50 STEM Activities for Kids of All Ages and Interests


These days, STEM learning is more important than ever. Science, technology, engineering, and math are the keys to many modern careers, so a good grounding in them from an early age is a must. The best STEM activities for kids are hands-on, leading students to cool innovations and real-world applications. Here are some of our favorites, with challenges and experiments that will really get kids thinking about how STEM plays a part in their everyday lives.

Want some quick challenges to try with elementary students? Get free printable stem challenge cards for grades K-5:

For more STEM activities for kids across a range of subjects, take a look at these ideas.

1. Add STEM bins to your classroom

We Are Teachers

STEM Focus: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

Prepare for a wide variety of STEM activities for kids with these cool bins. Incorporate them into literacy centers, create a makerspace, and offer early finishers fun enrichment ideas. Learn how to create and use STEM bins.

2. Conduct an egg drop

Paper straws taped around an egg in a triangle shape
Buggy and Buddy

STEM Focus: Engineering

This is one of those classic STEM activities every kid should try at least once. Kids can do it at any age, with different materials and heights to mix it up.

Learn more: Egg Drop at Buggy and Buddy

3. Engineer a drinking straw roller coaster

Student building a roller coaster of drinking straws for a ping pong ball (Fourth Grade Science)
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

STEM Focus: Engineering

This is such a fun way to encourage engineering skills! All you need are basic supplies like drinking straws, tape, and scissors.

Learn more: Straw Roller Coaster at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

4. Find ways to slow soil erosion

Science student pouring water onto two tin pans of soil, one with plants and one without
Third Grade Thinkers

STEM Focus: Science (Ecology), Engineering

Compare the effects of “rain” on hills of bare soil vs. those covered with grass. Have your 3rd grade science students predict which they think will stand up to erosion better and then test their hypotheses.

Learn more: Erosion Experiment at Third Grade Thinkers

5. Simulate an earthquake

Fourth grade science teacher's hand shaking a pan of Jello topped with a house model made of toothpicks and marshmallows
Teaching Science

STEM Focus: Engineering

The ground under our feet may feel solid, but an earthquake changes that pretty quickly. Use Jell-O to simulate the earth’s crust, then see if you can build an earthquake-proof structure.

Learn more: Earthquake Science at Teaching Science

6. Stand up to a hurricane

Two paper houses standing in tins of water with a fan in the background
Carly and Adam

STEM Focus: Engineering

In a hurricane zone, houses must be able to stand up to strong winds and possible flooding. Can your students design houses that make it safer to live in these dangerous areas?

Learn more: Hurricane Houses at Carly and Adam

7. Create a new plant or animal

Science project showing an imaginary plant called a Snap-a-Doodle
I Love 2 Teach

STEM Focus: Science (Biology)

Kids will really get into this project, indulging their creativity as they invent a plant or animal that’s never been seen before. They’ll need to be able to explain the biology behind it all, though, making this an in-depth project you can tailor to any class.

Learn more: Create a Creature at I Love 2 Teach

8. Design a helping hand

DIY robot hand built from straws and construction paper
Mombrite

STEM Focus: Technology, Engineering

This is a great group science project. Students hone their design and engineering skills to make a working model of a hand. For a more advanced activity, challenge students to build a robotic hand that can be controlled remotely.

Learn more: Model Hand at Mombrite

9. Understand the impact of non-renewable resources

Index cards with various pasta types glued to them, including rotini, rigatoni, and shells
The Owl Teacher

STEM Focus: Science (Environmental Science)

Discuss the differences between renewable and non-renewable resources, then have your class form “companies” to “mine” non-renewable resources. As they compete, they’ll see how quickly the resources are used. It’s a great tie-in to energy conservation discussions.

Learn more: Energy Resources at The Owl Teacher

10. Devise an amazing marble maze

Child holding a marble maze made from straws on a paper plate
Raising Lifelong Learners

STEM Focus: Engineering

Marble mazes are one of students’ favorite STEM activities! You can provide supplies like straws and paper plates for their project. Or let them use their imaginations and create marble mazes from any materials they can think of.

Learn more: Marble Maze on Raising Lifelong Learners

11. Fly clothespin airplanes

Two planes built with clothespins
STEAMsational

STEM: Engineering

Ask students what they think the airplane of the future might look like. Then, provide them with clothespins and wood craft sticks, and challenge them to build a new kind of airplane. Bonus points if it can actually fly!

Learn more: Clothespin Airplane at STEAMsational

12. Launch a catapult cannon

Child using a DIY catapult cannon made from a cardboard tube to launch a ping pong ball
STEAM Powered Family

STEM Focus: Engineering

Catapult STEM challenges are always fun, but this one adds a new twist that allows kids to launch objects much farther than the usual wood craft stick version!

