Engage your child’s curiosity! Boost their sense of wonder! It’s easier than you think, especially with these STEM activities for kids. These challenges encourage your young ones to use both their brains and their hands. Just grab a few simple items and watch as they take fun, educational learning to a whole new level.

Egg Flying Fox Challenge

GIF series showing an egg wrapped in pipe cleaners sliding down string for the Egg Flying Fox Challenge STEM activity.

Want to distract the kids and teach them investigative and maths skills? Set up this cool STEM activity by tying a length of string between the backs of two chairs (one high, one low) so there’s a steep incline – that’s the zip-line for your flying fox. Then use pipe cleaners to build harnesses for different kinds of eggs. Try plastic eggs, egg-shaped chocolates of different sizes, or even hard-boiled eggs. 

Twist two extra pipe cleaners together for a stronger wire and attach one end of the twisted pipe cleaners to a harness and the other in a loose loop around the string. Time how long it takes for eggs of a certain weight to travel down the wire. How does the weight of the egg affect the time it takes to travel? For a bonus challenge, swap the string out for wool or plastic tubing, and compare how the texture of the zip-line affects the times of your flying eggs.

What You’ll Need

 Image of red string, two eggs wrapped with red, pink and blue pipe cleaners and a bundle of colourful pipe cleaners on a yellow background.‍

SEE ALSO: The Top Mess-Free Activities For Your Little Ones

Slingshot Straw Rocket

GIF series of a STEM challenge of making a homemade slingshot straw rocket with eraser tips, rubber bands, masking tape, straws and paddlepop sticks.‍

If you’ve got a young aviator on your hands, give them this cool STEM challenge – it will demonstrate the principles of momentum, drag and stability! First, push a pencil eraser top into the end of a jumbo straw. Straighten a paper clip so just one ‘hook’ is left, then attach it to the straw with two pieces of masking tape, so the bent tip is positioned just under the eraser. 

Cut 3 long triangular fins out of cardboard or index cards, and, ensuring they’re evenly spaced, tape each one to the bottom of the straw so it ends up looking like the bottom of a rocket. Then, make the slingshot: grab a popsicle stick and tape the middle of a large rubber band to the end of it. Hold your slingshot in one hand and with the other, hook the rubber band with the bent hook on the rocket. Pull tight – like a slingshot – and aim your rocket. Let go and watch it zoom through the air!

What You’ll Need

Supplies needed to make straw rockets as STEM Activities for kids, including colourful paper clips, masking tape, striped straws, colourful rubber bands on green card, paddlepop sticks and scissors, shot on a yellow background.

SEE ALSO: 5 Easy Gravity Experiments for Preschoolers

Make a Playdough Planet

GIF series showing a STEM activity for kids on how to make a playdough planet on a yellow background.‍

Budding scientists will love delving deep into the Earth’s layers with this STEM project for kids. Not only will it help kids hone their engineering and technology skills, this activity also nurtures scientific learning and sensory play. Start by creating a white ball of playdough for the ‘inner core’ of the planet, then carefully wrap it with a layer of yellow – almost like you’re wrapping a present – for the ‘outer core’. Now add an orange playdough layer for the ‘mantle’ and repeat with a layer of red for the ‘crust’. 

Finally, top with a blue layer for the ‘sea’. Using tracing paper, roughly trace a country or two off of a world map and cut out. Roll out green playdough and use a plastic knife to cut around your tracing paper stencils for some ‘land’ pieces. Press these onto your planet. Now, use the knife to open up the ball so you can see the cross sections – ta da! 

What You’ll Need

An image of different coloured and sized playdough balls, one of which is blue with a green playdough map of Australia on it, a lead pencil, scissors, rolling pin and art knife on a yellow background.

SEE ALSO: STEM Activities for Preschoolers that Teach Problem Solving

String Phone Activity

GIF series showing the steps to make a string phone STEM activity for kids, including making holes in two black paper cups and attaching string between them.

Smartphones are great, but what about a science experiment that takes kids back to basics?

An old-school string phone is a brilliant way to teach them about sound waves and vibrations. To try this STEM activity, start by cutting a 20 metre length of string. Next, use a pencil to poke holes in the bottom of two disposable cups and thread each end of the string through the hole in one of the cups. Knot it or fix it in place inside each cup with a paperclip

Give each child a cup and move them apart so that the string is taut, and not touching anything. One child speaks into the cup, while the other puts the cup to their ear and listens. Does it work just like a phone? What happens when you try shorter or longer pieces of string?

What You’ll Need

SEE ALSO: Create a Cool Solar System Model and Galaxy Craft for Kids

Rainbow Rubber Eggs

GIF series showing hardboiled eggs in glass jars containing water and different coloured food dye to make rainbow coloured eggs as a STEM activity for kids.

Can you create a bouncy egg? Absolutely. This mind-boggling STEM project uses vinegar and food colouring to transform eggs – and you can expand on it to discuss chemical reactions and investigation skills along the way. Pop a raw egg inside a wide-mouth jar and cover it completely with white vinegar. Mix a little food colouring into the vinegar and leave for 24 hours. 

The next day, replace the liquid with fresh vinegar and more food colouring; leave for another 24 hours. (If you have enough jars and food colouring, you can make a rainbow assortment of eggs.) Next, carefully lift the eggs out and rinse. Kids will find the hard shell is gone – dissolved by the vinegar – and the eggs now have a rubbery and bouncy texture on the outside. Just be warned that the rubbery membrane is fragile, and the egg is still raw inside, so best to do this bit somewhere easy to clean!  

What You’ll Need

  • a wide-mouthed glass jar 
  • food colouring
  • raw whole egg
  • white vinegar

SEE ALSO: STEM 101: Unexpected STEM Learning Activities Kids Can Try at Home

This article was originally published in 2021 and has been updated.