The number one question I get about STEM projects is “Where can I find the supplies cheaper?” Teachers’ budgets are tight, almost non-existent. Household money in many families is tight too. But this shouldn’t be a deterrent to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. So I gathered up some of my friends and we brainstormed ways to learn without spending a lot. Their creative ideas include cool stuff like backyard STEM, make your own plastic, and learning in the kitchen. All great stuff, all really cheap.
These activities show that you don’t have to have a lot of money to have great learning activities. You can make your own toys, do some edible science or create by tinkering. Here’s what’s inside this post (you can click the link to jump ahead):
Paper STEM and STEAM Activities
Paper is one of our go-to materials when budgets are tight. A lot of fun can be had and learning accomplished with just a sheet or two of paper or some inexpensive paper cups and straws.
- Emoji Thaumatrope Optical Illusion Toys || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Math Fact Building Cards || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Summer Agamograph Coloring Pages || Left Brain Craft Brain
- How to Make DIY Stickers || Left Brain Craft Brain
- How to Make an Anemometer with Paper Cups || Left Brain Craft Brain
- How to Build a Paper Flute || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Paper Towel Drawings || Left Brain Craft Brain
- How to Make a Paper Bird Flyer || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Sticky Note Tessellations || Left Brain Craft Brain
- STEAM-Filled Drawing Activities for Kids || Left Brain Craft Brain
Technology Learning Activities on a Budget
Next up are some screen-free coding ideas. No expensive tech to buy!!
- If-Then Backyard Coding Game for Kids || Left Brain Craft Brain
Kick up your next coloring session with some coding in these fun color-by-number coloring pages that incorporate ASCII binary code into the mix. Kids will love both the astronaut and unicorn versions and some of our other favorites in the shop like Earth Day Color by Coding, Hot Air Balloon Color by Coding, and Holiday Color by Coding!
To have the Astronaut Color by Coding Printable emailed to you, simply fill out the form below.
FREE! ASTRONAUT COLOR
BY CODING PRINTABLE
To have the Unicorn Color by Coding Printable emailed to you, simply fill out the form below.
FREE! UNICORN COLOR
BY CODING PRINTABLE
Recycled STEM Activites for Kids
One of the best ways to do STEM on a budget is to use recycled materials. Here are a few of our favorites on Left Brain Craft Brain.
- Recycled Plastic Flowers || Left Brain Craft Brain
- 8 Ways to Play with an Old Keyboard || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Tonoscope Sound Science Experiment || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Recycled Balloon Car || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Paper Roll Catapult || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Chemical Reaction Car || Left Brain Craft Brain
- Tinkering Station for Young Engineers || Left Brain Craft Brain
- DIY Recycled Suspension Bridge || Left Brain Craft Brain
More Inexpensive STEM Activities for Kids
This list just keeps going! Check out some budget STEM ideas from some of my favorite bloggers.
- STEM Activities with Household Items || Mama Smiles
- Playing with the Refraction of Light || Go Science Girls
- Simple Math Ideas with Q-tips || Math Geek Mama
- Chromatography Butterflies || Kidz Activities
- 10 Budget STEM Activities for Kids || Kid World Citizen
- How to Make Plastic from Milk || STEAM Powered Family
- STEM Blocks Challenge || Whimsical Days
- 52 Free Science Projects for Kids || Planet Smarty Pants
- Growing Strawberries STEM Challenge || The Educators’ Spin On It
- Make a STE(A)M Cart in 5 Easy Steps || Handmade Kids Art
- Create a Backyard Science Lab for Less Than $10 || Edventures with Kids
- 16 (Almost) Free Kitchen Science Experiments for Kids || The Science Kiddo
- 50 Creative Weather Activities || Artsy Momma Blog
- States of Matter || Kelly’s Classroom
28 Days of Hands-On STEM Activities for Kids
These STEM On a Budget activities are part of an amazing series of hands-on STEM activities for kids. I’ve joined up with 28 other bloggers and we’re creating 60+ fun science, technology, engineering & math activities. Click here for the full list of activities or check out our other topics: STEM Goes Green, STEM Challenges and Coding for Kids.
More STEM and STEAM the Kids Will Love!
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
Get ready to have fun with hands-on STEAM this Halloween! Join us this October as we investigate bats, brains, spiders, candy, and pumpkins through hands-on STEAM!The kids will love building a spider bot, getting grossed out by delicious spider egg cookies, and learning about the brain with hands-on play.
We’ve split the issue into four weekly themes:
- WEEK 1: SENSATIONAL SPIDERS
- WEEK 2: PUMPKIN PROJECTS
- WEEK 3: SPOOKY STEAM
- WEEK 4: TRICK OR TREAT