Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are four subjects that will never go out of season, especially today.
As your children prepare for or return from winter camps for kids, you can make the most out of your time together by creating ornaments that are both decorative and educational.
Try out the three awesome DIY projects listed below, and at the end of every activity, answer the following questions with your kids:
- What’s the plan?
- What part of it worked? What elements did not?
- What did we learn?
1. Statement Lantern
Create an indoor decor piece that will showcase your kids’ creativity and personality with this lantern project.
Tools and Materials:
- 1 big plastic cup
- 1 smaller plastic cup
- Decorative materials (e.g., glittery beads, pompoms, pipe cleaners, tinsel, etc.)
- Food coloring
- 1 battery-operated candle
- Select the decorations you want to put in your lantern. Pipe cleaners are recommended because they can be twisted and spiraled up the outer part of the large cup. These can serve as the garland to which you can attach all the other baubles.
- Place the beads, pompoms, and other decorations you like on the garland. You need to make sure they’re balanced, which could be a bit challenging since they might move once you pour the water. Don’t stress about it too much.
- Once you’re happy with how your decorations look, slide the small cup into the large cup. Keep it in place using tape until the top of both cups are flush together.
- Pour water carefully into the space between the two cups. You may need to put something heavy inside the smaller cup to weigh it down and prevent it from floating up.
- Make sure the water only reaches a few centimeters below the top of the cup.
- Add several drops of food coloring to tint the water with your preferred hues.
- Put it in the freezer for about five hours or until the water is completely frozen.
- Remove the small cup first, then carefully do the same with the larger cup. You can use scissors to cut them to make peeling them off easier, but be extra careful.
- Place a battery-operated candle inside to light your lantern without melting it.
2. Bath Bombs
STEM camps for kids hone children’s natural curiosity. And when it comes to objects of curiosity, bath bombs definitely fit the bill.
Tools and Materials:
- Baking soda
- Citric acid or cream of tartar
- Olive oil
- Food coloring, spices, and essential oils (all optional)
- Clear acrylic ball ornaments, ice ball molds, or big easter eggs
- Coins, toys, or other trinkets that are about 1/3 of the diameter of the mold
- Create the bath bomb mixture using a recipe of your choice. You can find plenty of these online.
- Prepare the trinkets and molds you plan to use.
- If you use a mold divided into two, begin filling up one half with the bath bomb mix. Make sure to compact each layer.
- Once it’s about a third full, place the surprise item at the center. Cover it with more layers of the bath bomb mixture.
- If the first half of the mold is already two-thirds full, put a ribbon. Do the same for the other half.
- Don’t compact the last layer of the mixture into the mold. Let it pile and quickly snap the two halves together.
- Allow the bath bomb ornaments to dry overnight inside their molds. Take them out the following day and hang them on by the ribbon.
3. Coded Ornaments
Who says you can’t code fun times?
Binary code (the base 10 computation system that uses 1 and 0 to represent data) can be equally organized and creative as décor to STEM-ify any space in your home. Try this technology-themed activity with your kids and make the project an avenue for learning.
Tools and Materials:
- Plastic or wooden beads
- Pipe cleaners or fuzzy wires
Important Note: If your kids aren’t versed in the binary codes yet, you must first discuss the subject before starting the project. To make it easier, explain to them that the binary code is like a computer’s DNA, which helps them execute programs and commands.
- Decide on a phrase you want to use. Your child’s nickname is also short, simple and sweet.
- Look up the translation of letter coding in binary.
- Assign a colored bead to a code. Following the binary code pattern of the word you’ve selected, thread each bead accordingly.
- Once done, you can hang it, frame it, or wear it!
If your kids thoroughly enjoyed this activity, they might also be interested in enrolling in some technology courses. There are a growing number of young programmers today, and your child could be one of them.
Never Stop Learning
Bonding moments with your child can also be an avenue for STEM learning.
Try the activities listed here and teach your children to never stop learning while having fun.
AMAN BURMAN - Researcher at Premier Genie FZ LLC