10 Exciting STEM Activities with Just 10 Materials


Do you already integrate STEM learning into your classroom or your child’s learning at home? Are you looking for a way to start doing more STEM activities, but not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Below are 10 exciting STEM activities that only require 10 simple materials and are great STEM bin ideas.

These ten building challenges use a total of ten everyday materials. Simply collect the 10 supplies before you start and you’re ready for 10 exciting challenges!

The STEM activities will work well for classroom centers, play groups, quiet time, Saturday mornings, something special with grandparents to do or a special day at home for kids to look forward to their next challenge.

Give your children the challenge and the materials and let them decide how far to take the activity. Some of the challenges will not last for an extended time, but providing as much time as possible allows the freedom of letting children build for as long as they want.

You’ll be amazed at what they can come up with.

STEM activities are a great way to develop important skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. While these challenges focus on building, or engineering, other skills are often touched upon as children build and problem solve.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a collage of materials made into a pinterest pin.

If you are looking for more STEM activities for kids just like this collection of 10, make sure to view the full collection of 50 STEM activities with 15 materials. 50 printable activity cards, marking sheet, activity list and much more! 50 STEM Task Cards Program

STEM Building Challenges for Kids

Some of the 10 Exciting STEM activities are brand new, others are classics and favorites that can be done over and over again. Even if it is a challenge your kids have tried before, they will learn even more trying it again and building on their successes from their first attempt.

Try to use as many materials you already have around the house. I have listed the materials you will need, and included a printable checklist to make sure you have everything ready.

I’ve also listed below any alternative materials you can use if you don’t have access to some of the items.

At the end of the program your kids will have worked on their problem solving, building skills and learned along the way. Plus, you’ll know they’ve had some screen free time! So join me for these 10 Exciting STEM Activities!

For more activities and STEM challenges to try throughout the year, check out my collection of 45+ STEM Challenge Ideas for Kids.

10 Exciting STEM Activities Materials

Planning and preparing activities for kids can sometimes be overwhelming and it can get expensive. When creating this program of 10 Exciting STEM Activities, I wanted to make sure that the supplies needed were minimal, and hopefully most of them are things you already have on hand at home.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a picture of the supplies needed.

Below I’ve described each of the materials you will need. Some of the challenges require a few of the materials to build with and some of the materials are used several times over for different challenges.

Most of the challenges allow the kids creation to be taken apart when they’re done and the supplies to be used again. Just put them back in the bin for later.

Material List

(In no particular order) The 10 materials you will need are:

  • Large Craft Sticks (Jumbo Popsicle Sticks)
  • Play Dough
  • Paper Rolls (Paper Towel Rolls)
  • Wooden Blocks
  • Construction Paper
  • Clothes Pins
  • Plastic Cups
  • Plastic Building Blocks (Lego)
  • Tape
  • Paper Plates

A few other items may be needed including, a printer to print the material list, completion certificates, any activity cards and a pair of scissors.

If you have any little toys, like people or animal figures, they can add to a few of the challenges, but are not necessary in order to do them.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a bin filled with building materials for kids.
STEM for kids shows a bin filled with building materials.

Below I’ve given a rough idea of how much of each material you will need for one, or two children (based on the photos). However, as a general rule, the more of each material you have, the better.

If children are building and they run out of supplies, they will likely stop, but if there are lots of supplies you’ll be amazed at what they may go on to create. The most of each material up can supply is ideal.

The activities can be done by a small group working and problem solving together, or they can be done independently.

My suggestion is to gather all of your materials and place them in a bin and set the bin aside. Each week pull out the materials you need for the activity.

This way you don’t have to run out each week and purchase materials and you don’t have to prepare anything. You’ll already have everything you need in one spot!

stem activities shows a pinterest pin with a collage of stem activities.

10 Exciting STEM Activities Printable

The materials are all listed in a free printable that you can download today. More information can be found at the end of this post about how to download.

Grab your list and check off items as you gather them. I’ve added links below to make getting any materials you don’t have easier.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a free printable list of STEM building materials of 10 supplies.

Once you’ve completed a STEM activity, make sure to hang onto the supplies because you will need some materials again for another challenge in a later week.

STEM Bin Ideas – The Materials

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Material #1 Jumbo Craft Sticks

These sticks are different than regular popsicle sticks. They are thicker and longer. Popsicle sticks will not work for some of the STEM challenges so it is important to grab the jumbo craft sticks, or tongue depressors as they are also called.

Colored or plain wood are both fine.

STEM for kids shows a collection of jumbo popsicle sticks.

Play Dough

Any type of play dough will work. You can even use plasticine or a type of clay if you have it on hand. As long as it is roughly the same consistency as play dough, it should work. The more you have the better. Any color(s) will do.

STEM challenge shows three containers of playdough and a red ball of dough.

