With the summer holidays well underway you might be looking for ways to encourage your kids away from their screens or games consoles. With STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematic) subjects coming to the fore for many primary and secondary schools, you can encourage your children to engage in these areas with some hands-on and fun science projects.
Make a weather station
We already know that global warming is having an impact on British weather, with the MET office confirming we’re experiencing warmer and wetter weather, so why not create a weather station to document the changing weather and see if you can spot any patterns.
This is the perfect project no matter how old your child is, and you can add more items to your weather station throughout the holidays. Using materials, you have around the house you can create a weather vane, anemometer, windsock, rain gauge, and even a thermometer.
Build a homemade robot
Who doesn’t want a robot? With the help of an Arduino kit any one can expand their electronics and programming experience, building a robot is not only easy but great fun for those rainy summer days. The mBot Mega is great as an entry level homemade robot – and includes 4WD mecanum wheels for playing in the park. It also supports Arduino IDE and Scratch and is available with three preset modes, so getting started is easy and can be tailored for your child’s experience.
Create a volcano
Take your artistic skills to the next level with a volcano. We all know how to make the iconic Tracy Island (!) and now you can create an extra bit of jeopardy. With some items you’re sure to have around the kitchen you can create a true reaction. All you need is a small container, sand, 2 spoonsful of baking soda or bicarb, 1 spoonful of washing up liquid, a few drops of red and yellow food colouring (for a realistic eruption!), 30ml of vinegar, and if you want to limit the amount of mess some clingfilm.
Using the sand create your volcano shape and add the container to the centre, add everything except the vinegar – and when you’re ready pour in the vinegar and watch the eruption.
Design a bug hotel
Create a safe haven for creepy crawlies in your garden and watch the ecology change. Creating a bug hotel is a great activity and is perfect as summer turns to autumn. It can shelter anything from hedgehogs to toads, solitary bees and bumblebees, and ladybirds and woodlice.
Go on a woodland walk to collect your materials, like twigs, pinecones, leaves, dry grass, and hollow plant stems. Once you’ve gathered your materials you can design the hotel however you like. Remember to place it in a sheltered part of your garden.