5 Great STEM Activities for Outdoors

Spring is here!  The beautiful weather calls us outside, and creates the perfect opportunity to bring learning outdoors.

Check out these ideas to encourage STEM learning while taking advantage of the great outdoors!

stem outdoors number 1

Build a film canister rocket!

Who doesn’t love a (safe) explosion?  Watch the interaction of pressure and volume as you combine water and a fizzy tablet in a contained space.  As the pressure builds, so does the excitement, until the big moment!

Find specific instructions, including a link for tracking down a film canister, here.

Find out which sunblock is best.

As the days get longer and we are exposed to more sunlight, skin protection becomes important.  Test the effectiveness of different kinds of sunblock with a UV bead experiment. UV beads are designed to change color in response to UV light, and sunblock is designed to block it.  

See how well it works with this simple experiment.  

stem outdoors number 2
stem outdoors number 3

Take a tech-enabled nature walk!

Usually we think of the outdoors as a place to escape from technology.  But with the right app, your outdoor experience can be enhanced. Try something like the Seek app from iNaturalist to identify the plants and animals you encounter in the great outdoors. Developed by a  joint Initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, the app is free and doesn’t collect any user data so you can feel safe using it while you explore.

Cook something using the sun!

We love this project because it turns a pizza box into an oven, so you get to eat the pizza first, and then use the box to reheat your leftovers!  Harness the power of the sun using only household items, and create an over that can get to 200 degrees. (Please consider food safety when doing this!)

Get oven-building instructions here.  

stem outdoors number 4
stem outdoors number 5

Create a homemade weather station.

Weather impacts us all, and can be very mysterious.  Dispel some of the mystery with a homemade weather station. Track temperature, rainfall, pressure, wind speed, and wind direction all using household items.  Then start a weather journal, and keep track of the weather patterns and changes you see over time.

Here’s your weather station how-to.  

MakeCrate engineering and coding projects can be great fun in the outdoors as well!  Subscriptions include projects to measure soil moisture in your garden, or create a weather station to see what’s happening outdoors.  Shop subscription kits today!