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STEM Education (Science – Technology – Engineering – Math) has been a priority in many classrooms in recent years. My kids have a STEM lab at their school twice a week, and it’s their favorite class. Now that we are at home doing remote learning, it’s also one of the lessons they miss the most. We’ve gathered up some online resources and activities, with a focus on local businesses, that parents can do at home with their children to work on STEM principles (no engineering degree required!).
STEM Education at Home
Noggin Builders is your local source for unique STEM skills and creative problem-solving activities. Located in Northbrook with two locations, they offer camps and classes for preschool – 8th grade. They are currently offering STEM Explorer Boxes delivered to your home for $60/mo. Each box includes four weeks of themed activities, videos, optional extension activities, materials, online community, and interaction with a Noggin Builders Teacher.
Ages: available for PreK, grades K-2 and grades 3-5 – additional materials for multiple children options are available. Order online.
Camp Invention is one of our favorite summer STEM-related activities. Camp Invention’s Beyond the Classroom page offers fun and easy activities that you can do at home with children of all ages.
- Download the Camp Invention FREE STEM Activity Guide – the book includes 10 hands-on activities that you can do at home with basic materials. There are instructions for parents including insight into the inspiration for the project and what principles it teaches.
- Camp Invention’s blog is filled with even more activities and ideas for kids to work on at home from ocean clean-up projects to making rainbows
Ages: Camp and classes start at preschool and go through highschool. Online activities vary with the most being for grades k-6. Younger children will need more parental supervision and help.
Turn your older kids’ screen time into skills they will need in the future with online coding training from The Coder School North Shore. Children ages 7-18 receive a customized lesson plan and coach to learn the skills they’re interested in including game development, python, java, and even AI. Choose from one or two hours a week.
Ages: for children ages 7-18
The Museum of Science and Industry Science at home page includes hands-on science, videos, games, and behind the scenes at the museum.
Ages: elementary age and older
For parents that have the time and thrive being the teacher, PBS Learning Media has an educator site that is filled with fun and engaging activities in a content-based format filled with experiments, videos, and more. See Zoom on PBS Learning Media
Ages: PreK – Early elementary
Bit Space is offering virtual programs including how to create designs, 3D models, program robots, and more. Short workshops (2hrs daily) start at $24. They also offer a FREE 5-day design thinking challenge which is a great introduction to maker education and a way to start teaching design thinking. Grab it here.
Hand2mind is part of the Learning Resources family of companies, family-owned and operated here in Lake County. They have launched a [email protected] page with daily lessons and activities for students in kindergarten – fifth grade. You can filter the classes by subject or grade level and they are available in Spanish as well.
Tips for Making STEM at Home a Success:
- Dig into the themes and activities that your kid already loves. If they love cars and planes look for projects on those principles. Nature lovers can focus on environmental projects.
- Follow your children’s lead and know that the process of the project is more important than the outcome.
- Give them able room to create. I don’t mean physical space (although they may need that too!) I mean stand back and see what they can do with little to no help.
More Resources for STEM at Home:
- Natalie reviewed What’s Your STEM book, which offers up advice and activities to discover your child’s interest and potential in each of the core STEM fields.
- A Mighty Girl has a list of the Top 50 Science Toys and Kits (considering calling your local toy store – Brainstorm, Snicklefritz, Learning Express – to see what they have in stock from the list)
- Jen B The Science lady also shared here favorite STEM Learning toys (again try local first!)
- The College of Lake County has a resource page of STEM learning websites and Apps.
- MakerGirl – which is out of the U of I has an online curriculum that will include virtual sessions and a live q&A sign up here.
- Find maker projects of all types and more STEM education at the Maker Mom.
- Challenger Center has lesson plans and activities for grades 3-9
- Brainy Box is offering name your price kits for science and Montessori that will give you some screen-free educational options.
- Girls who Code are offering weekly Code at home lessons that include both online and offline components and various skill levels.
- BetaBox is offering two of its online coding and 3d design classes at no charge.
- Mystery Science is offering all it’s science lessons for free, no login needed, broken down my age from Kindergarten – 5th grade and is designed to use simple supplies you will have at home.
You can find more activities and projects on our STEM at home Pinterest board.
While there are probably hundreds more we could list here we wanted to focus on a few local ones or trusted resources. Got a local group doing awesome STEM classes? Tell us about it in the comments so we can add them to our list!
We still don’t know what summer has in store for us but these STEM camps are a great option. Many will be offering virtual options if in-person instruction is no available.
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