Summer is coming and that means we can take our learning outside with Summer STEM Activities! Nothing makes learning more exciting for my kids than learning outdoors. There’s something about the fresh air and freedom that just makes learning more captivating. In Canada, summer tends to fly by very quickly. Often it’s over before it feels like we have even started. To make sure all of our fun plans happen during our short summer window, I created a Summer STEM Activities bucket list.
Summer STEM Activities Bucket List
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Our bucket list is filled with things we have done before and want to repeat (and often make better), plus new activities that we want to explore and try. I’ve provided links so you can check out these activities in more detail and hopefully help inspire your summer STEM activities. I hope you enjoy our bucket list with it’s 20 Summer STEM Activities!
1 ~ Bottle Rockets
Always a huge hit and requested every single summer. Bottle rockets are even more fun with friends, so we are planning some rocket challenges and competitions. A simple chemical reaction sets these bottles blasting off.
2 ~ LEAK PROOF BAG
This Leak Proof Bag activity is so cool. I can’t wait to give it a try with the kids. The magical qualities of this science experiment are sure to keep them enthralled! And if we have some failures, we will just consider it a chance to water the lawn.
3 ~ Dino Eggs
Hatching these cute little eggs is fun for all ages with it’s spectacular chemical reactions. This year I might try hiding some new surprises in our eggs to keep the kids guessing! You can also make our gorgeous Erupting Rainbow Rocks. This is simple chemistry at its best!
4 ~ Oobleck
This stuff is mesmerizing. If you’ve never played with Oobleck make this your summer of oobleck awesomeness! Looking for a cool twist? Why not try Colour Changing Oobleck (a chemistry experiment) or Glow in the Dark Oobleck for those late nights? I also highly recommend testing out a few different Oobleck recipes to see which one you prefer. We were shocked to discover the cornstarch Oobleck recipe is not our favourite!
5 ~ Egg Drop
This is such a messy and amazing egg drop challenge! You can go the traditional route and build a contraption, or test out the incredible way Oobleck can be used in an Egg Drop challenge. Sure to be a massive hit! But definitely an outdoor challenge. It’s messy!
6 ~ Build a Pool Noodle Periscope
A great engineering challenge that explores the science of image refraction, this pool noodle periscope is a fun project and use for old pool noodles that will have your kids running about like spies!
7 ~ Family Hiking Adventures
I’m a big fan of hiking and learning geography by seeing it up close. We’ve hiked many places and learned lots over the years about hiking with kids and special needs. As the boys get older, our hikes together have become even more precious and special as we use the time to get away and really connect. Plus our nature discoveries are always fascinating!
8 ~ Water Lab
We really enjoyed digging into some real lab work with our water lab activity last fall. This summer we are going to spend some time collecting more water samples while doing a few of our family hikes. This will give us an even bigger sample set to study and compare.
9 ~ FOSSIL HUNTING
It’s been my dream since I was little to one day find an actual fossil. I’ve seen lots in museums but I’ve never actually found one, even though we live near some of the richest fossil deposits in the world. Maybe this year will be my year? It is also a great opportunity for those family hikes and lots of discussions around evolution, fossilization and identifying the differences between rocks and fossils.
10 ~ Play with solar power with a NASA S’more Oven
We had fun this past spring exploring solar heat but now the sun is going to be out in full force we want to try our hand at a solar oven to make s’mores. We found the design from NASA which drastically increases the cool factor. You can get the details here.
11 ~ Circuit Bugs and Circuit Flowers
12 ~ Make Giant Bubbles
I showed my son this article once, actually he saw the pictures over my shoulder while I was working one day and insisted on reading it. Since then he has been begging me to make gigantic bubbles. Well this summer it is going to happen! We can also use this as an opportunity to explore what ingredients allow these bubbles to get so huge.
13 ~ Learn to start a campfire with flint and steel
This is something my oldest really wants to master. Maybe once he masters flint and steel we can move on to some more Survivor type fire starting challenges involving friction. We found some great books I have added at the end of this article to help him learn and research these skills.
14 ~ Nerf Battles and building new courses
Engineering challenges indoors are delicate, small, intricate, but in summer we take our engineering challenges outdoors and also turn them into gross motor challenges with some great heavy lifting during our design process! Knowing my oldest, he will also be doing a lot of video production, which should keep him busy on those rainy days editing footage.
15 ~ TIRE OBSTACLE COURSE NINJA TRAINING
My kids love American Ninja Warriors and the tires from the Nerf Battlefield double as an excellent tire obstacle course for the kids to traverse, ninja style! Fantastic gross motor work in addition to the engineering and physics challenges they create with these obstacle courses.
16 ~ Run a lemonade stand
My oldest is interested in earning money and learning how to start a business. A lemonade stand is a fantastic way to start learning some of these entrepreneur skills, and to practice his math over the summer. He has been busy making all sorts of plans, including adding patio seating to his “restaurant”.
17 ~ Study of wind power
Over the winter we really enjoyed learning about wind power with our indoor engineering activity. This summer we want to take our wind studies outdoors with a few summer STEM activities and experiments. We are planning on building an anemometer and a kite.
18 ~ Build a water wheel
Ever since I first saw this Lego water wheel I’ve thought it would be such a fun build to do and I’m sure will provide many hours of fun!
19 ~ Gardening
We are blessed to live somewhere that allows us to have land and the opportunity to grow our own food in large gardens. Gardening has become a family affair this year and as my kids learn how the seeds sprout, flower, bear fruit and how to check when the food is ripe. I feel great that I’m connecting them with nature and the origins of how their food is created before it gets to their plates.
Plus we can use items from our garden to build a natural battery! We have built Lemon Batteries, Pumpkin Batteries and Potato Batteries! I wonder what else we can create a battery with from the garden???
20 ~ Make A Fairy Garden
Now I’m guessing ours will be Hobbit or Dinosaur or some other theme, but I want the boys to help me build some beautiful garden displays for the front of our home. It’s the kind of thing we couldn’t have when they were little (they would have been destroyed!), but now they are older I think they will really enjoy building something to welcome our guests. This is will involve understanding the needs of plants, some engineering, and the arts. Bringing our STEM to STEAM work!
BONUS! Don’t miss the Perseid Meteor shower in August!
MORE SUMMER STEM KITS AND BOOKs
Sometimes you need an “in the box” solution to help you get through those summer days when boredom is high and you need something new and fun to do. Here are a few STEM Kits and STEM Books we are looking forward to exploring this summer!
So that’s our list of 20 Summer STEM Activities that made it onto our bucket list! What are you going to try this summer? Did we miss any fantastic activities that should be added? Let me know!