Learn more: Catapult Cannon and STEAM Powered Family

13. Bounce on a trampoline

Miniature trampoline built from wood craft sticks, rubber bands, and fabric
Student Savvy

STEM Focus: Engineering

Kids love bouncing on trampolines, but can they build one themselves? Find out with this totally fun STEM challenge.

Learn more: Trampoline Challenge at Student Savvy

14. Build a solar oven

Solar ovens built from pizza boxes, with marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers
Desert Chica

STEM Focus: Science, Engineering

Learn about the value of solar energy by building an oven that cooks food without electricity. Enjoy your tasty treats while discussing ways we can harness the energy of the sun and why alternative energy sources are important.

Learn more: Solar Oven at Desert Chica

15. Build a snack machine

Candy dispensing machine made from recycled materials
Left Brain Craft Brain

STEM Focus: Engineering

Incorporate everything students learn about simple machines into one project when you challenge them to build a snack machine. Using basic supplies, they’ll need to design and construct a machine that delivers snacks from one location to another.

Learn more: Snack Machine at Left Brain Craft Brain

16. Recycle newspaper into an engineering challenge

Students balancing a textbook on top of a pyramid of rolled up newspaper
STEM Activities for Kids

STEM Focus: Engineering

It’s amazing how a stack of newspapers can spark such creative engineering. Challenge students to build the tallest tower, support a book, or even build a chair using only newspaper and tape.

Learn more: Newspaper STEM Challenges at STEM Activities for Kids

17. Design a biosphere

Miniature biosphere made with plastic wrap
Laney Lee

STEM Focus: Science, Engineering

This project really brings out kids’ creativity and helps them understand that everything in a biosphere is really part of one big whole. You’ll be overwhelmed by what they come up with!

Learn more: Biosphere Project at Laney Lee

18. See the effects of an oil spill

Sixth grade science student using a spoon to try to catch a puddle of oil floating on water
Kitchen Counter Chronicle

STEM Focus: Science, Engineering

Learn why an oil spill is so devastating for wildlife and the ecosystem with this hands-on activity. Kids experiment to find the best way to clean up oil floating on water and rescue the animals affected by the spill.

Learn more: Oil Spill Cleanup at Kitchen Counter Chronicle

19. Assemble a steady-hand game

Three colorful plastic boxes with wires and electrical wires sticking out of them
Left Brain Craft Brain

STEM Focus: Engineering, Technology

This is such a fun way to learn about circuits. It also brings in a bit of creativity, adding the “A” for STEAM.

Learn more: Steady Hand Game at Left Brain Craft Brain

20. Use cabbage to test pH

Student using a series of test tubes filled with pink liquid
Education Possible

STEM Focus: Science (Chemistry)

Teach kids about acids and bases without needing pH test strips! Simply boil some red cabbage and use the resulting water to test various substances—acids turn red and bases turn green.

Learn more: Cabbage pH at Education Possible

21. Engineer a craft stick bridge

Small bridge built from craft sticks and playdough
Mommy Evolution

STEM Focus: Engineering

Here’s another one of those classic STEM activities that really challenge kids to use their skills. Build a bridge with Popsicle sticks and other materials, then compete to see which can bear the most weight.

Learn more: Bridge Challenge at Mommy Evolution

22. Forage and build a bird nest

Bird nest built from twigs, leaves, and other materials
Kids Craft Room

STEM Focus: Science (Biology), Engineering

Birds build incredibly intricate nests from materials they find in the wild. Take a nature walk to gather materials, then see if you can build a sturdy, comfy nest of your own!

Learn more: Build a Bird Nest at Kids Craft Room

23. Drop parachutes to test air resistance

Card with text Which is the best parachute? Plastic, paper, cloth. Surrounded by pieces of fabric, plastic, and string.
Education.com

STEM Focus: Engineering

Use the scientific method to test different types of material and see which makes the most effective parachute. Your students also learn more about the physics behind air resistance.

Learn more: Parachute Challenge at Education.com

24. Find the most waterproof roof

Third grade science student spraying water on a LEGO house with a wood roof
Science Sparks

STEM Focus: Engineering

Calling all future engineers! Build a house from LEGO, then experiment to see what type of roof prevents water from leaking inside.

Learn more: Waterproof Roof at Science Sparks

25. Build a better umbrella

Science student pouring water over a cupcake wrapper propped on wood craft sticks
Raising Lifelong Learners

STEM Focus: Engineering

Challenge students to engineer the best possible umbrella from various household supplies. Encourage them to plan, draw blueprints, and test their creations using the scientific method.

