There are so many great STEM activities to do at home, but sometimes you do need some extra tools to make them happen. Here are the top two items that we would suggest you have on hand to make STEM exploration richer and easier.
1) Measuring Tools – STEM exploration involves a lot of measuring, and most folks have at least some basic measuring devices around their homes. You can measure length or size with a ruler, meter/yard stick or measuring tape. For small amounts of liquids, you can use a kitchen measuring cup. (Be sure to use it only for food safe items if you also use it in the kitchen or pick up an inexpensive one that you can dedicate to STEM exploration use only.) You can also measure weight using a kitchen scale (for smaller items) or a bathroom scale (for larger items). Remember to take time to teach children about how to measure well and how measurement works in the first place!
2) Observation Tools – Much of STEM exploration can happen with our own eyes, but we love having tools around that extend our abilities to see. Our first favorite is a simple magnifying lens. These can provide hours of fascination as you look together with your child at everything through that lens! Our second favorite option is a simple pair of binoculars. These will allow you to look at things farther away, and while these are a bit more of an investment, they are worth every penny. (Note: younger children might do better with a single scope monocular like this.) If your child is captivated with things even farther away, like the moon, planets and stars, a simple telescope would be our next suggestion.
Check out yard sales and thrift stores to find many of these items. No need to spend a lot of money! There are many more fun things to invest in to enhance STEM exploration, but if you concentrate on increasing the number of the items available related to measurement and observation in your home, you will see STEM-related exploration increase!