STEM Activities for the Non-Sciencey Parent

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STEM Activities for the Non-Sciencey Parent. Guest Post.

I love to create learning activities with my kids but I’m not great at coming up with ideas and making plans to perform the activities with them, especially when they are science projects or involve any sort of engineering. Honestly? The thought of STEM and science stuff overwhelms me and makes me feel like I have no clue what I’m talking about. Math activities, science experiments, stem challenges…basically anything technology based too is just NOT in my wheelhouse. And man don’t even get me started on slime! Ha! So I’m super thankful to Kim from Team Cartwright for guest posting for me today and sharing so many great STEM ideas to do with kids! 

5 stem activities to do with kids


I’m a STEM mom.  I have loved science for as long as I can remember.  I majored in chemistry and worked in the chemical industry for several years.  So it makes sense that I seek out STEM projects to do with my kids.  I just love it.

But what if you don’t love it?  What if you were never that into STEM and quite honestly still are a little intimidated by it?

I’d say you are pretty normal.  

Look, I know that not everyone naturally gravitates towards science.  And I know not every kid is going to have a real career as a scientist.  But I strongly believe we do children a disservice when we don’t at least give them a chance at STEM.

So many life lessons can be learned through science and a lot of real skills are developed in the process of learning about science.  It’s worth it to at least try as a parent.

Don’t worry, I want to help.  This is a collection of STEM activities that are actually really easy to do at home.  But they sound really sciencey (yes, sciencey is a technical term), which helps gets kid’s attention and lets them see themselves as real scientists.

The setups are pretty simple and they are fun.  And more importantly, even if you can’t perfectly define the phenomena you are observing, your kids are still internalizing important information.

Science Activities for the Non-Science Parent

You don’t have to be a science parent to do STEM with your kids.  In fact, your kids will actually get a lot out of the activity because you aren’t sciencey. 

They will see you try, fail, try again, and learn.  Being willing to wonder is the most important thing needed to spark scientific curiosity.

Make a funicular train at home! It's easier than you think. This simple pulley system can be used to teach your child about physics and simple machines while opening up a world of creative play! Try it today! #Pulley #FunicularTrain #STEM #Physics #PulleySystem #Homeschool #preschool #toddler #kids #learning #Activity #STEM

Funicular Trains

I like this one because even just saying the name makes me feel smart.  Funicular trains are really just a pulley system. We all have seen pulley systems in action.  They make it easier for us to lift heavy weights.

A pulley system is a simple machine.  Simple machines are an important part of physics.  So by making this simple project, you are teaching physics concepts.  And all you need straws, cups, and tape to make these.  

This is the sort of pulley system you see with ski lifts.  So if you want to really make an impact on your children try making your own ski lift at home!

Make a working heart pump model at home! This is surprisingly easy to put together and it really helps kids understand how the heart works. A great science activity to work on anatomy. #STEM #ScienceActivity #Cardiovascular #Anatomy #HeartModel

Working Model Heart Pump

Kids love to learn about themselves, and a great way to start biology lessons is to look at human anatomy.  The outside stuff is easy, but how do you get kids to understand that they have a lot going on inside of them?

The heart is one of my favorite places to start.  Why?  Your kids can hear it beating.  (We have two toy stethoscopes and they both actually work.  Not super awesomely, but enough they can hear a heartbeat!)  You can listen to and feel a heartbeat and know something is going on inside.

This is a simple way to model how the heart pumps blood.  And all you need are straws, balloons, and cups.  Oh, and red food coloring to make the blood.

5 Easy and Fun Human Body Experiments! Wow your kids with activities that challenge perception and muscle behavior. Safe, fun, and really cool. Plus get all the explanations as to what is happening! Five minute science. #science #stem #learning #activity #kids #preschool #body #tricks

Human Body Experiments

Did you know you can just experiment directly on your kids?  Okay, don’t freak out.  We aren’t actually performing experiments on them.  But you can help them use their bodies to experience really cool phenomena!

For example, have you have stood in a doorway and pressed your arms against the doorframe as hard as you could for about a minute?  Then when you step out your arms just float up?

That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.  You can do so much to teach your kids about the mind-body connection and how you perceive yourself in space.  All with just your body.  

Easter Egg Rocket! Enjoy this Easter STEM activity for kids and learn about basic chemical reactions. Easy, creative STEAM learning. #EasterEggRocket #STEAM #LearningActivity #EasterSTEM

Build a Rocket

Want to build a rocket?  Yes, there are lots of kits you can get out there for just this sort of thing.  But you don’t need one.  Well, not for the simple rocket I’m talking about.  

You can make a rocket with a plastic Easter egg and a toilet paper tube.  And the ‘jet fuel’ only takes two ingredients as well.

This is a great one for really digging into the scientific method as there might be some trial and error involved.  But it’s a lot of fun.

How to dye rainbow rice at home! Make an easy and fun sensory bin for your kids. #SensoryPlay #SensoryBin #RainbowActivity #RainbowLearning #RiceBin #ColoredRice #LearningActivity #Preschool

Rainbow Rice

Sensory activities are a big part of STEM exploration for little kids.  A big part of science and STEM, in general, is observation.  What do you see, hear, smell, feel?  (Taste too, but only in certain situations.)

Sensory bins encourage kids to scoop and pour, which helps them start to learn how measurements work.

Sensory bins can be super simple, and one of my new favorites is rainbow rice.  It is pretty and fun to play with!  And it is shockingly easy to make.

Seriously, I thought it would take a long time to make this rice for my kids, but it so didn’t!  It takes a little time to dry, but you can make rainbow rice in less than half an hour and save it to use over and over.


You Can Do STEM With Your Kids

These are just a few fun and easy ways to add a little STEM to your life.  The most important thing to remember is that you can do science with your kids, even if you hated science growing up.  

The important thing isn’t knowing it all.  It isn’t about being able to explain every question your child has perfectly.  It’s about being willing to ask the questions. 

Don’t be afraid to ask why.  Don’t be afraid to now know something.  (Yes, I understand the fear of looking stupid.)  Science starts with not knowing.  Your kids need to see you ask questions and seek out answers.

Be willing to wonder.


Kim is the mother of three – a son and twin daughters. She blogs over at Team Cartwright about all things twin and activity related! 

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

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