3 STEAM Activities to Try in the New Year

STEAM is a growing movement that gears students toward innovation, problem-solving, and high-level critical thinking. Incorporating the arts into academics teaches students valuable skills, while simultaneously aiming to deepen math and science concepts in insightful and interactive ways. There are a plethora of STEAM activities to try in 2019, specifically ones involving building structures, growing plants, and exploring nature.

Looking to find new projects to enhance your student’s education? Keep reading to discover three STEAM activities to try in the new year.

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STEAM activity #1: build creative structures

The most basic toys—such as LEGOs or wooden building blocks—are a wonderful foundation for STEAM. You can get creative with materials you already have at home, such as cardboard, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, and toothpicks. Challenge your student to see who can build the tallest tower or the longest bridge. You might also consider constructing other types of structures beyond traditional buildings, like boats and roller coasters. If your child would like a more advanced challenge, try building a rocket or a catapult. Encourage your student to consider how different materials provide advantages or disadvantages depending on their properties.

STEAM activity #2: grow a garden

Another excellent STEAM activity is to steward growth of some kind. This can be a houseplant or even a garden—if you have the space at home or at a community garden plot. Besides these more conventional projects, have your student work on their own container garden, like a miniature greenhouse in a soda bottle or glass jar that your child can decorate. Try growing a crop like sprouts, which work great on a small scale. These long-term activities will allow your student to observe changes over time and to watch how shifts in temperature, water, and air affect the ingredients.

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STEAM activity #3: explore nature

Teach your student to spend time watching how items grow in nature. Take a walk and observe whatever you can find at a park or in your backyard, recording it via a medium like drawing—a tree, fallen leaves, or even snow. Encourage your child to ask and answer questions, such as the following:

  • What happens to snow on the first day it falls, and each day after?

  • How is the growth that you see outside during winter different from that in the fall or spring?

  • What has persisted through the winter months in your specific area?

When you happen upon interesting plants or trees that interest your student in some way, research them when you get home. Have your child incorporate any items that they can safely take home into their art projects as well.

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While many STEAM projects can be done for free with items you find outside or at home, you can also check out kits made especially with STEAM in mind. Do an online search of kits that you could either purchase or recreate at home with your own materials. Also, don’t forget about resources, including your student’s teacher or local library, that could provide you with more inspiration for STEAM activities in 2019.


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