10 STEM Challenges – Paper Rolls

To collect these, I suggest placing a bin somewhere in your house to collect all paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls and gift wrap tubes and anything else similar and collect to get as many as you can in time for the STEM activity that requires this. It’s a great way to recycle too.

STEM shows a collection of paper towel rolls.

If you don’t have access to any paper rolls at all, you can cut sheets of paper to the same size and roll them and secure with tape to create a roll.

stem for kids shows bins of toilet paper rolls.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Wooden Blocks

Any type of wooden block will work. If you have building blocks at home, use them or if you have blocks from a tower game, they will also work. They can be different shapes and sizes or all the same size and shape, any assortment or collection of wooden blocks will work for the challenge.

If you don’t have any wooden blocks, you could use plastic building blocks (Lego) for the STEM challenge they are for.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a bin of colorful wooden blocks.
10 exciting STEM Activities shows a bin of wooden blocks.

STEM Activities – Construction Paper

There are a few of the STEM challenges that require construction paper. The size and color of the paper doesn’t matter. A few blue sheets are ideal, but children can use their imagination.

A collection of newspaper can also work well for one of the challenges if you don’t have a lot of construction paper or would rather not use a lot of the paper up.

The more construction paper you have the better. Plus any leftover is great to use for any paper arts and crafts too.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a stack of colorful construction paper.

STEM Activities for Kids – Clothes Pins

For one of the STEM challenges you will require several clothes pins. However, if you don’t have a collection of the pins, you can use play dough for the challenge. Clothes pin are best, but I know they can be trickier to get in some places.

STEM activity shows a bin tipped with clothes pins.

STEM for Kids – Paper Plates

Any type of paper plate will work. I typically use the dinner plate size, but if you only have the smaller size on hand, they can work as well. If you cannot get ahold of paper plates you can substitute sheets of construction paper or cardboard for the plates.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a stack of paper plates.

Plastic Cups

Any collection of plastic cups will work. For years I used the cheapest cups I could find, but I then had to replace them each year. I finally paid a bit more and got better quality cups and have now been using the same ones for years.

The more cups you can get the better. I would suggest about 50 cups for each child/group doing the STEM challenge. The more you supply kids the better because I’ve seen some amazing creations when I’ve provided hundreds of cups.

STEM challenge shows four towers of plastic cups.

10 STEM Activities for Kids – Plastic Building Blocks

If you are like me, you already have lots of these building blocks at home. Whether you have Lego or some other kind, you’ll need a collection of these for one of the challenges.

You’ll need more building blocks than are pictured, but you wont have to get your huge bin out for the STEM challenge.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a bin of plastic building blocks.

10 STEM Challenges – Materials – Tape

In general any type of tape you have at your house will work for the challenges it is needed for. I find that masking tape works best, but as long as it sticks well, then it will work for the challenges.

Glue will only work for one of the challenges, but tape will work for all of them. So make sure to have a few rolls of tape on hand.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows a stack of three rolls of tape.

STEM Material List and Certificates

Make sure to print your material list and get everything prepared. The program is created to run for 10 weeks, with one challenge each week, but you can do the challenges whenever it works for your program.

I’ve included a certificate to give children once they have completed all of the challenges.

10 exciting STEM Activities shows eight printable STEM checklists and certificates.

Running Your 10 Sessions of STEM Program

Some of the challenges will appeal more to some kids than others. This is always the case with activities, but encourage children to try them. In general, from doing STEM activities with hundreds of children every week for many years, kids tend to love all of them!

They love hands-on challenges and games.

The learning that come out of the activities is a bonus – and as a teacher, it always makes me really happy.

A link to the each of the activities can be found below. Check your email for the link, or this page for each activity. If it’s an activity you have seen or your child has done before, encourage your child(ren) to do it again.

They’ll hopefully remember what worked for them last time and create something even better this time.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity #1

Our first activity is a cup building tower. All you need are the jumbo popsicle sticks and a collection of plastic cups. The more cups and sticks that you have available, the better.

If you have a small figure, like a plastic animal or even a Lego character, try placing it on top of the kids creations to test how strong it is.

Click here to view Activity # 1 Cup Tower Building STEM Challenge

‘STEM’ Image from Clever Cat Creations

Download and print the STEM activity card for the Cup Tower for this activity. The card is available in the Free Library.

10 exciting stem activities shows a printable card that says "use the materials to create a tower. How tall can you build it?"

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity #2

This second activity is sure to be a favorite! Children are challenged to create a catapult using only popsicle sticks and tape. Once created they can have some fun, and compete as they test their catapults.

As they test and see how far their catapults can throw something, they can change and redesign their creations to improve it as they work.

Click here to view Activity #2 Popsicle Stick STEM Activity

The free activity cards are available for subscribers, from the Free Resource Library. There are two cards that you can choose from. One card has an example of the catapult children need to make. The other card simply has pictures of the materials. This card is more challenging because players have to figure out what the catapult needs to look like.

popsicle stick stem activity shows an activity card.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 3

Kids love playing with wooden blocks. The structures, and their imagination when creating are endless. Pull out the wooden blocks for this weeks STEM activity. All you need are the blocks. You can also print the activity cards, or just tell your kids each challenge of what to build.

