Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy the sunshine. It is also a great opportunity for children to try some new hands-on summer STEM activities. A lot of fun and learning happens with these activities. Many can be done outside and often mix a bit Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills together.
STEM activities are ideal for developing problem solving, critical thinking and even team work skills. They are ideal to use in the classroom and simple enough to use with children of all ages at home.
Most STEM activities require only inexpensive materials and you can pick and choose activities and STEM challenges that use materials that you already have on hand.
Add a few summer STEM activities to your summer bucket list to incorporate some learning and screen-free fun to your days. The activities are separated into different categories to help you find what you are looking for.
When doing a summer STEM activity, I suggest to let the children guide their learning. Avoid jumping in to help them solve the problem or tell what the best solution is.
Through years of doing STEM activities in my classroom and at home with my own children, the best learning comes from children making mistakes, trying a different method and then learning from their mistake.
Summer Science Experiments
Clean water is a topic and concern throughout the world. Teach children a little about the issue of how to clean polluted water and challenge them to try different things to get some really dirty water, clean(er).
This STEM activity is always a favorite in my classroom in the spring, and an activity I always do with my own kids in the summer. All you need is paper ready to be thrown out, or recycled, water and seeds.
It is a great sensory activity as the paper is turned into pulp. Add some seeds, plant it and watch it grow!
The result of this summer STEM activity is absolutely beautiful. Learn about how plants ‘drink’ and how water travels up the stem of the flower to the petals and leaves. Try splitting the stem to create something amazing! A free printable is included.
Cool down this summer with this hands-on frozen treasure hunt. Use materials from around the house to create a ice block filled with treasures! Try exploring the ice like a scientist using eye droppers and warm water.
What if you try salt water? Does it react differently? A free printable is included.
Life Cycle Summer STEM Activity
Creepy crawlers may not be everyone’s favorite, however, this is one of the best, most rewarding STEM activities that I have ever done in a classroom and with my children at home.
Mealworms are easy to get at pet stores, and easy to take care of. Plus, summer is a great time to learn about life cycles.
Watching butterflies go through metamorphosis is an amazing, memorable experience for children, but more then butterflies go through this change. Do you know what mealworms turn into? Click and try out the experiment to find out. Free printables available.
Explore the science of magnets with this fun, summer STEM project we call Jitter Bugs! A little physics, a little engineering and a whole lot of dancing bug fun will make this summer project one kids will never forget.
Teaching children about pollution and the pollution in our oceans gives them an understanding of our world and planet. Make it fun and hands-on with this Ocean Pollution Clean Up science sensory activity.
Create a foaming rainbow using household materials.
Create your own Nature Explorer Kit using simple materials. Children will feel like a real scientist every time they open their kit!
Ice Cream Summer STEM Activity
Ice cream and summer go hand in hand. Teach kids a little bit of science as they make their own ice cream in a bag. It’s some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had!
Summer is a great time for children to tend to a garden and watch as food grows over the summer. Try this simple growing experiment. Can you grow celery from kitchen scraps? Yes, you can!
Popcorn is fun to pop over a camp fire, but there are even more uses and experiments that you can try with it! What happens when you add popcorn kernels to a fizzy drink? Try this super easy STEM experiment to find out!
Make your own ecosystem with this fun STEM activity.
Summer is a great time to be outside and celebrate. Fireworks are always fun to watch and celebrate with. However, not all children love the loud noises they make. Create your own fireworks in a jar with this simple science experiment. Even adults will be mesmerized.
Spring and summer are the perfect time to learn about eggs. Children will be excited to learn and test the incredible strength of eggs.
Create your own rainbow using candies. It is easy to do, beautiful to watch and makes a really interesting design.
Science + Art STEM Activities
Learn about simple machines and motion with this Playground Art activity. All you need are a few simple supplies such as paper and metal brads.
Outdoor Science STEM Activities
Take your Summer STEM activity outside with these outdoor activities.
Make your own piece of art with crayons in a whole new way. Use the heat of the summer sun to create your art.
This art project turned into a science experiment as children notice certain crayon colors melt faster then others.
