STEAM learning has been making its way into classrooms all around the world. What’s STEAM? STEAM is an instructional method of teaching that integrates science, technology, math and engineering with arts in order to foster critical thinking and help students problem solve creatively. But STEAM learning doesn’t have to stop in the classroom. Here’s some fun STEAM crafts to do with your kids at home.
This STEAM activity is intended to teach your children gravity through creating art. Gravity painting uses the earth’s gravitational pull to target the paint. You’ll need washable paint, water, a spoon or dropper, and poster board or cardboard. Dilute the paint with water so that it will drop easily and prop your poster board upright. Have your child drip different paint colors from the spoon so the paint slides down the side of your poster board. You can also turn your poster board in different directions to show how gravity directs the paint.
Once the paint is dried, you and your child can decorate the poster board with construction paper and markers.
Learning moment: Gravity is a force of attraction that exists between any two masses, any two bodies, any two particles. Gravity is not just the attraction between objects and the Earth. It is an attraction that exists between all objects, everywhere in the universe. Ask and explain real-life situations, such as, “Why do do leaves from the tree?” “Why does the Earth orbit around the sun?”
A simple, inexpensive STEAM experiment is to grow borax crystals that form your child’s name. First, your child will need to spell out their name using pipe cleaners. Your letters will be suspended in separate jars, so they must be small enough not to touch the sides (you can also create the entire name by attaching pipe cleaners if you want the borax crystals to be the same color). Once finished, suspend the pipe cleaning inside of your jar — you can tie it to a wooden spoon using yarn or fishing line.
Next fill the jar with your borax solution — about 3 tablespoons of borax per 1 cup of hot water. Squeeze in a few drops of food coloring to dye your solution.
Here’s comes the hard part! Set your jars in a safe place overnight and wait for the crystals to grow. After a couple of hours, you and your children can start to see crystals forming. The next day, take out your crystal letters to arrange your name!
Learning moment: When borax is dissolved in water, it created a suspension. A suspension is a mixture of solid particles (borax) that are large enough for sedimentation. As the borax settles, it crystalizes on surfaces it comes into contact with.
Here’s a fun and engaging STEAM project that teaches kids balance and the center of gravity by creating a balancing robot. Print out the free robot cutout on cardstock. You kids can color in their robots with crayons, colored pencils, or markers. To make the robot balance, you’ll want to stick two pennies in the backside of the robot’s hands, using tape or removable sticky putty. Then stick another robot on the backside so the pennies are hidden.
Learning moment: Now, time for some fun! The center of gravity is the imaginary point in a body of matter where the total weight of the body is concentrated. Show your kids how to balance the robot on your finger and various other surfaces. Move the pennies around and see how they balance on your kids’ fingers.
This STEAM activity demonstrates what happens to water when it evaporates. For this project, you’ll need a bowl of water, an eye dropper, crayons, watercolor paint, watercolor paper, a baking tray, tape, timer and a sunny window. Tape your paper to the baking tray to minimize the mess. Use the eyedropper to drop a puddle of water in the center of your paper. Have your children draw a circle around the puddle and set the timer (for about an hour). Have your children draw another circle in a different color around the puddle and continue this activity throughout the day. Pay attention to the order in which the circles were drawn.
Lastly, have fun decorating your evaporation documentation with watercolors!
Learning moment: Evaporation is the process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas or vapor. How did the puddle react? Did it get smaller when it evaporated? Follow the crayon circles to note the rate of evaporation.
This fun and simple STEAM activity experiments with chromatography. First, have your little one draw on a coffee filter with marker. You’ll want to lean toward brighter colors for the best results. Fill a jar ⅓ of the way with water. Fold your coffee filter in half, and repeat until it is narrow enough to fit into your jar. Attach your folded coffee filter to a popsicle stick or other long object with a binder clip and suspend your filter in the jar so the tip touches the water.
You and your child can watch the colors spread as the coffee filter soaks up the water. Once finished, unfold your paper and let it dry on a paper towel. You can create beautiful butterflies or flowers using pipe cleaners.
Learning moment: The ink in the markers are made from different colored dyes. The different chemicals spread at different speeds when met with water. Heavier dyes will slowly separate first and lighter dyes will move more quickly up the paper. Chromatography is used in chemistry and biology labs every day.
Do you have any STEAM-based creations that you’d like to share? Create a STEAM gallery on Creatubbles and exhibit your creations to a safe community around the world.