Here’s 5 Awesome STEM Resources to Stop Kids at Home Saying “I’m Bored!”
These days, we have more on our plates than we ever thought we would! Between filling already crammed schedules with homeschooling requirements and eight additional hours in which to provide care to our children, it can be tough to find time to juggle all of our responsibilities as a stay at home dad.
We also know that our kids need even greater skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology (STEM) to excel in a competitive marketplace for work. Why not tackle both issues at the same time! Read on for STEM resources to keep your kids’ minds and hands engaged while you get your work done!
1. Boredom Busters
Boredom busters are simple activities, likely completed with materials you already have in your home. The best way to utilize these activities is through organization and preparation. Sit down with your child the night before a busy day and select two or three that they will engage with during their free time in the subsequent day. Gather the instructions and materials together, placing what’s needed for each activity into a large plastic bag. Put these bags in a designated spot in your home so that when your child needs a break or a last minute activity, they can self select and work independently rather than interrupting your morning meeting with a loud, “I’m bored” yell from the living room.
2. Get a New STEM Toy
Nothing will keep your child busier than a brand new toy! If you want the benefit of a brand new gadget without the guilt of a frivolous purchase, check out our list of this year’s best STEM toys. We know that you’re bound to find something that your child doesn’t have with this list. We also know that with quality, science-based options like this, you’ll be dazzled by how much time you can buy yourself to catch up on housework or homeschool a younger sibling. Be mindful–some of the options on this list have not yet been released. Bring a sense of wonder and mystery to your home by telling your child you’ve ordered them a toy that you can guarantee none of their friends have yet!
3. Browse STEAM Apps and Sites
If your child is a technology fan, you’ll love this list of STEAM games, apps, and websites. Hosting over forty different sites designed to give your child’s brain a workout, find websites that will allow your child to simulate a rocket launch into space or get a jumpstart on their coding skills. Best of all, CommonSenseMedia, the website who created this list, has age ratings and detailed explanations on all of their materials. Hand your iPad over without feeling any stress, because CommonSenseMedia will tell you exactly what your child is (or isn’t!) ready for.
4. Participate in Virtual Experiments
Feeling like you want your child to get all of the benefits of a hands-on experiment, but concerned about your ability to find the time? Have no fear, STEM-works is here! STEM-works offers detailed videos and simulations that will give your child the feel of a mission to Jupiter or a deep space voyage with none of the costly fuel expenses for you! This site offers a curated list of topics meant to engage children. Furthermore, if you’d like to raise the educational lift, it offers articles and quizzes that can be tacked on to your child’s adventures!
5. Subscribe to a STEM Box
Now, more than ever, STEM boxes come in a vast array of age and interest levels. STEM boxes, typically shipped monthly, contain activities, instructions, and all of the materials required to engage with the variety of science that you have chosen to subscribe to. From Kiwi Crates’ build-you-own catapult to GoBox’s build-your-own robot, the possibilities are truly endless with subscription boxes. Be sure to lookout for boxes with a STEAM or literacy emphasis, as they will contain science experiments that additionally incorporate art and books.
Engage your kids in STEM (and get something done!)
The great thing about STEM activities is that they engage kids’ natural curiosity, while being open-ended and leading to valuable skills. And as a stay at home dad, if you need more time to finish your work, there’s always another experiment they can try!
Mark Coster, Ph.D. is an online entrepreneur and the driving force behind the STEM-focused websites, STEM Toy Expert and Organic Chemistry Explained. With 20 years experience in chemistry education and research, and 3 willing children as guinea pigs, Mark has a passion for inspiring kids and adults to combine fun and learning with STEM Toys!