Kids STEM Guide – Encouraging STEM Activities for K-12 & Beyond
The National Research Council has shown that early exposure to STEM positively impacts the entire spectrum of children’s growth and development. Despite this research, early childhood programs are often lacking the funding and appropriate resources to give children the exposure they need to meet their full potential. For this reason, it is critical for parents to take an active role in ensuring children are given as much exposure to STEM related activities as possible. This was the motivation for our team to put together this guide. Below you will find links to great resources broken out by age group (K-5 & 6-12), as well as by subject (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math). The guide also features sites covering camps for teens along with STEM contests. Finally we dedicated a section to sites with a specific focus on Girls who continue to be underrepresented in STEM careers.
STEM Sites for Everyone
Ask Dr. Universe
Ask Dr. Universe is a cool cat doctor created by Washington State University and University Communications for kids to learn about dozens of STEM topics. If your topic of interest isn’t covered on the website, just submit your question to Dr. Ask and he will answer it!
Code.org is a generous nonprofit dedicated to teaching students the methods of coding and inspiring both girls and boys to pursue the industry. Over 900,000 students teach Code Studio with over 30 million students enrolled.
Looking for simple and practical ideas for incorporating STEM in the classroom or at home? Daily STEM has ideas, links, and weekly STEM “newspapers” to help any educator or parent make relevant STEM education happen with their kids. There’s even archived episodes of the STEM Everyday Podcast to hear from educators, innovators, and authors about how they’re helping kids get excited about STEM.
The staff at Educational Innovations knows how important it is to educate and motivate young minds. How do educators create lifelong STEM learners who are curious about their world? The answer is to ensure that students have fun as they learn. That’s why Educational Innovations specialize in the kind of hands-on science that gets young minds thinking, wondering, and above all, wanting to discover more! Their STEM newsletter is a great place to visit for free lessons, videos, blogs, and more.
Experiment- Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
If you’re not able to explore the museum in Chicago, check out their website with interactive activities to learn everything from the world of science. Ever wonder about the science behind Pixar? Let your imagination fly of the website!
The Exploratorium created the proper tools and experiences for students to grow as active explorers in the science world. Visit the Exploratorium in San Francisco with hundreds of exhibits, film screenings, and evening art and science events for adults. Or visit the Exploratorium website with over 35,000 pages of content to explore science exhibits from home.
Extreme Science is more than building model volcanoes. This website explores the largest ocean carnivore, the biggest carnivorous fish, the biggest tsunami, and other thrilling wonders of the natural world.
Flite Test STEM
Flite Test STEM is the “gateway to the world of flight.” The curriculum is for K-12 students and teaches science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on aircraft activities.
Why do we fart? Why do we have snot? Why can we regrow a liver but not a limb? Find all these answers and more at the Khan Academy!
NOVA offers a seemingly endless supply of information in the categories of physics and math, military and espionage, space and flight, body and brain, and nature plus more. NOVA Education provides lesson plans, audio segments, and interactives designed for fulfilling classroom engagement.
Through the Science Channel, kids can unlock thrilling episodes about mythical beasts, mega machines, engineering catastrophes, and deep space. Ever wonder how scientists build world-class battle robots? Find out on the Science Channel!
STEM-Works, created by the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University, is a resource for teachers, mentors, parents, STEM-professionals, and anyone passionate about the children of the world who are eager to learn more about the sciences. Kids learn about crime scene investigation, animals, weather, medical innovations, space, robotics, and wind energy.
STEM Sites for Kids K-5
NASA – Kid’s Club
The NASA Kids’ Club engages kids with creative and interactive activities such as science-themed jack-o-lanterns, tracking the international space station, and testing driving skills with the Mars Rover. Games and activities are geared for kids in grades pre-K through 4.
NASA Space Place
Want to make moon cookies? How about sunspot cookies? Or maybe you want to track animals from space? Check out NASA’s Space Place!
National Geographic KiDs
Check out the website, games, videos, and even the magazine subscription for cool discoveries like bats eating snacks and creepy pumpkin carvings! The Animals page features awesome critters from all over the world!
When you’re done watching the show, check out the website for engaging activities, videos, and games. Work with your favorite characters to tackle problem solving in data, the environment, fractions, holidays, measurements, money, and more.
Carnegie Cyber Academy
At the Carnegie Cyber Academy, kids complete cyberspace training missions that teach them the skills to be good citizens of the cyberworld. Safety and security is top priority on the internet. Let your kids learn proper manners here!
