later.

Present a variety of activities.
Offer a range of activities that are about different interests and learning styles. Try new things. Redo activities your child loves.

Encourage your kids to collaborate.
Pull together siblings or friends and try these activities as a group. Encourage children to work together, developing skills for teamwork and social interaction.

Create real-world connections.
Relate STEM activities to real-world scenarios, making learning more meaningful. These subjects are all around us and to young minds, even small connections are especially interesting and important to learn.

Give positive reinforcement. 
Celebrate children's efforts and achievements, boosting their confidence and motivation. It's not about achieving a certain result. Take the pressure off and praise them for completing the activity.

Practice Color Mixing

Your child will be mixing art and science while mixing colors. With a few basic art supplies that you probably already have in your cupboard, they’ll test their own hypotheses about what colors will make others.

Grow Seeds Together

What better way to learn about plants than to grow them? Just like people, plants need water, light, and food. With this activity, your child can sprout seeds and actually see the roots grow!

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Dissect Flowers

Head to the backyard and find a flower. Listen to your child’s questions. How does a flower grow? Why does it have that thing? How does a flower get food? What do leaves do? With supervision, your child can carefully take apart a flower to learn more about the plant, reproduction, and how the plant sustains itself.

Sink or Float?

This one is perhaps the easiest to pull together at a moment’s notice on this list, but it’s not lacking in fun! Your kid will learn about density with this simple activity. All you need is a large bowl, a piece of paper, and any items lying around the house that your child is interested in seeing if they will sink or float.

Dye Celery

What do humans and celery have in common? They both have a circulatory system! This activity encourages observation skills as the dye climbs up the stalk of celery, changing the color of the leaves.

Paint with Bubbles

Bubble painting encourages problem-solving skills and fine motor skills. With this activity, you’re providing your child the opportunity to experiment, flex their creative muscles, and have some fun.

Write Secret Messages

Oil and water don’t mix. That’s what your kid will learn when they write a hidden message with a white crayon and paint over it with watercolors. The science behind the secret letter crayon resistance activity: Oil and water don’t mix because each contains molecules that will not mix with the other.

Mix Up Slime

Call it whatever you like: gak, flubber, gluep, glurch, or slime. No matter the name, it’s a sensory craft that helps your child learn to measure quantities. Making gak is a rite of passage for a kid. They won’t even know that they’re learning about the properties of matter while they’re at it!

Want to give your kid the gift of hands-on learning this summer? Start with Subscription Box Kids that get mailed straight to you and help them become the future innovators and problem-solvers they're destined to be!

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