Did you know that every year in November there is a very special day for people like us? People who like science, technology, engineering, art, and math? It’s National STEM Day (and National STEAM Day too!!) on November 8th. Why choose November 8th for a day that celebrates creativity, learning, and innovation? Because it can be abbreviated NOV8, i.e. innovate :) So let’s all go innovate on November 8th with these 5 Fun Ways to Celebrate National STEM Day and National STEAM Day!!
What is STEM and Why is National STEM Day Important?
STEM is the abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math. Add the A from Art and it becomes STEAM. Both are integrated approaches to learning that encourage students to think more broadly about real-world problems.
This interdisciplinary approach has helped create innovations like the iPhone, the original laptop computer, and is helping solve world problems like revolutionizing cooking in third world countries, and improving air quality as a result.
It helps students:
- Ask questions
- Connect the dots
- Problem solve
- Think creatively
- Be innovative
Not only can STEAM save the world, it can save our kids too by making their future bright. STEM jobs are expected to grow by 16% in the US between 2014 and 2024 compared to only 11% for other sectors*. And right now, science & engineering careers earn more than double the income of the median job in the United States.* Despite this, math performance in US students is faltering and STEM graduates are dropping out of their fields. And let’s not even get started on some of the inequities for women and minorities….
And this is why STEM and STEAM deserve a day of celebration and exploration every year. I think every day should be STEM & STEAM day, but I’ll start with one!!!
5 Fun Activities for National STEM Day
Here are some entertaining things for you to do on National STEM Day with the kids.
1. Code their play.
Add some screen-free coding to their play with this If-Then Coding Game. It’s a creative spin on a well-loved playground game and super easy to add to recess, after-school, or classroom fun. It gets kids moving AND learning and makes a great brain break during the day.
2. Explore architecture AND color.
I’m a firm believer in the power of adding the A(rt) to STEM. It encourages open-ended, creative thinking, which is so essential for kids these days. These Watercolor Houses are one of my favorite ways to do it, too... Kids can build and customize their paper houses with color. And even wire them up with circuits (once the color is dry), too. For the younger kids, premake the houses and let them explore color mixing and have them do their building on the side. The kids loved it in my Bev Bos-inspired preschool co-op!
3. Turn the recycling bin into something cool.
Add some motion to the day with this Recycled Balloon Car. It’s a perfect way to introduce physics to kids in a fun, hands-on project. Balloon cars are always a hit and easy on the budget. Split up into teams, race each other, and capture some data and you’ve checked off a ton of those standards for the year!
For the younger kids, check out this upcycled Toilet Paper Roll Catapult.
And check out this amazing way to Explore Sound Science with a Tonoscope!
4. Help them dream big.
Encourage your STEM and STEAM Kids to dream big with these unique Superhero STEAM Challenges. They’ll have fun designing Gotham City’s skyline with cardboard or testing various materials to see which makes the strongest shield. Or you can add some other challenge themes to National STEM Day like Star Wars or Kitchen, or pick another favorite in our 151 STEAM Challenges for Kids ebook.
5. Make it STREAM.
Gasp!! I know, we probably don’t need one more letter to add to STEM, but I LOVE adding reading to STEM activities. You don’t have to call it STREAM, though, just make storytime a creative building session with these Storytime STEAM Lego Challenges. Grab a book with some science or art in it to inspire their building. Rosie Revere, Iggy Peck, and Ada Twist are some of my favorites.
More STEM and STEAM for National STEM Day (and the rest of the year too!)
Want some more great lists of activities for STEM and STEAM Day? Check out our annual 28 Days of STEM and STEAM Series from Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3. There are over a hundred different projects to check out!
Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that you can use right now? Instant gratification style? Check out STEAM Explorers!! The coolest creative experience for kids is here! It's a digital book of the month club filled with tons of fun stuff for the kids to do and learn. All engineer, teacher, and mom-approved. And most definitely KID APPROVED!
- A monthly digital magazine with cool themes that are fun to read
- Hands-on, exciting projects the kids will love.
- Science, tech, engineering, art, and math learning YOU’LL love.
- Delicious recipes the kids can make.
- Fun printables and games
In February we're having fun with spy-themed STEAM! The kids will love building a super-secret highlighter flashlight, making I Spy art, leaving their mark on sweet treats, and using science to catch a spy. You’ll love the helpful standards-based learning, printables, and tools that make STEAM exploration easy!
We’ve split the issue into four weekly themes:
- This issue has four weekly themes to inspire your kiddos:
- WEEK 1: HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT
- WEEK 2: KEEPING SECRETS
- WEEK 3: UNDERCOVER GADGETS
- WEEK 4: CATCH A SPY
** SEI 2014 Chapter 3 » S&E Labor Market Conditions » Earnings