With hot summer days around the corner and school out, it is time to start thinking about what you can do to entertain your kids. If at the same time you can keep them cool and help them learn then it is definitely a bonus! In this post, I have gathered some great water play activities your children will enjoy and I have added some observations about how you can add some STEM learning to them. All activities are low prep and lots of fun! So keep reading and check them out.
8 STEM Water Play Activities:
1. Build a rain gutter river from frugalfun4boys
This activity gets your children transferring water. This on its own is quite entertaining but here are some suggestions so you can sneak in some learning opportunities:
- What materials can you use to block the water from flowing? Which are better? Try out different materials and see what happens
- How can you get water to flow faster or slower?
2. Water transfer activity with sponges from livewellplaytogether
Such a great little activity with so much learning potential! This activity aims to teach toddlers about absorbency and again, water transferring. She offers questions and keywords at the end of the post so you’re good to go with this one!
3. Summer fun idea: How to make tinfoil rivers from 3littlegreenwoods
Another easy water activity that can wake up some STEM thinking. In this post, you will find an activity to build a river using only tinfoil! That’s it! So simple. The good thing about such simple activities is that you can add difficulty or challenges to it and keep the kids entertained. Some added challenges you could include with this activity:
- Obstacle course: Mark a starting point and ending point and add some obstacles they have to go through.
- Build a dam: to collect water at a certain point. What materials will they use to stop the water? Where will you put your water entrance and exit if you want to collect as much water as possible without blocking it?
- Build a bridge: How can they get water to go over a bridge? Does it need to go fast or slow?
- Water race: Make different rivers but they all have to have the same elements, for example, 4 curves (should they be close together or far apart?), a bridge that goes over a big stone, a dam with water entrance and exit diagonal from each other. Have a bucket at the end of each river and start pouring! See who is the first to fill up the bucket
4. Colored water play from messymotherhood
Water and colors! Such a good combination. With this activity, children get to explore mixing colors and finding out about new colors! Here are some color conversations you can have with your children while they are playing (or after as a reminder of the fun they had):
- What color combinations were you able to make?
- What happens when you mix colors in the same proportion? In different proportions (for example, 3 cups of red with 1 cup of blue)?
- What happens when you mix all colors?
- How many green/orange… tones can you create?
5. DIY Water wall for summer STEM from littlebinsforlittlehands
Engineering, science and math all in one! Making a water wall is a fun and engaging activity that has a lot of learning potential. Just making it and then playing with it, observing what happens when you pour water is great for learning but if you want to go a step further and challenge your kids to think a bit more you could include things like:
- Can you add an element to your wall to make water flow faster/slower?
- Can you exchange two pieces and keep the water flowing?
6. Water displacement experiment from happyhooligans
This great activity teaches kids about water displacement. She does a great job of explaining the concept and how to engage children with this activity. Some additional things you could do with older kids or to see if they grasped the concept:
- Categorize your stones by size or weight
- Make a couple of lines on your container and ask children to try and find the stone that will displace the water until that line
- Ask them to use the least possible number of stones to get the water out of the container
7. STEM experiment: float or sink from astemfulmind
A classic float or sink experiment. You can use it for all different ages. Just start collecting objects to see if they float or sink. If you want to dig a bit deeper this post will guide you on how to use the scientific method (with a free printable) to find out an answer to the question: Why do things float or sink? Let your little scientists discover how the world of water works!
8. Stick raft building STEM project from kidscraftroom
Another classic, build a boat or raft. This post is great and explains how they built a boat following an engineering design process. It also sneaks in some different challenges you could do. Great fun and learning!
That’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this round-up and that you have found some inspiration for some fun STEM water-play this summer!
For more information about STEM and how to transform your STEM activities at home, check out these posts:
Check out other fun STEM activities to sneak in some STEM learning:
- STEM activity: Build a pyramid and learn about shapes
- DIY math game with playdough
- STEM project: Engineer a house out of natural materials
- STEM challenge: The Tower of Random Things
Happy STEM learning,