Start the school year off RIGHT! Parents and teachers are becoming increasingly aware that STEM activities should be introduced early on. In today's age of information, the ability to innovate, be technologically fluent and understand how and why things work together is incredibly important. But, finding easy STEM projects, activities or products for kids that a parent or teacher can facilitate isn't always that easy. With this in mind, we reached out to our amazing community of STEM educators, influencers and parents to find the top ways to get your child excited about STEM this year!

Here's the roll call!

 

Get Gross!

My top pick: Galaxy Slime
The "expert": Karyn Torigoe, STEM Learning Product Manager at the Great Lakes Science Center & Mom
Age Range: Preschool - above grade 5
Price: $
Where to find it: www.thebestideasforkids.com/galaxy-slime
Get to know the expert: GreatScience.com/CuriosityCorner

"Despite not wanting to love this as a parent, my kids are still very much into slime! We always try new 'recipes' which is great for conducting at-home experiments. It's a great sensory experience, inexpensive and a fun way to introduce chemistry and polymer concepts!"

Reach for the Stars


My top pick: Discovery Kids Planetarium Projector for Children
The "expert": Kristen Antosh, "Momgineering the Future" blogger & Mom
Age Range: Ages 3-5 years
Price: $$
Where to find it: www.amazon.com/gp/product
Get to know the expert: www.momgineeringthefuture.com

"If your child loves space like mine, they will absolutely adore this awesome planetarium! The projector is shaped like a space ship and has two projector modes: 1) the moving side which has a dome that rotates and projects stars like the night sky and 2) the stationary side that allows for four included reel discs for children to view space images like a nebula, the planets, the moon, the sun, galaxies, etc. The only downside is that the reel disc does not come with a "cheat sheet" to let you know what you're looking at - so make sure to do your homework ahead of time!"

Puzzle Fun


 

My top pick: Magnetic Mighty Mind and Super Mind
The "expert": Valerie Lobas, Thoughtful Neighbor blogger & Mom
Age Range: Grades 1-4
Price: $$
Where to find it: www.amazon.com/MightyMind
Get to know the expert: www.thoughtfulneighbor.com

"The included puzzles help kids begin to problem solve, learn spatial relationships and practice creativity! The puzzle cards build in different levels of difficulty so kids can continue to challenge themselves once they solve the easier cards. Plus, magnets and shapes are fun!"

Bright Ideas


My top pick:
 Electronic Snap Circuits by Elenco
The "expert": Valerie Lobas, Thoughtful Neighbor blogger & Mom
Age Range: Grades 1-4
Price: $$
Where to find it: www.elenco.com
Get to know the expert: www.thoughtfulneighbor.com

"Teach kids about electronics with this circuit set! The kit allows kids to build over 300 projects such as turning on a light, turning on a fan, operating an alarm and more. Follow the included experiments, or design your own circuit! A junior set and add-on parts are also available." 

Shape the Future

My top pick: Qubits Building Set
The "expert": Lisa, Volunteer at Schools & Libraries
Age Range: All ages and children with special needs
Price: $$$
Where to find it: www.qubitstoy.com

"Motivate your child or students to learn about modular design and geometric shapes. Kids will also strengthen problem-solving, organizational and planning skills as they engineer new designs. This can be especially useful for children with special needs by helping them focus their problem-solving skills into a geometric design. The time spent carefully positioning pieces allows many kids to 'chill out' from the activities that over stimulare them, such as video games."

Get Rollin'


My top pick:
 Sphero Coding Robot
The "expert": Karen Ann Linsley Guerrero, ASU/STEMSS Researcher
Age Range: All ages
Price: $$$$
Where to find it: www.sphero.com/education
Get to know the expert: @STEMSSeducator on Facebook

"Huge success for all ages! Sphero teaches programming and coding in a fun, hands-on way. Check out the different models - some outfitted with Bluetooth technology, programmable sensors, LED lights and gyroscopes - all in a scratch-resistant and durable shell." 

Reuse, Recycle & Create!


 

My top pick: Recycled materials
The "expert": Sarah, Teacher
Age Range: Grades 1-4
Price: $
Where to find it: Your house!
Get to know the expert: www.teacherspayteachers.com

"Let kids create and build stuff from cardboard, scraps of fabric, paper, plastic bottles, bit of old toys, etc. This is the perfect way to be budget friendly, support out-of-the-box thinking and be environmentally kind! When I design STEM challenges for my students, I make sure that I offer them choices in materials and remind them to always ask me to check the storage cabinet if they need a specific item that isn't already laid out. When I give my students the freedom to explore their own resources, I see much more creative designs and interesting solutions that I never would have anticipated."


 

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