Learn more: Better Umbrella at Raising Lifelong Learners

26. Go green with recycled paper

Science student making recycled paper using a wood frame covered in wire mesh
Undercover Classroom

STEM Focus: Science (Ecology)

We talk a lot about recycling and sustainability these days, so show kids how it’s done! Recycle old worksheets or other papers using screen and picture frames. Then, ask kids to brainstorm ways to use the recycled paper.

Learn more: Recycled Paper at Undercover Classroom

27. Brew up your own slime

A pile of bright orange slime
Little Bins for Little Hands

STEM Focus: Science (Chemistry)

Chances are good your students already love making and playing with slime. Turn the fun into an experiment by changing the ingredients to create slime with a variety of properties—from magnetic to glow-in-the-dark!

Learn more: Slime Experiments at Little Bins for Little Hands

28. Create a taxonomy system

Seventh grade science student sorting a pile of seeds and making notes in a notebook
Our Journey Westward

STEM Focus: Science (Biology)

Students can step into Linnaeus’ shoes by creating their own system of taxonomy using a handful of different dried beans. This is a fun science project to do in groups, so students can see the differences between each group’s system.

Learn more: Classification Systems at Our Journey Westward

29. Find out which liquid is best for growing seeds

Four cups of soil, each labeled with a different type of liquid including tap water, bottled water, and soda
Lessons for Little Ones

STEM Focus: Science (Biology)

As you learn about the life cycle of plants, explore how water supports plants’ growth. Plant seeds and water them with a variety of liquids to see which sprout first and grow best.

Learn more: Plants and Liquids at Lessons for Little Ones

30. Create giant bubbles

Child standing in a kiddie pool filled with bubbles, while a lifted hula hoop creates a giant bubble around her
Make and Takes

STEM Focus: Science (Chemistry)

It’s easy to mix your own soap bubble solution with just a few ingredients. Let kids experiment to find the best proportion of ingredients to create giant bubbles, long-lasting bubbles, and other variations.

Learn more: Giant Soap Bubbles at Make and Takes

31. Make compost in a cup

Two plastic cups filled with compost and covered in plastic wrap
The Happy Housewife

STEM Focus: Science (Biology)

This is an easy science activity, and you can turn it into a science fair project by experimenting with different mixtures, layering, and conditions for your compost cups.

Learn more: Compost Cups at The Happy Housewife

32. Help monarch butterflies

Children looking at monarch caterpillars on milkweed
Monarch Watch via Facebook

STEM Focus: Science (Biology)

You may have heard that monarch butterflies are struggling to keep their population alive. Join the fight to save these beautiful bugs by planting your own butterfly garden, monitoring monarch populations, and more. Get all the info you need at the link.

Learn more: Monarch Education at Monarch Watch

33. See water pollution in action

Plastic bin full of dirty water and pieces of litter
JDaniel4’s Mom

STEM Focus: Science (Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biology)

Learn about the challenges of cleaning up polluted water sources like rivers and lakes with this interesting outdoor science activity. Pair it with a visit to a local water treatment plant to expand the lesson.

Learn more: Water Pollution at JDaniel4’s Mom

34. Test your local water quality

Water testing kit with pipette and test card
The Homeschool Scientist

STEM Focus: Science (Chemistry, Environmental Science)

Once you’ve “cleaned up” your water, try testing it to see how clean it really is! Then head out to test other types of water. Kids will be fascinated to discover what’s in the water in their local streams, ponds, and puddles. Student water-testing kits are readily available online.

Learn more: Water Quality Experiment at The Homeschool Scientist

35. Explore with an edible Mars Rover

Mars rover made of graham crackers, peanut butter cups, and other items. Text reads Building (and Eating) a Mars Rover
Library Makers

STEM Focus: Science (Space), Engineering

Learn about the conditions on Mars and the tasks the Mars Rover will need to complete. Then, give kids supplies to build their own. (Add to the challenge by making them “buy” the supplies and stick to a budget, just like NASA!)

Learn more: Edible Mars Rover at Library Makers

36. Bake the best potato

Potato, foil, and metal sticks on yellow and green background. Text reads Baked Potato Science Fair Project.
Left Brain Craft Brain

STEM Focus: Science (Physics)

This edible science project is a nutritious way to explore the scientific method in action. Experiment with a variety of methods for baking potatoes—microwaving, using a traditional oven, wrapping them in foil, using baking pins, etc.—testing hypotheses to discover which works best.

Learn more: Potato Science at Left Brain Craft Brain

37. Waterproof a boot

Drawing of a boot with several types of waterproofing material taped on top (Winter Science)
Science Sparks

STEM Focus: Technology, Engineering

Ask kids to select various materials and tape them over the free boot printable. Then, test their hypotheses to see which ones work best.

