This Father’s Day, Bond with the Kids Over Fun STEM Projects

Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, and we realize some of you dads may just be looking for a day of rest and relaxation. However, we also suspect many of you will want to enjoy some one-on-one time with the kiddos. So how about some STEM activities that will get the creative juices flowing and inspire convos about ball bearings, basic robotics and ballistics lessons from shooting marshmallows?

Here are a few ideas curated from around the web that will inspire kids to spend some much-appreciated time with Dear Dad, courtesy of Nevada STEM Hub.

Make Your Own Fidget Spinner

The core functionality of a fidget spinner rests in the ball bearings. How do they work? What else are they used for? Making your own fidget spinner will inspire some deep conversations. Here are a few places to learn how to make them for yourself:

HOW TO MAKE A FIDGET SPINNER from Kids Activities Blog

TOTALLY RAD DIY FIDGET SPINNERS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR LITTLE MAKERS GO NUTS from Lemon Lime Adventures

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FIDGET SPINNER from Mashable

The STEM takeaways — this project can inspire conversations about:

  • Inertia
  • Momentum
  • Newton’s First Law of Motion
  • Torque
  • Friction

Marshmallow Shooters

You’ll see these all over the stores for the summertime, but why buy them when you and your kids can DIY them? Just some PVC pipe and connectors, spray paint and a bag of marshmallows, and you have enough ammunition for some serious summertime bonding fun. Or if you’re interested in adding a few basic components, you can make one with a balloon that relies less on lung capacity and more on elasticity.

Some sites for inspiration:

MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS from Happiness is Homemade

MAKE YOUR OWN MARSHMALLOW SHOOTER from the Discover Explore Learn blog

The STEM takeaways — this project can inspire conversations about:

  • Estimation
  • Weight and how far objects travel
  • Simple ballistics
  • Velocity
  • Force
  • Gravity

Bridge Building

You don’t need concrete and cables to make an epic bridge; in fact, all you need are straws and tape to learn about concepts like tension and compression. Here are a few sites that might inspire some bridge-building ideas of your own:

STRAW BRIDGES from the Stem Laboratory

HOW TO BUILD A STRAW BRIDGE from WikiHow

ENGINEERING A BRIDGE from Scholastic

The STEM takeaways — this project can inspire conversations about:

  • The key structural components of bridge construction: beams, arches, trusses and suspensions
  • Compression
  • Tension
  • Supports

Make a Robot

Did you know you can go from “zero” to “robot” with just a few simple supplies — wire, a 3v motor, a battery, some beads, some “legs” and a hot glue gun? It’s really that simple. Your conversation will cover robotic basics like how a motor works, and you’ll spend time watching the creative process literally come to life with your very own robot. Oh, and don’t forget to name him when you’re done!

Some sites for inspiration:

HOW TO… MAKE A MINI ROBOT from Red Ted Art

16 ROBOTS KIDS CAN ACTUALLY MAKE from Kids Activities Blog

The STEM takeaways — this project can inspire conversations about:

  • Basic robotics
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Energy
  • Electrical motors

Go Fishing

While stereotypical dads will stereotypically go fishing with their kids on Father’s Day, we challenge you to buck the stereotype and go magnetic fishing! Teach your kids the concepts of magnets (what are they? How do they work? What is and is not magnetized?) while also having some fun.

Some sites for inspiration:

MAGNETIC FISHING from The Wonder Years blog

MAKE A MAGNETIC FISHING GAME from KidSpot

The STEM takeaways — this project can inspire conversations about:

  • Magnets
  • Ferrous metal
  • Magnetic poles

Do you have fun activities you enjoy with the kids? Go to the Nevada STEM Hub Facebook page and let us know.

And happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Nevada STEM Hub is a project of the Nevada State Office of Science, Innovation and Technology. Its goal is to collect and share STEM information from throughout our state to help students, parents, educators, businesses and community members better understand STEM and the opportunities a STEM education offers.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. David Bradfield says:

    These are awesome! Fantastic article.

    Like

  2. Jake Wiskerchen says:

    This is spectacular. I am definitely going to do some of these with my toddler this weekend. Thank you!!!

    Like

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