Anyone who has been a teacher or a parent knows how difficult it is to keep a child (of any age) focused on school or work when they’re excited about something. Whether that something is a vacation or holiday, a party, or a break from school, our challenge as the adult is to keep the kids occupied and focused. With that in mind, we have put together a list of STEAM challenges that can be used in situations such as these. These are perfect challenges for teachers, parents, or any adult or babysitter to use with kids, both in school or over summer or other break from school.
Encourage the students to explore by reminding them that there are no wrong ways to do things (although you should always explain safety precautions before doing any any of these). If the students are old enough, encourage them to keep a log of their ideas and findings, including any hypotheses they may have, as well as sketches and notes of successes and failures (both are important!). If students are younger, encourage them to draw pictures of what they expect and then what they actually see.
If you have kids who are more artistic, have them draw pictures of their ideas. If you have “project managers” (organized kids who like to tell others what to do and how to do it), let them come up with an outline and a plan and help others execute it. Try to recognize each kid’s gift(s).
Build a Roller Coaster (easily adaptable to all ages)
Building Projects for Elementary (this could be adapted to older students as well by adding additional challenges: build a bridge that will hold a certain amount of weight; build a crate that will keep an egg intact when dropped from different heights; etc…)
Whose Bounces the Most Times?