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Once the buzz around the first day of school dies down, it doesn’t take long for that excitement to turn to grumbling. About two weeks into the new school year, they miss a lot of the carefree fun they had all summer.
Two classes that many students have a hard time engaging with once school starts again are math and science. For some children, the connections between numbers and scientific concepts and the real world just don’t add up. And, frankly, subjects are not always taught in the most interesting ways in school.
The good news for parents trying to find ways to inspire their kids to connect more with math and science is that you don’t need to be an expert to bring these unfairly maligned subjects to life in fun ways and interactive.
We found a variety of home projects that can get your students engaged in science and math content that don’t require worksheets or tedious study. In fact, all of these ideas should get your kids excited to keep working, regardless of the fact that they are actively using their math and science skills.
Use a 3D printer
One tool that can spark interest in science, math and engineering for everyone in the family is a 3D printer. These amazing machines take computer printers to the next dimension – literally! A 3D printer translates a three-dimensional model created on a computer and builds it, often from a plastic resin, using a layering technique.
When they first came out, the best 3D printers had a high price tag. Thankfully, these days, you don’t need to invest a lot of money to get the best 3D printer for personal projects. You can also find them on Amazon! If you live near a large public library, there’s also a chance that it has a 3D printer that members can use.
So how can a 3D printer be a gateway to the world of science and math for your bored student? When kids can see how an object is made from start to finish and then hold the final product, it makes more sense than just reading about it.
Many websites offer free designs that work with 3D printers. We love All3DP.com as a resource. They curate all kinds of projects from all over the internet for all ages, including an inflatable boat. This project can teach about gears, water displacement and swimming, even propulsion and propulsion!
Build cars with balloons and rockets
Almost everyone has balloons around the house waiting to be blown up and put to good use. Your young science explorer can build a balloon rocket with a straw, a balloon, two chairs, some tape and a long piece of string. You can get the full instructions on how to make a balloon rocket as one of 10 STEM activities you can do at home from Kiddie Academy.
Or, if you have more than one car enthusiast at home, how about taking the same principle and applying it to them?
If your child likes to build his own cars or already has a toy racing car that only needs an “engine”, he can add a balloon and a straw to harness the power of air for propulsion. It’s a great lesson about air pressure, thrust and momentum that will get them thinking about how these principles apply to larger machines.
Create a water cycle in a bag or bottle
Kids can create their own weather or water cycle at home to see firsthand how the atmosphere rains. We all remember the chart from our elementary and middle school classes that showed the water cycle, right?
But wouldn’t it be better for children to see how this process actually works?
Playosmo.com offers a simple water cycle experiment that the whole family can do using just a few simple items. You will need a resealable bag or bottle, water, food coloring and other things that are easily found around the house. The instructions are very easy to follow, come with worksheets and even discussion questions to help stimulate learning!
Learn the basics of coding with beads or legos
There’s a lot to love about this idea we found from Little Bins for Little Hands! It includes learning math skills and basic computer coding skills. And even little kids can do it! All you need to provide is either some colored beads or Lego bricks.
By combining the beads and bricks with the handy flyers from Little Bins for Little Hands, your child can learn about binary code, which is the mathematical language that computers use to “read” our commands.
Builders can create their own models based on this basic code, and it can be the basis for learning all kinds of new information about video game programming, computers, design, and more.
A little curiosity and some quick internet research will lead you to cool and fun projects for the whole family!
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