How Stuff Works
Can you outrun a tornado? Find out by visiting the How Stuff Words website, listening to one of the 11 audio podcasts, watching How Stuff Works videos, exploring the Stuff Family of Sites, or utilizing How Stuff Works apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Get ready for missions in chemical engineering! Fight battles with vampires, pirates, and space aliens. Conquering the world’s problems with your new science skills has never been more fun!
Design Squad Global
Want to build an unpoppable balloon? At the Design Squad Global, you’ll find easy, medium, and hard instructions to build all kinds of cool gadgets at home!
Engineering, Go for It! (eFGI)
Not just for students! eGFI is an interactive website with a digital magazine created by the American Society for Engineering Education. Teachers may use tools such as full lesson plans, class activities, outreach programs, web resources, and an engineering education workshop to build science and math skills as well as inspire the classroom with engineering projects.
Brain Pop Jr.
Get your numbers in order! Find all kinds of tricks and games to learn your numbers. Addition, subtraction, measurement, money, time, portions…you name it!
CoolMath4Kids shows the youngsters how to have fun with numbers! Different games include Demolition Division, Alien Addition, Grand Prix Multiplication, Dirt Bike Fractions, and Canoe Penguins!
Play Penguin Drop by protecting your iceberg from parachuting penguins! Designed for kids in grades pre-k through 8th grade, you’ll find games, reading, videos, playground activities, and a math zone.
At HOODAMATH, you’ll find awesome math games sorted by grade and subject! Try the popular Escape Games and complete missions involving states, cities, and bluescale.
STEM Camps for Kids K-5
Camp Invention (K-6)
K-6 students attend Camp Invention for hands-on activities that challenge them to build new, problem-solving ideas. Plus, learning teamwork, entrepreneurship, and innovation at a young age is never a bad thing!
Ignite your curiosity with the wonder of space and the fun of camp! Attend day camps and learn about the solar system, aliens, lunar bases, and Earth! Attend overnight camps and learn about mars, flight, extreme space, and Adult Astronaut Adventure!
Make friends, play games, and explore science! Attend Destination Science Camp, too with themes that include Science Maker & Inventors, Amusement Park Science, and Transforming Robots Camp.
Digital Media Academy Tech Camps
This camp is for the kids ages 7-12 who want to learn the fundamentals of STEM in a hands-on, project-based environment. Kids have fun while learning problem solving and teamwork skills.
Engineering for Kids
Create the next generation of engineers! Engineering for Kids is a camp for kids with an innate desire to find the answers to questions! Have fun with robotics, interactive engineering, technology, and coding.
id Tech Camps
Feed the demand for skilled coders, game developers, robotics engineers, and designers! Send your child to iD Tech Camp to learn world-class STEM skills.
Kinder Care Learning Center
Who doesn’t love summer camp? At Kinder Care Learning Center, you’ll learn about opportunities for up to 12 weeks of Kinder Care Summer Camp. Camp themes change to keep the interest and curiosity of the kids as they participate in fun and engaging activities.
STEM Sites for Grades 6-12. Future Scientists, Innovators, Engineers, and Mathematicians
Environmental Health Student Portal
Designed by the National Library of Medicine, this resource connects middle school students with ways to combat air pollution, climate change, water pollution, and chemical balances. Students read articles, play games, complete activities, and watch videos for diverse learning.
Explore math, science, and humanities at HippoCampus! Learn about the natural selection of lactose tolerance. Or learn how to explore a memory and write about it!
At Student Science, kids can read a blog to catch up on the latest scientific discoveries of students from near and far. Kids can also find news on programs and contests such as Broadcom MASTERS, Intel ISEF, Regeneron STS, and Society Alumni.
Roger Arrick founded Arrick Robotics with the intention of building robotic arms for use with telescopes. Check out how Arrick Robotics builds automation robots, mobile robots, and the robot resources listed on the website.
Join thousands of other students at the Codeacademy in a structured curriculum that will teach you code today, not someday. Drill material into memory with 85 coding quizzes. Take some free classes and start building right away!
Discover the basics of coding with the great teachings of a happy blue monster! He’ll show you step by step how changing numbers in coding changes the size and location of a simple black box.
PhET Interactive Science
Learn science and math through engaging simulations! The PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder brings free math and science simulations to young minds.
Space Engineers is more than a computer game. Discover the virtual world of construction, engineering, exploration, and survival in space and on foreign planets. Pilot ships and travel through space to find what worlds surround us!
