50 Simple STEM Activities using 15 Materials

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I started doing simple STEM activities with my children at home, and students at school, a few years ago. They all loved it! They were always excited when I brought in materials and gave them a chance to create, problem solve and use their imagination. Because of the learning and engagement I saw every time we did one of this projects, STEM activities have become a regular part of my teaching program.

One of the great things about STEM activities is that they don’t have to be expensive. As a teacher I wanted to find a collection of STEM activities and challenges that didn’t require expensive materials or a lot of prep.

I created this collection of 50 Simple STEM Activities using only 15 materials. Most of the materials are supplies you likely already have on hand, such as paper, elastics and scissors.

STEM activities are a great way to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills. The more of these skills mixed into the activity, the better.

simple STEM Activities shows a pinterest pin.

The collection of 50 STEM activities featured below are all hands-on building challenges. They each use, one or several of the 15 materials needed to do all of the challenges.

If you teach a STEM program, or simply want to bring more STEM to your child’s learning, this program is the perfect place to start. Print the activity cards, fill a bin with the 15 materials and you’re ready to go!

For more STEM activities, check out 10 Exciting STEM Activities with 10 Materials and the popular collection of 45+ STEM Challenge Ideas for Kids.

Simple STEM Activities Materials

There are 15 materials you will need in order to do the STEM challenges. The more of each material you can collect, the better. All of the 50 STEM activities in this program use some combination of the materials below. It may look like a lot of supplies, but keep in mind that it is for 50 different activities! You will need:

  • Wooden blocks
  • Construction paper
  • Clothes pins
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic building blocks
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ping pong ball
  • Large craft sticks (tongue depressors)
  • Playdough
  • Paper rolls
  • Elastics
  • Balloons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Straws

Once materials are used for a STEM challenge, hang onto any left over supplies and any other supplies that can be reused for your next STEM challenge. Many of the challenges allow the materials to be recycled and used again and again.

simple STEM Activities shows a printable booklet and sticks, elastics, clothes pins and blocks.

I’ve included an example below of a STEM bin I created in the past full of materials that I pulled from for each STEM challenge.

STEM challenge shows a bin with a bunch of building materials.

Once you have all of your materials collected, print the activity cards for the challenges.

Benefits of Simple STEM Activities

STEM activities are a great, and fun way to encourage essential skills. These challenges promote critical thinking, creativity, team work, and problem solving. Children learn that the process is as important, if not more important than the final result.

A key part of STEM challenges is trial and error. Encourage children to create and test their solution. If it doesn’t work, have them think about what does work, and what doesn’t and recreate based on what they have learned.

simple STEM Activities shows a cover page for the STEM activity resource.

If there is an activity in this collection that you think is going to be too challenging for your group of children, you can always alter the activity, or add more supplies, to make the activity easier. However, avoid helping children as soon as they run into problem. Part of the learning comes when children get stuck. Give them the chance to learn from their mistakes.

STEM Activity Printables

There are 50 activity cards included in the product for the STEM challenges. They are included in the resource in different formats. Print the format that works best for you.

printable for kids shows an image with a screenshot of all the 50 pages.

You can print the full page cards, half page or smaller (4 per page) activity cards. Each of the sets are included in black and white and color.

STEM for kids shows some of the pages included in the resource.

Beyond the activity cards, the resource also includes instructions on how to use the cards, a material list to help keep you organized as you collect materials, and a marking rubric if you are using the resource in a class setting.

Included in the printables, there is also information about STEM education, a student planning sheet, certificates for children upon completing STEM challenge(s) and a list of all of the activities.

If you are just starting your STEM program, these are great sheets and information to make setting up your program easy.

simple STEM Activities shows a few of the pages included in the STEM resource.

The title of the activity, the challenge as well as the materials needed are all listed on the activity card. A picture of the supplies needed is included to help children know what materials they can use for the challenge.

building activity card shows a challenge called wooden wonder that says create the tallest structure that stands freely.

Preparing Your STEM Activities

Whether you use the activities to keep kids busy on rainy days or plan a weekly STEM challenge virtually all year round, this resource is easy to set up and, with the exception of collecting materials, there is no extra prep work involved.

There are lots of different ways you can set up your STEM program. You can print the cover page with the activity cards to create individual packages for children to work through at their own pace, as one option.

Since I have been doing STEM activities in my classroom for several years, I have found that they make great centers!

simple STEM Activities shows a clear bin with a activity card on top and popsicle sticks inside.

Grab a collection of clear bins, print an activity card and attach the card to the top. Inside the bin, include the materials children need for the challenge.

simple STEM Activities shows a bin with materials inside and popsicle sticks, blocks and pins beside it.

For older children, you can print the smaller activity cards and attach them all with a ring. I laminated my set so that I can use them for many years. Children can choose an activity, and grab the supplies needed and begin creating.

Another way to use the activity cards is to print them and put them in a bag along with the supplies needed for the challenge. These make great kits, or gifts, to give to children to create with at home.

problem solving resource for kids shows someone holding printable activity cards held together with a ring.

Get your STEM program ready and prepared quickly and easily with the 50 simple STEM activities shown above.

Get all 50 of the activity cards and the other pages featured above in the resource. Click for more information. The program is on sale!

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