10 Exciting STEM Activities with Just 10 Materials


Join me this summer for 10 Saturdays of STEM! Get ready for ten building challenges using a total of ten simple materials. Start your summer right with these 10 exciting STEM activities! There’s no cost to join the program. Simply collect the 10 supplies and you’re ready to go for the whole summer!

This program will officially start next weekend on July 1st. This week (June 25th) is simply a chance to get the materials ready/collected. Then each Saturday, for the next ten weeks, I will email subscribers the STEM activity for the week.

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

You don’t have to do the STEM challenge on Saturday when it arrives in your inbox. You’ve got the whole week to fit it in when it works for you! And for those weeks you don’t have time, try two STEM challenges the next week. It’s all just for fun, so do what works for you.

Gather the materials ahead of time and have your STEM bin ready. This way there’s no prep or work involved throughout the summer. Simply open your Saturday STEM email from me, pull out the supplies you need and your kids do the rest!

The other great thing about doing these challenges during the summer is that you can give your kids unlimited time to work, create and build. During the year in the classroom I try to give my students as much time as possible to work on their STEM activities, but inevitably the bell rings and the time is up.

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 the summer allows for the freedom of letting children build for as long as they want. You’ll be amazed at what they can come up with.

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

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.

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 summer 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 to try all summer long!

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

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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 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.

(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 child (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 more of each material the better.

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!

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. If you are following me from the beginning of the 10 week program, you will notice that I have not posted any of the actual STEM activities yet.

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

This is because I will release through email each week’s activity to subscribers on Saturdays. I will add each week’s activity to the list below as it happens. This week, we’re just focusing on gathering materials.

Planning Ahead

Although I will send out each week’s activity on Saturday, you are welcome to do the activity whenever works for you and do as many of the challenges you want. The days I will send out the activities are listed below. Mark your calendars:


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.

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

I have scheduled the STEM activity that requires the paper rolls to be one of the later weeks in the summer. Therefore, don’t worry about having a huge collection right away. 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 it throughout the month to get as many as you can in time for late August. 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 it 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 during the summer 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 though 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 work 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 this week to get everything prepared. I’ve tried to make the list as simple as possible and I hope you’ll join me this summer as we work our way through each of the challenges.

Since the program will run for 10 weeks, with one challenge each week, I’ve included a certificate to give children once they have completed each challenge.

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

Running Your 10 Sessions of STEM Program

I will be sending out the STEM challenge every Saturday to subscriber’s email. You can do the challenge any time during the week that works for you. It doesn’t have to be done on Saturday.

If you run a camp throughout the summer, you can aim to have a STEM challenge every Wednesday for example. Or if Thursdays are quiet days at home, maybe you could add a STEM activity to your plans.

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 activity will be found below once the day arrives. 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.

If you have any questions this week before we start, feel free to email me: kelly@teachingideas.ca

Otherwise, start filling your bin with materials and I hope you’ll join me each week for the 10 exciting STEM activities.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Week 1

Our activity for WEEK 1 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.

I’d love to see what your kids come up with!

Click here to view Week 1 Cup Tower Building STEM Challenge

‘STEM’ Image from Clever Cat Creations

Download and print the STEM activity card for the Cup Tower for Week 1. The card is available in the Free Library.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Week 2

Week two 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 Week 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 – Week 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 Week 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 – Week 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 Week 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 – Week 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 Week 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 – Week 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 Week 6 Build a Bridge STEM Challenge

exciting stem activities shows a image for week 6 bridge building.

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.

10 Exciting STEM Activities – Week 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 Week 7 Build a Boat STEM Challenge

stem shows an image for build a boat challenge for week 7 and a picture of a DIY stem boat.

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 – Week 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 Week 8 Build a Paper House STEM Challenge

stem sessions shows a image for a paper house stem challeng.

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 – Week 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 Week 9 Build a Paper Tower

stem activity shows a paper tower image.

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.

Coming Soon!

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!

By subscribing you will also be the first to learn about each week’s activity and other activities, products and promotions from Hands-On Teaching Ideas.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.