You Can Do the Rubik’s Cube
Rubik’s Cubes seem impossible. The founders of this program use the cube as a metaphor for believing you can do the seemingly impossible. The You Can Do the Rubik’s Cube program makes STEM/STEAM careers feel possible!
Shodor Workshops are interdisciplinary – meaning you can combine your learning in math, science, engineering, and technology. Learn about environmental science, graphics, and fractals!
The Math Forum
Through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Math Forum posts a Problem of the Week that does more than teach basic math skills. Kids learn about money, but also how to save money to plan for the future!
The Mint is a valuable tool for kids to learn money smarts! In a world of digital transactions, it can be easy to spend money you don’t physically see. See the Mint to learn how to save for college!
webMath is the ultimate math homework helper! Explore seven different categories of math that include problems, instant answers, self-help, and math solvers.
STEM Camps for Young Adults
Alaska Summer Research Academy
Students entering 9th through 12th grade in the fall of 2019 may participate in this adventurous program. It is a day-only, two-week experience for students interested in science, technology, math, and engineering. Modules challenge students while remaining fun and engaging.
Spend a special part of your summer exploring nature and helping birds! Join a day camp or residential camp with weekly themes catered to the interests and needs of the kids!
California ScienCenter Summer Camp
At the California ScienCenter Summer Camp, kids get a hands-on experience with science! The ScienCenter even offers classes for kids and parents!
Digital Media Academy: Teen Summer Camps
Spend an awesome summer working on a project that will launch your career in 3D modeling, app development, game design, and filmmaking. Teens ages 12-17 spend one or two weeks at camp or take studio courses.
Euclid Lab: Camp Euclid
Get ready for summer 2019 with a mind-tingling research program that dives into mathematics. Find solutions to complex mathematical problems that have never been solved before. Team up with new friends and researchers for a brain-teasing time!
iD Tech Video Game Design & Development
Turn your love of video games into a $97,000 salary career! The possibilities are endless in video game design. Learn how to do it all at the iD Game Design and Development Academy.
iD Tech Coding, App Development & Programming
For the computer program savvy, learn coding, app development, and programming at the iD Programming Academy. Learn Java, C++, Scratch Programming, and Cybersecurity.
For the dedicated and passionate future engineer, the SEED program at MIT consists of five and a half years of educational enrichment. Each module focuses on a different technical discipline: mechanical engineering, robotics, and biological engineering.
National Flight Academy
Created by the National Flight Academy, the Ambition Program immerses potential future pilots in an aviation-themed six-day adventure!
Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Program
During the summer, high school students have the opportunity to research in a Department of Navy laboratory. In the eight-week program, students are encouraged to pursue careers in science and engineering and further their education through mentoring by laboratory personnel.
Summer Camps @ The Tech
At the Museum of Innovation, kids spend summer camp building their own gadgets! Stay tuned for 2019 summer camp schedules!
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, check out Vision Tech Camp for learning opportunities in Minecraft, programming, video game design, and robotics and engineering. These camps offer high-end computers and professional software equipment for thorough learning.STEM Contests
YEA Camp for Teens
Youth Empowered Action Camp is for kids who will change the world! This camp promotes self-confidence and the ambition to take a stand in the world.
Envirothon aims to develop knowledge and skills in dedicated citizen with an understanding of natural resources. The National Conservation Foundation Envirothon competition for high school students involves 5 days exposure to diverse environmental issues, ecosystems, and topography.
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
At the world’s largest pre-college science competition, more than 7 million high school students from around the world develop original research science projects and present them at local science competitions. At the end of the week-long event, students win more than $4 million in awards and scholarships.
Cyberpatriot: The National Youth Cyber Education Program
CyberPatriot is the product of the National Youth Cyber Education Program and the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition is the heart of the program. The competition puts high school and middle school students in the place of an IT professional tasked with managing a small company’s network. Top teams in the nation win an all-expense paid trip to Baltimore for the National Finals Competition.
FIRST Robotics Competition
Destination: Deep Space presented by Boeing is this upcoming FIRST Robotics Competition! See the world beyond your own planet! Win awards and earn your spot as FIRST Champion!
FIRST Tech Challenge
Rove Ruckus presented by Qualcomm is this upcoming FIRST Tech Challenge! It’s more than just building robots, though. Build a team to design, build, program, and operate your robot in a competition of head-to-head challenges in an alliance format.