How far can you make a rocket fly? Challenge children to create their own rocket with this summer STEM activity challenge. A free printable is available, or simply provide children with a collection of materials to make their own rocket. Use a straw or make one with paper to launch your rocket through the air.
What worked well and what didn’t? Alter your rocket and try again to make your rocket go the furthest through the air.
Mix art and science while you learn how sunscreen works! This simple experiment is perfect for summer fun.
Explore light and shadows with this fun rainbow sun catcher activity out in the sunshine.
Make striking prints using the sun with this summer stem activity.
Summer STEM activities can provide new learning about the world around us. Take a few pieces of chocolate and place them in different places, and on different materials. Check on your chocolates frequently to see which one melts first.
Try placing one in the shade, and another in direct sun. Do you notice a difference?
Turn the pool into your laboratory! Simple, no prep swimming science activities perfect for toddlers and preschool. (They even work in a kiddie pool!)
Smores Summer STEM Activity
Explore the sun’s heat and temperature while also making a yummy summer treat!
What happens when you dip a fluffy dandelion into a glass of water? Try this summer STEM activity and find out!
Grab an old pop can for this outdoor summer experiment. Use water and gravity to create a twisting soda can. It’s a mix of physics and fun with water!
Do superheroes enjoy ziplining? Test out your theory as children learn about gravity with this outdoor gravity STEM activity.
With just paper, create these paper helicopters! This is a great summer STEM challenge for kids of all ages, and they are so much fun to send flying.
You can learn about electric circuits any time of year! Learning how electrical circuits work are important science skills for kids 4th grade and up.
When you understand how electricity works, you can begin to troubleshoot electrical devices and can even begin to build and design your own inventions!
Camping tents can be tricky to set up. Challenge children to create their own tent, or structure, that at least one person can sit in, using only sticks and a sheet of fabric.
The creativity that children come up will impress you!
This STEM activity is a little bit of engineering, science and art all mixed together. Children create and build their own Bug Observation Box.
Bring some of the summer outside into your experiment. A shallow dish filled with water, a paper clip, a leaf and magnet are all you need for this fun STEM challenge.
Ready for some serious summer STEM fun? Build these Catapult Cannons and have a blast playing in the backyard with a toy you built!
Studying about Leonardo da Vinci can combine two subjects kids usually don’t consider as similar: art and science.
Let kids build a giant outdoor ball run in the backyard using scrap wood and loose parts.
Summer STEM Activities – Math
Pool noodles are a lot of fun to have in the water, but now you can use them for even more! The noodles are ideal for this math, programming, binary activity because they are inexpensive and a great size for little hands to use.
Escape rooms are very popular and incorporate a lot of learning, and STEM skills. This outdoor escape room activity is a perfect summer STEM activity.
It includes math skills such as matching, counting, manipulation of shapes and you can do it all in the sunshine and fresh air!
Although STEM activities do not typically include art, there is a new push for STEAM activities. The A stands for art activities. Below are a few activities that are ideal for summer STEAM learning and make beautiful art!
Create your own solid block of colorful sidewalk chalk. Children will enjoy making their own chalk and seeing how quickly it turns from a liquid to a solid.
Corn starch and water makes a really interesting material that is not quite a liquid and not quite a solid. Create this mixture, known as oobleck, and make sure to have kids get their hands in it as you make liquid sidewalk chalk.
This simple mixture makes vibrant colors and creates beautiful art outside all summer!
Summer STEM Activity – Summer Escape Room
We do a lot of escape rooms around our house, and at school. They are a fun way for children to try many skills that STEM activities encourage, such as team work and problem solving.
This summer escape room takes the fun of an escape room outside and incorporates all the things that kids love most about summer, like water balloons, water soakers and scavenger hunts. The summer escape room also includes lots of learning and screen free play!
Free Summer Escape Room printables are available.
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Printables for several of the summer STEM activities listed above can be found, and even more printables, such as a free STEAM choice board.
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more STEM, STEAM or activity ideas for children at home, or in the classroom, below is a collection of our favorite, and most popular activity ideas.
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