STEAM has grown in popularity in recent years as a way to educate children for the 21st century. Foster a love of STEAM at home with these fun and easy ideas.
STEAM in the Back Yard
Combine learning and fun with these at-home STEAM experiments and activities using materials you probably already have around the house.
Launch a Balloon Rocket: Tie one end of a piece of string to a tree or post. Thread a drinking straw onto the string; tie the other end to another tree at the same height. Put two pieces of tape on the top of the straw. Blow up a balloon, hold the end to keep the air in, and use the tape to adhere it to the straw. Let the balloon go and witness the action and reaction of force.
Paint a Clothesline Masterpiece: Inspire kids to explore, experiment and create with paint. Hang an old sheet over a clothesline or fence; secure each corner with stakes or weights. Use large and small paintbrushes, kitchen sponges, fingers, or even natural objects, like a bundle of evergreen needles, to apply tempera paint.
Make a Sandbox Volcano: Fill a 16 ounce bottle about three-quarters full of water; add a few squirts of dishwashing liquid and 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda. Pack sand around the bottle in a volcano shape, leaving the top open. Pour in a cup of vinegar and experience the chemical reaction!
Shadow Tracking: Study the way shadows change throughout the day. Have your child stand on a sidewalk or driveway on a sunny day. Outline their shadow with chalk. Do this multiple times during the day to see how their shadow changes. Discuss why shadows get taller or shorter in relation to the earth’s movement.
Mix up Elephant Toothpaste: Make a foaming mix big enough for an elephant – but be sure to wear safety goggles and work in an area that can get messy. Pour ½ cup hydrogen peroxide in an empty plastic bottle. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap and a few drops of food coloring and swirl gently to mix. In a separate cup, mix one tablespoon of yeast and three tablespoons of warm water. Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle and step back!
STEAM Out and About
These local museums and attractions do a great job of introducing the concepts of science, technology, engineering, art and math, and how they can be used together to solve challenges in today’s world.
Dedicated to science literacy and education, Fernbank Science Center has a planetarium, an observatory with the largest telescope in the southeastern U.S., live animal displays and an Apollo 6 Command Module exhibit. A variety of special events give students hands-on STEM experiences. As part of the DeKalb County School System, the center is currently closed; check the website for reopening updates.
The museum’s permanent exhibits are a great way to reinforce STEM concepts. In Tools for Solutions, kids can learn about simple machines, create and design. Explore the inner workings of the body, light and energy, technology and more in the Step Up to Science exhibit.
This 120,000 square-foot museum in Cartersville has four interactive galleries for kids to explore – Mineral, Fossil, Science in Motion and My Big Backyard – as well as a planetarium and observatory. Special exhibits and hands-on events like model rocket workshops, sky watches and astronomy workshops teach kids more about STEM concepts.
Visit the museum’s interactive STEM exhibit, Fantastic Forces, and explore combustion, aerodynamics, plate tectonics and more. Activities highlight the science of rockets, tornadoes, earthquakes, liquefaction, lightning, planetary orbits, gravity, centripetal force and more.
In addition to exploring the High’s art collections, families can collaborate on a work of art, then explore the galleries on a scavenger hunt at Family Art Escapes. On Toddler Thursdays, kids 3 years and younger can learn about a weekly topic with artwork, art-making activities and self-guided tours.
With an extensive collection of locomotives, rail cars and artifacts, this Kennesaw museum is a great place to learn about how railroads were used during and after the Civil War. The Jolley Education Center features interactive learning areas with telegraph stations and a diesel train simulator.
Explore a collection of more than 85 U.S. Air Force aircraft, missile, cockpits and exhibits at this Warner Robins museum. The Museum’s National STEM Academy, in partnership with NASA, offers hands-on STEM programs, workshops and special events.
This 35-acre museum in Duluth is home to all things train: locomotives, cabooses, mail and freight cars, artifacts and more. Ride on a historic train car, see the 1927 Marco Polo Pullman car that carried Franklin Roosevelt, and learn about the history of rail travel in the Southeast.
Other Fun Field Trips:
Atlanta Science Festival
Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center
Michael C. Carlos Museum
Discover Science Center
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Museum of Design Atlanta
AT&T Telephone Museum
LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Delta Flight Museum
Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum
The Children Connect Museum
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Hammonds House Museum
Center for Puppetry Arts
The Apex Museum
Atlanta Monetary Museum/Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Use these virtual learning resources to introduce STEAM concepts or to reinforce what kids are learning in school.
Maker challenges, invention, innovation and more! This series of workshops offers practical tips, virtual experiments and other STEM learning activities using tools that families have around the house.
Kids ages 5-18 can take STEM courses like coding, game design, engineering and robotics, and website creation. The company puts an emphasis on teaching the underserved, including minorities and women; the Atlanta-based company also has partnerships with local libraries and schools.
Check out Texas Instruments’ video series, which connects algebra, geometry and physics to jobs like fashion design, sports, health and more.
This organization aims to inform and encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields, and has an extensive list of online resources.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has crafting ideas, science experiments, videos, coloring pages, podcasts, virtual tours, e-books and more for an in-depth look at space exploration, aeronautics and earth science.
This website from Scholastic features four different characters who will help you dive in to math and science topics, such as volcanoes, photosynthesis, word problems and more.
Games, videos and books make learning a breeze, and you can browse topics by grade. In the Math Zone, play games to improve math skills, including geometry, operations and more.
From Tate, four art galleries in London, Liverpool and Cornwall, this website explores famous artists and artworks, creative activities, crafts and more, along with fun games and quizzes for artistic adventures.
The website offers a collection of fun, creative activities, games, videos, free coloring pages and more.
For students in grades Pre-K through 7th, this site teaches addition, algebra, geometry, problem-solving and more with games, videos and worksheets.
STEAM in a Box
With complete supplies and instructions for projects mailed monthly, subscription boxes offer variety and keep kids interested in learning.
“DIY Sci” television host Steve Spangler has created science kits with materials for up to five activities, experiments and design challenges. Step-by-step instruction cards help kids learn the science behind each experiment. Ages 5-12; $24.99/month.
From a weather station to an alarm clock, Creation Crate’s electronics-based kits teach real-world skills and become more challenging as the builder gains experience. An online classroom offers video tutorials, exercises and troubleshooting support. Ages 12 and up; $29.99/month.
These hands-on science and art kits feature themes such as electricity, ocean science or music and contain instructions and materials for 4-8 STEAM projects. Also included is a 12-page booklet with more hands-on activities, parent resources and puzzles. Ages 2-10; $29.95/month.
Bitsbox teaches coding and computer science through app building. Kids choose an app, then build, customize and use it on any mobile device. Activities like Bug Blaster, Cookiesnitch and 333 Little Pigs make it entertaining. Each box has enough materials for siblings to share. Ages 6-12; $29.95/month.
Kids ages 7 and up can learn about concepts in electronics, chemistry, physics, astronomy and more with this program. Each box contains complete materials and instructions to build three projects, plus activity cards and educational information. Ages 7 and up; $29.95/month.