This video gathers up lots of fun clips showing our hands-on STEM activities and science experiments in action. All of our activities are thoroughly play-tested and suitable for ages 3 and up, or preschool through elementary. (In the video, you’ll see my son from age 2 – 8 demoing them all.) They’re also great for science fairs.
Here’s what you’ll see and where you can learn more about it:
- Dancing Salt: Sound Vibration made visible with a Chladni plate made from a can, saran wrap, rubber band or tape and some salt. Salt vibration tutorial. (We use this in Five Senses week.)
- Paint Bombs: In chemical reactions week, we mix water-based paint and alka-Seltzer in a film canister, and BOOM!
- Tower Demolition: In our engineering class on Building Tall Structures, we build all sorts of towers and knock them down with a variety of demolition methods. Here you see red solo cups and pull-back car.
- Dino Dig: When studying paleontology, we bury plastic dinosaurs in a giant tub of shredded paper. This is a great activity for dinosaur birthday parties!
- Clothespin Racer: Take apart a pullback racer car from a birthday party favor, mix that with a clothespin, some tape and rubber bands, and you have a little “car” that really zips! How to build a clothespin racer.
- Fun with Dry Ice: There’s lots of fun demos you can do with just a little piece of dry ice. In this video, my son and I put dry ice, water and bubble bath in a sippy cup – neither of us expected this result. We demo this at States of Matter class.
- The Scarf Cannon: We go to a lot of children’s museums and science museums, and we love what we call the “scarf poofs” where you insert a scarf and a fan shoots in out somewhere else. We made our own version with a shop vac and a dryer tube. We use it for Wind week. How to build a scarf cannon.
- Jar of Bubbling Goo: Make a baking soda and water paste and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then fill containers with oil, vinegar, and a little food coloring. Drop a baking soda cube in and look what happens! From Chemical Reactions week.
- Craft Stick Harmonica: two craft sticks, 3 rubber bands and part of a straw make a great instrument! We use this when we study Hearing and Sound.
- Anemometer: This device measures wind speed – we made ours with dixie cups and straws. We use this when we learn about weather. Find the anemometer tutorial here.
- Thaumatrope: This is our version of a Victorian children’s toy, where you put different drawings on two sides of a card, then spin it fast – it looks like the drawings merge. We make these in Five Senses week. You can also make them button-spinner style.
- Rainbow top: Speaking of button spinners – we tried a new project – it didn’t work well as a button spinner, but my co-teacher Cym figured out how to turn it into this rainbow top.
- Keva wrecking ball and keva blocks, plus water bottle pendulum and cardboard boxes: 2 more demolition options from Building Tall Structures week.
- Pullback car: We made cars, then we “motorized” them with a retractable badge holder. With one inch wheels, it only travels a very short distance, but with CD wheels it really moves.
- For wheel week, we made a water wheel with plastic spoons and a piece of Styrofoam and played with it in the water table.
- Spiral ramp: During our simple machines unit, we study screws. I built this spiral ball ramp with paper plates and a poster tube.
- Cartesian diver: With a water bottle, straw, paper clip, and silly putty you can illustrate a classic experiment in buoyancy. We do this in submarine week.
- Scribble bot: We used to do this in Robot week, but it doesn’t fit our criteria for a robot (a true robot needs to have sensors and a processor) but it’s such a great project we’re keeping it – just moving it to Contraptions week.
- Marble maze: All you need is a box lid, popsicle sticks (or straws or cardboard or whatever you want to make the barriers out of), a hot glue gun and a marble. You can make a simple maze, a complex labyrinth, a pachinko machine… We do this in Gravity week.
- Floating ball – we use the shop vac from the scarf cannon to create a column of air to float things on. If you find just the right ball, you can use this as a t-ball stand – the ball is floating in the air above the fan and you can hit it from there.
- Wind tube. We use this when we study wind and flight in my kids’ science class, but I’ve used it in the toddlers class just for fun, and used it at public preschool fairs to draw interest to our booth. Here’s a tutorial on building a wind tube.
- Water wall: I made a magnetic marble maze with PVC pipes and an oil drip pan that can also be used as a water wall outdoors.
If you try any of these projects, add a comment below to let me know how it went!
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