Zero Robotics High School Tournament
High school students get the chance to enter the world-class research facilities on the International Space Station. Students must write a program at their school that would control a satellite in space.
For students in grades 6-9 who want to team up, identify a common issue in society and work together to research the issue and develop a solution. What’s the prize? Growth of skills, opportunities, and lots of prizes!
National STEM League
The NSL is the program for future professionals to collaborate and delve into STEM studies. Programs are available in web-based formats and face-to-face series for all students.
Mathematical Association of American: AMC 8 Competition
AMC 8 is a 25-question exam designed to test and promote problem solving skills in middle school mathematics. Students will build positive outlooks towards mathematics and critical thinking as well as build skills for future careers!
MATHCOUNTS Competition Series
With 4 levels of competition (school, chapter, state, and national), students compete in 4 rounds. The Spring Round, Target Round, Team Round, and Countdown Round end with a National Champion receiving the $20,000 Donald G. Weinert College Scholarship.
USA Mathematical Talent Search
This free competition is available to all middle school and high school students. With an entire month to solve math problems, students have more opportunity to rise to academic stardom. Hone your math skills and win prizes!
STEM Sites for Girls
Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code aims to increase the number of intelligent black women in the coding industry. Girls age 7 to 17 study computer sciences and coding!
Carnegie STEM Girls
Through Carnegie STEM Girls, young women will find programs, activities, and resources to learn all about the world of STEM! Join a powerful and intelligent group of women in STEM studies.
Built by the National Academy of Engineering, Engineer Girl showcases women in the engineering industry! Young women will find valuable resources, connections, and even an essay contest to display their writing skills.
Be a role model! Find a role model! FabFems are a group of women with a passion for the sciences who encourage each other and help each other grow in their professions!
Girls Inc. inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold! Whatever your passion may be, pursue it!
GC3: Girls Communicating Career Connections
Girls Communicating Career Connections makes videos, games, and activities about the cool careers behind math and science. All of these resources are created by young women, just like you!
Made w/ Code
Go on an adventure with Wonder Woman as you discover your skills in coding! Made with Code lets you discover the world behind everything you love that made with code.
From the well-known PBS channel, PBS SciGirls boldly changes how millions of girls think about science, technology, engineering, and math. In half-hour episodes, girls get the highlights of the processes of science and engineering.
Women In Science Research Network
WISR Network is a highly successful project showcasing the history of women in science. Take online courses to learn about women in history and how they impacted the world we know today!
STEM Camps for Girls
DigiGirlz High Tech Camp
Microsoft’s DigiGirlz High Tech Camp works to disband the stereotype that technology careers aren’t for girls. Young women explore the industry and experience first-hand what it’s like to build new technology.
High School S.P.I.C.E Camp
Through the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, S.P.I.C.E. camp is a week-long commuter program for girls in grades 9 and 10 who would like to learn more about engineering disciplines and find opportunities for careers in the industry.
iD Tech- Alexa Café
Alexa Café is the week-long summer camp with day and overnight options in 15 locations across the country. For ages 10-15, girls are inspired by iD Tech co-founder Alexa Ingram-Cauchi. Girls learn technology, entrepreneurship, and social impact!
Women in Engineering
Organized by Women in Engineering at the University of Illinois, G.A.M.E.S. is a summer camp for girls in grades 6 through 12. They will find opportunities to experience advanced curricula at world-class facilities in the comfort of a college campus!
Women in Natural Sciences
Hosted by The Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University, WINS is a free, after-school science enrichment program for high school girls. These girls will learn the science behind the sciences with hands-on experience in science workshops, as well as career and college exploration, and positive encouragement.
STEM Channels on YouTube
Mitchel and Gregory debunk the interesting tidbits of science. Is it Laurel or Yanny? Is the dress black and blue or gold and white? These guys will figure it out!
Ben Krasnow digs into electromechanical systems, chemicals, and electronics. Watch glowing plasma created by a high-speed jet of water!
Nerdfighters unite! Crash Course by vlogbrothers is two nerdy guys (John and Hank) making nerdy awesome! Watch their videos about life issues.
Anyone can find a fascinating subject on the Discovery Channel! Watch battle-bots fight. Watch how to create an axe handle.
It’s Okay to Be Smart
Joe Hanson creates fascinating videos about the great wonders of the world. Where do teeth come from? Did you know the largest river in the world is in the sky? You will after you watch these videos!