45+ STEM Challenge Ideas for Kids to do at Home or School


If you are looking for a simple, but exciting STEM challenge that kids can do at home or school, this collection of over 45 STEM challenges will give you lots of ideas! Most of the STEM activities require simple materials that you probably already have at home.

A STEM challenge (Science Technology Engineering and Math) allows children to explore materials in a hands-on and open-ended way. The other advantage to STEM activities is that kids of varying ages and skill levels can do the same STEM challenge, from kindergarten to teens.

You will be amazed what kids will come up with!

I have been doing STEM challenges at home, and in my classroom for many years. I have seen the learning and excitement that happens when children do a STEM activity and I see the learning and know the critical thinking that takes place.

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STEM projects also promote a love and curiosity in kids of science and the world around them. If you are looking for more STEM challenges to try in your classroom or home, a printable collection of 100+ STEM challenge cards, that can be used with any combination of materials is included below the list.

Below is my collection of over 45 STEM Challenge Ideas. Each activity has a brief description. Click on the image for full activity description.

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STEM Challenges

This tower challenge is always a favourite! Using a few simple materials, build a structure to the sky! Use a toy figure to add an extra fun twist to this building challenge.

If you have some wooden blocks at home, you have all you need for these STEM challenges that will keep kids busy, creating and learning for hours.

Imagine what you could create! A house? A town? A tower? Spend hours creating and building.

Learn about the Stone Age as you complete this STEM challenge.

STEM Activities

I love STEM challenges that are inexpensive and can be done with a large group of kids. Children will love using their imagination as they create their own roller coaster with just construction paper and glue.

This is such a neat idea! Challenge children to create a structure that can be balanced on their finger – or nose!

STEM challenges are great because you can use whatever materials you have on hand. All you need are apples, water and toothpicks for this STEM activity.

Create a working bow and arrow with simple materials.

Kids will love creating a cage to keep their animal (or toy figure) in. This is a great challenge for small groups of children to work together to create and complete. Make sure your animal can’t get out!

A fun twist on the raw spaghetti tower challenge.

STEM Activities #10

Strategize to build a tower that can reach the ceiling. Will it stay standing?

Can you build a home for the polar bear? There are so many options! Try out this STEM challenge with your little ones to see what they create.

Water Filtration STEM Challenge

Learn about the importance of clean water with this hands-on clean water experiments. Can you build a filter that will clean the water?

Challenge children to create a bridge that can hold a weight using materials from around the house.

Using only jumbo popsicle sticks and tape create a catapult. Next, test out your creation with this STEM challenge.

Can you build a bridge over some water using only plastic building blocks? Try out this Build a Bridge STEM Challenge.

Tie some literacy into your STEM challenge with this building challenge based on classic story of The Three Little Pigs.

Children are challenged to “catch” a turkey with this STEM activity. Perfect for the holidays!

Build a car… but with square wheels. Can you make it roll?

I love everything about this STEM challenge! Take learning outside with this hands-on building for real life experiences and something kids can really get into – literally!

This is such a cool idea! Recycle materials from around your house to create these STEM toys. Some even move!

STEM Challenges #20

This STEM challenge is a great sensory activity for children. Using gems, beads or even buttons, with play dough as bricks and cement, create beautiful structures. What can you create?

This space theme activity is great to add to an outer space unit and to teach kids about constellations.

Build the tallest tower using only a few materials.

Teach children about the design and planning part of building in the real world. This STEM challenge requires a little bit of planning, but in a simple way for kids.

Read about some interesting ideas and variations for a traditional egg drop.

Use clothespins and popsicle sticks to create an airplane. What kind of plane can you create?

Engineering Challenge – STEM Projects for Kids

What would your dream home look like? What about a roller coaster to get around your house? How about an indoor water park? There is no limit with this challenge!

What 3D shape can you create using a few simple materials – but no tape?

Challenge kids to create squishy animals using squishy circuits.

This inexpensive STEM challenge uses newspapers, tape, string, and scissors!

STEM Challenges #30

This engineering challenge based on The Three Little Pigs, has kids creating houses using hands-on materials.

Kids will love designing and engineering their own Eiffel tower made from newspapers. A great lesson on structures!

Who doesn’t love making paper chains? This STEM challenge adds a twist to regular paper chains.

What can you build with a 100 cups? A few challenges and a printable will give you some ideas to do with all of those cups!

Design and experiment with this wind powered rescue mission!

Learn about strong and stable shapes using only newspaper. 5 STEM challenges using newspaper.

This STEM challenge is a great opportunity to take learning outside! Kids will love building and then playing with their ramp. This is a great trial and error challenge.

This is a another great STEM challenge to try outside with kids. Using only natural materials, kids will love creating their own nest.

Use that collection of sticks that kids always seem to have, with this stick raft building challenge.

This is a fun STEM challenge especially during the winter. Challenge children to build the tallest snowman they can using just a few materials.

STEM Activities #40

This STEM activity is perfect for kids learning about the human body or are curious about how their heart works. Use simple materials to build and create.

Kids are coding in school these days. Have them try out some coding at home with this challenge.

A fun twist using “Three Blind Mice” and the Braille alphabet.

Kids will love creating and following directions to create this climbing monkey. (Free printable).

Printable STEM Activities

A great collection of STEM activities that you can print off for home.

Kids will love inventing and creating with these Hexbug creations.

Use a pumpkin, or other object and create a boat to keep it afloat.

Bridge building is a classic activity for children in school. Find some bridge building ideas with this collection of 10+ activity ideas.

Take your STEM challenge outside with a Straw Rocket STEM activity. A FREE printable is available or children can create their own rocket to blast off!

I hope that you have been able to find some new, exciting ideas for STEM challenges for you to try out at home with your children, or in the classroom with your students. There are so many advantages to STEM challenges that benefit children.

STEM challenges are hands-on and teach children to problem solve. They teach kids to learn through trial and error. They also teach children that when something does not work the first time, that is simply their chance to learn from their attempt and try again. Never give up!

If you try out one of the challenges, I’d love to see it or hear about it! Let me know how it went by leaving a message below. Happy building!

10 STEM Activities with 10 Materials

Planning STEM activities should be easy and inexpensive, but to make it even easier, check out this collection of 10 STEM building challenges that require just 10 materials for all!

Printable STEM Challenge Cards

Try a STEM challenge any day for screen-free, hands-on fun! This collection of over 100 STEM activity cards are an easy way to bring STEM learning to your classroom or home.

For even more STEM challenges, visit 50 STEM challenges using 15 simple materials.

FREE STEM Building Challenge Cards + Choice Board

Looking for a few more building ideas? Subscribe today to gain access to my FREE Resource Library, filled with lots of printable activities and educational resources. Download a Free STEAM Choice Board today! Subscribe to Hands-On Teaching Ideas

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Looking for More Hands-On Activities for Home or School?

I’ve got lots of hands-on learning activities for kids! From a huge collection of science experiments for kids to art projects and escape rooms, there is lots to keep kids busy and learning.

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