As we head into summer vacation and many of us are still at home, I have curated a roundup of creative and fun and mostly free STEM activities your kids can do at home. I have included an assortment of opportunities that you can pick and choose from. You will find experiments, science activities, hands-on projects, games, live webinars, educational videos, and more!
And, if you are looking for more structured activities, here’s a collection of online STEM camps and classes your kids can attend at home this summer. These programs are delivered live and are led by instructors for a fee.
Need Father’s Day gift ideas? Here are four fun-filled science crafts your kids can make at home.
Want to keep your teen active this summer? Get ideas on how to engage your teen in at-home summer STEM projects. Consider volunteering—it’s a wonderful way for students to put their tech skills to good use. I just wrote a post about STEM volunteering with lots of ideas and options for teens. Finally, explore the possibility of publishing scientific research with JEI, a free science journal and virtual mentorship program for teens who want to publish their research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
MassRobotics and Mass Tech Collaborative are co-producing a new student-led virtual series called Robot Stories. The series features MA-based robotic industry icons Laurie Leshin, Colin Angle, Helen Greiner and Marc Raibert as they are interviewed by local high school students. These weekly STEM-focused webinars will give viewers the inside stories of well-known roboticists in Massachusetts and the opportunity to interact with them about the future of robotics. Registration is now open for all sessions. You can also view the recordings later.
Mark Coster, the driving force behind STEM Toy Expert, provides advice and reviews of the latest educational toys, plus STEM activities and resources to help busy parents and educators. I asked Mark what summer activities he recommends and here are two articles with lots of great ideas!
- Ultimate Boredom Buster: 101 Things to Do When Kids Are Bored
- 32 Cool Science Experiments for Kids (that are Fun AND Easy!)
The National Science Foundation would like to help educators, parents, and kids during these unprecedented times by sharing many of the informal educational resources it funds and has funded for the past seventy years. With museums and science centers closed across the nation due to COVID-19, the NSF has compiled a list of NSF-funded science organizations that are offering a variety of free virtual resources and experiences that families can enjoy from the safety and comfort of their home.
Boston DesignBuild Firm NE Design & Construction came up with a great idea to keep kids having fun and doing engineering projects at home during the quarantine. They delivered materials to families so that kids could do the Marble Run and Cardboard Boat challenges created by the James Dyson Foundation. It’s amazing what you can do with cardboard! Visit jamesdysonfoundation.com to view the challenges, download resources, and watch educational videos, and check out this marble run made by Boston-area kids.
Rosie Research has been running free online science weekday classes and will be having classes into June with new themes each week – it’s perfect for families looking for structure or help with science. Classes are live weekdays at 2:30pm EST on Youtube.com/c/RosieResearch.
Middle school students are invited to participate in a fun design challenge with the chance to showcase their designs through the Boston Children’s Museum. This free, distance-learning opportunity is about the Future of Construction, a webinar series featuring Suffolk Construction, Autodesk, MassRobotics, and others about how the construction industry is being transformed by the integration of new technologies such as robotics, 3D printing, and more. Engage in a fun design challenge to reimagine the city’s future!
TechGirlz is hosting free virtual workshops for girls in grades 6-8 about computer programming, cybersecurity, and web design and creation.
Apply to Girls Who Code’s Virtual Summer Immersion Program for an unforgettable summer experience! During this 2-week virtual program, students will learn the computer science skills needed to make an impact, get an inside look into the tech field, and join a supportive lifelong sisterhood — all while being virtually hosted by influential companies, like AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Disney, and more. Current 9th-11th grade girls and non-binary students are eligible to apply. SIP is free and need-based stipends of up to $300 are available for those who qualify. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, but classrooms are filling up fast!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Boston-native, Jessica Sanon, CEO and Founder of sySTEMic flow. Jessica is passionate about supporting and building economic capacity for women of color interested in pursuing a career in the STEM sector. sySTEMic flow is hosting an online educational session on July 18. This session will engage students with 3 fun STEM activities that your children can work on from the comfort of their homes. To participate, students must purchase the STEM kit ($50) that has the materials for the activities as well as a how-to video tutorial. Purchase your kit today or visit the website for more information.
MassBay Community College will host an online Summer STEM Sampler Workshop open to any high school student, teacher, or administrator on Thursday, July 16 from 10am-12:30 on Zoom. Students will be introduced to the STEM Division academic programs and non-curricular offerings and will learn about the types of jobs they can obtain with STEM degrees from MassBay. STEM Department Chairs (Engineering, Science, Biotechnology and Computer Science) and the STEM Starter Academy Director will be presenting, followed by an interactive Q&A session. Register now.
Haripriya Mehta, MIT grad (EE and CS) and president of MIT’s Society of Women Engineers, is teaching a six-week virtual machine learning bootcamp for high school students this summer. The course will be similar to the intro to machine learning class taught at MIT and will include other coding concepts that engineers are expected to know, but are not necessarily taught formally. Review the syllabus and apply by June 10. Applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis. Program cost: $600.
The Ligerbots, a Newton, MA High School Robotics Team, is offering a free virtual STEAM camp for kids this summer. Topics include math, Scratch, music, crafts, and science. Get the details and sign up here.
Finally, we’ve been playing a lot of games in my family during the quarantine and our new favorite game is Racko, a fast-paced card game for ages 8+.