A few weeks ago, I took some time off to visit family and help entertain my little nieces and nephews. The kids are at that age where they love to learn about the world around them. They’re eager to ask questions about dragonflies, oak trees, and sunrises. Unfortunately, they are also at that age where they have much, much more energy than I do. If you are a parent, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Summer itself is a great time for learning. Kids are usually outdoors, which has a myriad of health benefits for humans both young and old. They are also frequently engaged in unstructured play, which is great for fostering curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. But how do we keep up with their boundless energy? Well, one method is by introducing some fun, STEM-themed activities that will help them learn and stay focused at the same time!

Keeping Curiosity Alive

In order to help students stay active during the summer season, Van Andel Institute for Education created a list of fun, educational activities that students can do in their own backyard! We call it, Keep Curiosity Alive, and here are just a few ideas that can help you unleash your kids’ creative energy:

  • DIY Sprinkler (VAI) I K-12
    The weather is warming up, so that calls for some cool down science. Design your own sprinkler with this warm weather challenge, keeping an eye out for a surprise in the sky!
    DIY Sprinkler
  • Ice Cream in a Bag (VAI) I 4-8
    Get a TASTE for science with this delicious investigation! Try your hand at making an edible experiment that you can make your own!
    Ice Cream in a Bag
  • Homemade Thermometer (VAI) I 3-8
    Using some recycled materials, engineer your own thermometer and learn the science behind temperature and how we measure it.
    Homemade Thermometer
  • Rockin’ Rockets (VAI) I 4-12
    Become a rocket scientist with this simple activity! Design rockets out of everyday materials, test variables, and discover what makes a rocket fly!
    Rockin’ Rockets
  • Squirrel Feeder (VAI) I 2-12
    Everybody loves bird feeders; they see squirrels as nuisances. But squirrels are intelligent and amazing creatures! Try this engineering challenge to foster love and appreciation for sensational squirrels!
    Squirrel Feeder
Remember…Have Fun!

With these activities, you can challenge kids to think creatively while encouraging a culture of play and outdoor engagement. Do one or do them all – the choice is yours! We hope you all are enjoying your summer season. Remember to stay curious and be sure to check out our other free resources that help make learning memorable, meaningful, and fun!

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