3 Fun STEM & STEAM Crafts for Kids
Forget those problem sets! Get your kids psyched about STEM and STEAM with interactive toys and crafts they can make at home. They’ll be amazed to see science, technology, engineering, and math in action in a setting that feels nothing like school.
Juice-Pouch Stomp Rocket
This rocket uses the power of compressed air to launch into the sky.
What You’ll Need: 1 flexible straw (that comes with the pouch), empty juice pouch, 1 standard straw, colored cardstock, washi tape (optional), modeling clay
What To Do:
1. Snip off the end of the flexible straw on an angle.
2. Insert the pointed end of the straw into the straw hole of the juice pouch.
3. Cut the second straw in half. This will be your rocket.
4. Make three trapezoids from cardstock, in the following dimensions: 3 in. (base) x 1 in. (height) x ¾ in. (top). Set two aside to be full fins. Cut the last one in half vertically.
5. Tape the full fins on each side of the straw. Don’t flatten the straw.
6. Tape one half-fin perpendicularly to each full fin as shown. Add washi tape to decorate the straw if desired.
7. Roll a small bit of clay into a ball. Add this to the top to seal the straw completely.
8. To launch the rocket, inflate the pouch by blowing into the flexible straw. Bend the flexible straw to aim and place the rocket straw over the end. Stomp down hard for liftoff!
P.S. If after some use, one of the straws cracks, simply replace it with a new one.
This simple machine uses stored energy (the tension in the rubber bands) to release a projectile (called the payload). Play around with the position of the stopper to get the maximum angle and distance for your launch—and have fun with colors and decorations.
What You’ll Need: Hole punch • Rectangular box, 3 unsharpened pencils, a few strong rubber bands, masking tape or glue, jar lid, paper clip
What To Do:
1. Punch a hole in a long side of the box, 3 in. from a short side. Punch a matching hole on the other side. The holes should be large enough for a pencil to rotate easily. Punch a third hole on the opposite short side; it should be centered and near the bottom.
2. Assemble the catapult arm: Join 2 pencils together perpendicularly to make an inverted lowercase t; secure them with rubber bands.
3. Tape or glue a small jar lid to the longer end of the arm as shown.
4. Wrap another rubber band around the shorter end of the arm using a slipknot.
5. Place the ends of the horizontal pencil in the side holes. Thread the tail of the slipknot (from Step 4) through the remaining hole, and knot a paper clip around the end to hold it in place.
6. Create a “stopper” for the catapult arm with the third pencil. Place it across the top of the box just in front of the arm; secure it in place by wrapping a large rubber band around one end of the pencil, under the box, and up and around the other end.
7. Load it up… and let ’er fly!
Looks are only half the challenge in this modern-art-meets-the-recycle-bin project: Your budding builders will need to be patient as they test to find the sweet spot to make it balance!
What You’ll Need: Cardboard, craft paint, paper-towel tube, 5-in. square piece of cardboard, hot glue, floral wire or pipe cleaners, beads, 12-in. bamboo skewer, sharp ends snipped off
What To Do:
1. Cut the cardboard into shapes; paint. Paint the paper-towel tube and square piece of cardboard. Let dry.
2. Flatten one end of the paper-towel tube; staple closed. Cut a small V-shaped notch in the center of the flattened end. This will be the fulcrum.
3. Glue the open end of the paper-towel tube to the cardboard square. Let dry.
4. Thread cardboard shapes, wire, and beads onto a long skewer, balancing and adjusting it on the notch. Continue adjusting, using tape if needed for security, until sculpture is balanced.