Click here to view Activity 3 Building Blocks STEM Activity

There are several activity cards that you can use. One includes all eight challenges on one card, or you can print the mini cards that have four challenges on each card. You can also challenge children to create other things that you come up with as they build.

There is also a set of 100 activity cards available to purchase that can be used with wooden blocks or any building material.

stem building challenge shows a printable activity card.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 4

This hands-on STEM building challenge is always one that kids get really into. All you need are the jumbo popsicle sticks and clothes pins. If you have a small toy, or plastic animal it is a great addition to this challenge, but it is not necessary.

Click here to view Activity 4 Animal Home Building STEM Challenge

You can print the activity card to post with the materials, as a center for children to go to and build alone, or in small groups. You can even print the activity card and create small STEM building bags with all of the materials children will need in order to build the shelter.

10 exciting STEM activities shows an activity card that says make a home or shelter for an animal.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 5

If your kids are anything like mine, they love fast rides and roller coasters. For kids who loves these thrilling rides, they are sure to have some ideas of what makes a great ride. Loops or going backwards? Perhaps it’s the really tall rides they love.

Click here to view Activity 5 Roller Coaster Building STEM Challenge

Give kids the chance to create their own roller coaster using only construction paper and tape. This is a really simple STEM activity, but it’s one that creates pretty amazing results.

With just the two simple supplies, children are challenged to create their dream roller coaster. When kids are done, this project is a great opportunity to ask and talk to kids about what they have made.

10 exciting STEM activities shows an activity card that says "use the materials to create your dream roller coaster".

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 6

Grab some Lego and a sheet of construction paper for this weeks STEM challenge. Have children focus their building to create a bridge out of Lego that reaches across a stream (construction paper).

Click here to view Activity 6 Build a Bridge STEM Challenge

This is a great, hands-on activity that may seem simple at first, but requires lots of trial and error to create a bridge that not only stays out of the water, but also balances and stands without being held.

exciting stem activity shows an activity card that says build a bridge stem that says use the materials to build a bridge over the water.

For more bridge building ideas, check out a collection of 10 Easy Bridge Building STEM Challenges.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 7

What can you build with just popsicle sticks and tape? This STEM activity challenges children to design and build a boat using only these two, simple supplies.

Click here to view Activity 7 Build a Boat STEM Challenge

There may be some challenges children run into as they build and test their boat, but being able to find solutions for any problems that come up is what’s important. An activity card is available in the Free Resource Library, but only for a limited time.

boat building shows an activity card that says build a boat stem use the materials to build a boat that floats and holds a weight.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 8

With just tape and paper you can build an incredible structure. Let children explore with these two materials to see how they can change the paper to make it stronger and stable enough so that they can sit inside a paper house.

Click here to view Activity 8 Build a Paper House STEM Challenge

Create your paper house and explore what shapes help to make the house stronger and standing upright. Print the activity card for children to create a center to create a bag with the card and supplies for a STEM kit.

stem challenge shows an activity card that says paper house using the materials make a house that you can sit inside.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 9

Building structures are popular STEM activities, and are always a favorite. Creating a tower or building that is able to stand on its own is a great accomplishment for kids. It requires an understanding of balance, engineering and critical thinking.

Click here to view Activity 9 Build a Paper Tower

Once a paper tower has been created, try placing a small object, or weight on top. This adds an extra challenge because the structure has to be strong enough to stand on it’s own, but also stable enough to hold a weight.

stem activity shows an activity card that says paper tower stem create a tower with the materials that is tall and can stand freely.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Activity 10

The final STEM challenge in this collection of 10 exciting STEM activities is a tower building challenge. It is similar to other challenges in terms of challenging children to create a structure, but the materials for this are different, and very simple.

Click here to view Activity 10 Build a Tower

I love to do this challenge at school because all you need are paper and tape – something every classroom has!

Using just the two materials, children create a tower off the ground that can hold some weight. Children will experiment with different shapes and twists of the paper to create something strong and sturdy.

10 exciting STEM activities shows an activity card that says "build a structure out of paper that can hold a weight."

50 STEM Challenges with 15 Materials

Continue your STEM adventures as you keep it simple with 50 STEM Challenges using only 15 everyday materials. Print the task cards for a new adventure every week!

The program includes a marking rubric, task cards, activity and material list and much more!

Subscribe to Download Today

Join Hands-On Teaching Ideas to gain access to the Free Resource Library. In the library you will find an ever growing collection of free resources that you can download and use today. The supply list and certificates for the 10 Exciting STEM Activities can be found here along with much more!

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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

If you are looking for more Hands-On Teaching Ideas and STEM activities, check out this collection below of my favorite and most popular activities.

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