After a summer of exploring, learning and relaxing, it’s time for kids to return to go back to school. If you want to help your kids brush up on their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), you can help them get back in the swing of thing with fun and creative activities. We’ve compiled a list of informative and fun end of summer activities that can help prepare your kids for a great school year.
There are many summer activities that could help your kids polish rusty science skills before the end of the summer. One activity for younger kids is a game of Lego excavation. Freeze a Lego or other small toy in a block of ice and have your child try out different strategies for freeing the toy. The game follows the scientific method (hypothesis, strategy, test and conclusion) and it can also be a fun way to cool down on a hot day.
Another late summer activity is reading “Cricket Thermometers”. According to the Scientific American, the outside temperature affects the crickets’ body chemistry that allows chirping to occur. As the temperature drops, the chirping gets slower. To read the temperature from crickets, head outside with a stopwatch when the night temperature is around 50-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Have your kids count how many chirps they hear as you time out 14 seconds on the watch. Adding 40 to the number of chirps will give your children the approximate Fahrenheit temperature. If your kids are curious about other summer bugs and their interactions, have them check out the Bug Guide to brush up on insect biology.
Getting back into the swing of schoolwork and discovery can be exciting. Your kids can refresh their studies by playing computer games such as those on Kinetic City. The site is run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and includes several free games designed to help kids remember the basics of science and math they learn in the classroom.
Online games can also teach kids about the technology itself. Some free online games help your kids learn code, for example, and they can learn what goes into creating the very games they have spent their summers playing. One such site is Scratch, a site invented by MIT to teach code. Parents and kids alike can play games while learning the basics of coding.
Put the leftover materials from s’mores and popsicles to good use and help your kids refresh their engineering skills by seeing who can build the biggest tower or the strongest bridge with marshmallows, toothpicks, popsicle sticks and whatever else you have lying around the house. Your kids can have fun, create structures, and even have a fun snack at the end.
For more on building and engineering, your kids can go online to PBS Kids. They might not be able to knock over your structures by hand, but they can construct roller coasters, stack shipping containers or help the Cat in the Hat solve his engineering problems.
Does your family go back to school shopping every year? Have your kids help out by setting a budget and adding up all of the supplies they’ll need. This will involve them in the process and refresh their math skills for the coming year. To add another element for older kids, have them race against the cashier by seeing if they can add up the items faster than he or she can.
Looking for online math games? Websites such as Cool Math, Math Blaster and Math Playground can all help your kids find the fun in math.
Looking for even more end or summer activities? Consider signing your kids up for a local 4-H club. 4-H is an organization that can help encourage your kids to be active and involved in STEM at the same time! And, you can find a local club no matter where your family lives. With camps, after-school and in-school programs, 4-H helps your kids stay involved. You can make sure your kids start the school year strong so they’ll be fully ready to tackle any math problem or class that this school year brings them.