Summer STEM Activities: Ignite Learning and Fun Under the Sun

Girl playing with dolls in front of dollhouse

In addition to chilling out, going to the pool and beach, and enjoying plenty of outdoor time in general, summer is a great time for kids to combine play with learning with hands-on STEM activities. Many of these activities can even be done outside and adapted for kids of all ages.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities are ideal for developing problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and other cognitive skills and are perfect for getting your kids engaged in screen-free activities.

Check out the various categories of summer STEM activities below. You can add some of the suggested activities to your weekly summer agenda and use them to inspire other STEM activity ideas

Unleash Creativity with STEM Activities That Use Paper

Get ready to fold, cut, and experiment with paper! Paper is an easily accessible and versatile material and can be used for many creative STEM projects. Transforming a sheet of paper into a bridge, a plane, or a geometric model is an awesome way to demonstrate engineering and science concepts. Here are some fun paper STEM activities to try:

Origami Challenges

Origami fosters an understanding of geometry and enhances spatial awareness. Beginning with simple folds, then progressing to more intricate designs, this craft cultivates both patience and precision.

You can even have an origami challenge that involves folding a different origami model each day for the entire summer (or a shorter period of time)!

Paper Circuits

Design a paper circuit (a low-voltage electrical circuit made on paper, using copper tape and surface-mount LEDs). Experiment with layouts and parts and have fun watching your paper creations light up!

Make Paper Airplanes

Explore aerodynamics by crafting paper airplanes (or kites!). Creative designs spark imagination and working together to create a design that works enhances learning.

Dive Into Fun with Easy No-Prep STEM Activities

Busy schedules? No problem! Busy families love no-prep STEM activities for their effortless setup and big learning impact.
Explore hands-on STEM activities that require minimal setup but yield maximum learning. Here are a few ideas:

  • Trace shadows at different times to learn about the Earth's rotation
  • Create vinegar and baking soda volcanoes to observe chemical reactions.
  • Build simple machines with paper to understand mechanical principles.
  • Use natural elements like leaves for pattern and symmetry activities.

Explore Nature with Outdoor STEM Activities

Take the fun and learning outside and embrace the wonders of nature. Outdoor STEM activities let you explore science in nature, blending physical activity with ecological learning.
From scavenger hunts to DIY weather stations, there's something for every budding scientist.

Scavenger Hunts

Organizing a nature scavenger hunt involves setting STEM learning objectives like identifying plant species and collecting simple data from the environment. You’ll want to include tasks that challenge kids to solve problems and encourage documenting findings in a nature journal to track progress and observations.

DIY Weather Stations

Set up a basic weather station at home with everyday items to track atmospheric changes to teach kids about weather science. Regularly observe and note variations for ongoing analysis. Some other outdoor STEM activities you can try are building sundials to merge history with science and exploring community gardens to learn about ecosystem roles.

Roar Into Action with Dinosaur-Themed STEM Activities

Travel back in time to the age of dinosaurs! Dinosaur STEM activities merge fact and fantasy, enlightening young minds on prehistoric life through engaging, hands-on experiences. Excavate fossils and engineer dino habitats to uncover the mysteries of these prehistoric giants.

Excavate Fossils

Create a mock excavation site, strategically bury 'fossils', and methodically unearth them. Emphasize hypothesis-making and careful observation.

Engineer Dinosaur Habitats

Use materials to recreate dinosaur habitats, factoring in climate and vegetation. Research dinosaur species for accuracy, linking biology, earth science, and engineering.

Our Adventure Tracks™: Dino World Volcano Escape will make a great addition to any dino-themed summer play (and train play is another fun way to explore STEM concepts!).

Reach for the Stars with Space-Themed STEM Activities

Explore physics with space-themed STEM activities. These activities build curiosity about our universe by blending science with imagination.

Blast off into outer space and beyond and ignite a passion for the cosmos while building rockets, creating constellations, and more.

Build Rockets

Building simple rockets will teach kids to master rocketry and aerodynamics. Making design variations will teach kids about forces and motion. Once the rockets are built, prepare for a thrilling launch!

Take the space exploration fun even further by letting kids simulate a launch from inside their very own spaceship! They’ll love piloting this full-scale rocket cockpit, equipped with lights, sounds, a projecting galaxy map, and rocking motion to create an exciting atmosphere perfect for little space explorers.

Create Constellations

Create constellation maps or models with accessible materials, linking science to culture through history and mythology. Also view the sky at night and jot down observations in a notebook.

Enjoy a STEM-Filled Summer

Ready to make this summer unforgettable? Explore KidKraft's STEM-inspired toys and outdoor playsets to keep learning alive and watch your child's curiosity ignite.