Learn more: Waterproof a Boot at Science Sparks

38. Determine the best way to melt ice

Muffin tin filled with frozen ice, each labeled with a different melting agent
The Chaos and the Clutter

STEM Focus: Science (Physics)

Conventional wisdom says we sprinkle salt on ice to melt it faster. But why? Is that really the best method? Try this science experiment and find out.

Learn more: Melting Ice at The Chaos and the Clutter

39. Don’t melt the ice

Colorful ice cubes sitting in a bowl with bubble wrap (Winter Science)
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

STEM Focus: Science (Physics)

We spend a lot of time in winter trying to get rid of ice, but what about when you don’t want the ice to melt? Experiment with different forms of insulation to see which keeps ice frozen the longest.

Learn more: Ice Insulation at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

40. Build a straw house

Small house structure built from plastic drinking straws
Deceptively Educational

STEM Focus: Engineering

Grab a box of straws and a package of pipe cleaners. Then task kids with designing and building their dream house, using only those two items.

Learn more: Building a Straw House at Deceptively Educational

41. Design a balloon-powered car

Plastic bottle turned into a balloon-powered car STEM activity
One Little Project

STEM Focus: Engineering

Explore the laws of motion and encourage creativity when you challenge students to design, build, and test their own balloon-powered cars. Bonus: Use only recycled materials to make this project green!

Learn more: Balloon-Powered Car at One Little Project

42. Learn map skills by designing an amusement park

Amusement Park Map Design graphic
We Are Teachers

STEM Focus: Science (Physics), Technology, Engineering, Math

For this cross-curricular activity, students investigate the parts of a map by creating an amusement park. After they create their map, they do a detailed drawing and write about one of their ride designs. Then they design an all-access park pass. So many STEM activities in one! Find out more about it here.

43. Reach for the ceiling

Children building a tower to the ceiling using building blocks
Mama Smiles

STEM Focus: Engineering

Round up all your building blocks and try this whole-class project. What will students need to do to be able to construct a tower that reaches all the way to the ceiling?

Learn more: Block Tower at Mama Smiles

44. Cast a tall shadow

Flashlight shining onto towers made of toy bricks, casting a tall shadow (STEM Activities)
No Time for Flash Cards

STEM Challenge: Science (Physics)

Here’s another tower-building challenge, but this one’s all about shadows! Kids will experiment with the height of their tower and the angle of their flashlight to see how tall of a shadow they’re able to cast.

Learn more: Shadow Towers at No Time for Flash Cards

45. Devise a recycled toy bot

Toy bots made from pool noodles and electric toothbrushes
Artsy Momma

STEM Focus: Engineering

These adorable toy bots are made from pool noodles and recycled electric toothbrushes. So clever! Kids will have fun designing their own, plus they can tweak this idea to make other fun wiggling toys.

Learn more: Recycled Toy Bot at Artsy Momma

46. Link up the longest paper chain

Two students measuring paper chains
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

STEM Focus: Engineering

This incredibly simple STEM activity really gets kids thinking. The challenge? Create the longest-possible paper chain using a single piece of paper. So simple and so effective.

Learn more: Paper Chain Challenge at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

47. Find out what you can make from a plastic bag

Collage of items made from recycled plastic bags
Artsy Crafty Mom

STEM Focus: Science (Environmental Science), Engineering

Plastic bags are one of the most ubiquitous items on the planet these days, and they’re difficult to recycle. Give each student a plastic bag and ask them to create something new and useful. (These ideas from Artsy Craftsy Mom offer some inspiration.)

48. Start a school robotics team

Students Working on a STEM Robotics project
We Are Teachers

STEM Focus: Technology

Coding is one of the most valuable STEM activities you can include in your classroom plans. Set up a school robotics club and inspire kids to embrace their newfound skills! Learn how to set up your own club here.

49. Embrace the Hour of Code

Collection of coding activities from the Hour of Code website
Hour of Code

STEM Focus: Technology

The Hour of Code program was designed as a way to get all teachers to try just one hour of teaching and learning coding with their students. Originally, the Hour of Code event was held in December, but you can organize yours any time. Then, continue to learn using the huge amount of resources on Hour of Code’s website.

50. Give kids a Maker Cart and a pile of cardboard

Collage of students working with cardboard and tools from a maker cart
We Are Teachers

STEM Focus: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

You don’t need a whole lot of fancy supplies to create a STEM Cart or makerspace. Scissors, tape, glue, wood craft sticks, straws—basic items like these combined with a stack of cardboard can inspire kids to create all sorts of amazing projects! See how these STEM activities work here.

What are your favorite STEM activities for kids? Come share in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, get 20+ free STEM posters for your classroom!



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