This is a guest post by Ashley Pereira and Briana Hernandez of careerinstem.com
We’re well into May now, which means that summer is just around the corner! Summer is a great time for the whole family; the kids are out of school, parents don’t have to shovel any more, and plenty of relaxing vacations and staycations! But what if you want to turn your trips into learning experiences? Or what if you’re home and you’ve run out of board games to play? Or when it’s after dark and the last s’more has been eaten? How do make learning fun, on vacation no less? How do you fill that time between now and bedtime with something cool AND educational? Well, we searched high and low here at Career In STEM, and we rounded up five fun, STEM-themed activities that are fun for the entire family!
One of the best way to get kids up and moving during the lazy days of summer vacation is through geocaching! Geocaching is the process of searching for geocaches – containers hidden by fellow Geocache explorers that are pre-approved by the Geocaching company. There are over three million caches across the globe, with the purpose of each cache being to bring you on an adventure, big or small. According to VeryWellFamily, these caches usually have logs to keep track of who’s found the cache, as well as artifacts from the surrounding area such as feathers or shells, and/or small Dollar Tree-esque store-bought toys for any kiddos that tagged along for the adventure to play with. Going geocaching is the perfect way to safely explore and treasure hunt, and is great for family road trips, too!
Citizen Science Projects
Citizen Science Projects is a way for kids to partner with scientists to simultaneously help them with their research and help the kids learn about various subjects first-hand. CSPs, in National Geographic’s words, consist of the volunteer and the scientists gathering data and doing hands-on research. National Geographic hosts a couple of CSPs, though a more exhaustive list can be found on Wikipedia. CSPs are great for kids of all ages, and your family will be helping to advance science!
If you’re staying local for your vacations, a trip to the library can be more fun than your kids expect it to be! Besides checking out books on your favorite STEM subject, you can also keep an eye out for any STEM-themed library events going on. Events such as book readings, learning to use social media and computer crash courses are all activities that your local library may be hosting.
Career connection! Career In STEM also offers an online career exploration course on Computer Science-related careers, starting in June!
A fun idea for a daycation, a trip to the beach gives moms and dads plenty of opportunities to teach kids about different eco systems; some scientific arts-and-craft projects can also come from a trip to the beach. Little Bins for Little Hands has directions for a few different beachy projects, such as creating a beach-in-a-bottle or crystal seashells. As for when you’re actually laying on sand, soaking up sun, you can take the time to show your little ones the different sea creatures that inhabit beaches, or explain to them how the moon affects the tides and waves.
State and National Parks
There are fifty-eight national parks in the United States, in addition to dozens of heritage areas and historic sites. If you’re taking a trip to a park, there will be tons of opportunities to teach your kids about geology, history and wildlife. The famous Yosemite National Park in California, for example, has camping spots, hosts an immersive Environmental Living Program and offers a Parks as Classrooms Ranger Program, where park rangers teach kids about an array of subjects ranging from flora and fauna to geology to watersheds! Also, if you’re going to multiple parks this summer, make sure to enroll in the National Park Travelers Club. The Club is for people who frequent national parks; you’ll be able to collect stamp cancellations to track what parks you’ve visited as well as gain full access to the NPTC Master Database. You can even earn certificates and awards if you visit enough parks!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to finding STEM activities for your family. With so many different events being hosted by different organizations, you’re sure to find something for every member of your family!