4 Favorite STEM Activities for Kids by 'Playdough to Plato'

Malia Hollowell and the rest of the creative team at Playdough to Plato strive to help young children discover that learning can and should be super fun. You can browse their age-specific sections for preschoolers, kindergartners, or first graders to find the perfect projects for kiddo, or you can check out themes such as spring, weather, or sight words. Either way, you will not be disappointed... although you may have a hard time deciding where to begin.

To help you out, we have assembled four of our fave activities from Playdough to Plato that teach STEM principles (science, technology, engineering and math) while keeping it fun!

Clay Boat

With this STEM lesson, kids can make their own toy boats and learn about the concept of displacement. If they make a clay ball or a clay log and set it in some water, they will quickly discover that it sinks. However, the same clay molded into a flat-bottomed boat with rounded sides will drift calmly atop the water that it displaces. This fun project combines sculpture and science for some pretty awesome discoveries.

Mini Pumpkin Chucking

Pumpkin chucking or chunking is a sport with a serious and longstanding following. Since the 1980s, participants have attended the World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) Contest in the fall, during which they use their own mechanical devices to hurl pumpkins as far as they can.

With this project, your kids can host their own competition, albeit a much smaller (and safer) version. Using materials such as popsicle sticks and rubber bands, kiddos will engineer their own little catapults to fling tiny candy pumpkins or other small objects. They will learn about kinetic energy and can experiment with alterations to the machine to see if they can make the pumpkins fly farther, faster, or higher.

Layered Love Potion in a Jar

Making a “potion” seems like magic, but this is actually a science lesson.
By layering various liquids in a glass container, kids will learn about the concept of density (a substance’s degree of compactness) and viscosity (a fluid’s resistance to deformation under stress). A fun twist on the more traditional density jar, this layered love potion allows kids to observe how different liquids interact when poured on top of each other.

Check out the complete instructions for this project. While it has a Valentine’s Day theme with corresponding colors, you can tailor the experiment to suit your child using any shades of food coloring you desire.

Play Dough Earth from Core to Crust

Explaining that the Earth has various layers can be confusing, especially to young children. They can grasp this concept much more easily with a hands-on version they create themselves.

After whipping up some homemade play dough (a super simple recipe is included with the instructions for this activity), kiddos can mold a model of our big blue planet, starting with the core and working their way out. When it’s complete, cut the model in half (kid-friendly dental floss will slice it) and gain a new perspective of the place we all call home.

All of these fun lessons for young children from Playdough to Plato are sure to be a hit in your home. Easy STEM activities for kids encourage a love of learning that can last a lifetime. Which one do you want to try first?

Tags : science   experiments   

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