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3 STEM Activities To Light Up Your Summer Nights

Dark and eerie nights can be turned into cool summertime memories for your STEMists with glow-in-the-dark activities.  To add an educational spark and light up their summer nights, check out these 3 glow-in-the-dark activities that you and your STEMists can create at home:

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Blazing Bubbles

Bubbles are fun for everyone, especially when they glow in the dark!

Materials you will need:

  • Bubble solution (store-bought, or make your own solution by mixing ½ cup dishwashing liquid, with 4 ½ cups of water and two tablespoons of glycerin).
  • Washable glow paint (can be found at any craft store)

To make your glow-in-the-dark bubbles, mix the bubble solution with the glow solution.  Start with a 50/50 mix; you may have to adjust this measure depending on the strength of your solutions to obtain the glow you desire.  Also note the glow-in-the-dark solution requires exposure to bright light before your bubbles will glow.  Groovy Lab in a Box recommends planning as an outdoor activity for easy clean-up.  STEMists will have fun chasing and dancing amongst the luminescent bubbles under a dark summer star-studded night sky.

Fun with Duct Tape

STEMists can experience triboluminescence, which is light triggered by mechanical energy or a mechanical action, such as friction with duct tape. This luminating experiment is perfect for a summertime sleepover. Press two pieces of duct tape, sticky sides together, and then turn out the lights. Wait until your eyes have adjusted to the darkness of the room before you quickly pull apart the two pieces of tape.  What will your STEMists witness?  They should see a streak of blue when the tapes separate.  Transparent Scotch™ tape works as well.  Results may vary with different brands and types of tape used.

At-home Cosmic Bowling

STEMists compete to see who can knock down the most pins in this nighttime cosmic-colored activity.  You can make the bowling pins yourself with water bottles and glow-sticks.

Materials you will need:

  • 10 glow sticks
  • 10 water bottles
  • 1 small-sized basketball

Your STEMists might have as much fun creating the game as they do playing it!  First, peel the labels from the water bottles and then remove enough water to leave approximately one inch of space from the top.  Next, open the glow-stick packaging and crack your glow-sticks (follow packaging instructions for cracking).  Then, add one glowing stick (the thicker the diameter, the better) to each water bottle and recap.  Set-up your glow-in-the-dark bowling game in a clear indoor hallway, or on a patio, driveway or clear patch of low-cut grass.  Cosmic bowling also works well at a nighttime beach or pool party. Don’t forget the pencil and paper to keep score (although, the true winner of this game is you for providing a unique night-to-remember idea for your STEMists)!

If you are looking for more ways to keep your STEMists entertained this summer, check out Groovy Lab in a Box There is no better way to educate your STEMist than to keep their minds working to create, design and solve, through the engineering design process and STEM-related activities.

Capture Summertime Fun with Catapults

Catapulting is fun and provides a frame of reference for physics concepts your STEMists are learning in school.  Why not plan to build a catapult this summer?  Kids love to watch objects fly through the air, across the room or in the yard. It’s easy, and you can do so with items found around the house and in your STEMists’ toy closet.

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Build a LEGO Catapult

Anytime your STEMists build with LEGO blocks is time well spent and a sure way to improve the creator, explorer, and inventor in them!

Young STEMists can easily build a catapult with LEGO building blocks.  All you need to do is build a catapult platform with an arm and snap it onto a set of LEGO wheels attached to a LEGO axel.  And, voila, you are ready to launch!

Older STEMists can create a more sophisticated catapult using LEGO building pieces and a rubber band to create the right amount of torque for firing projectiles. FrugalFun4boys.com offers an easy to follow pictorial on how to build this LEGO contraption.

No matter what materials are used to build your catapult, you will enjoy watching your STEMists use their design engineering skills to tweak their creations to launch their projectiles further and further from where they first landed.

If your STEMists love catapults, check out our “Out To Launch” single box today!

4 Activities To Beat Summertime Boredom

The academic year is coming to an end.  Some children will head to summer camp; others will stay at home.  Whatever your STEMists are scheduled to do this summer, you should be well prepared for the time when you hear, “Mom, I’m bored!”  Here are four go-to activities when you hear these words.

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Make a Lava Bottle

Kids of all ages will love to watch the mixing of colors and the reaction caused by an Alka-Seltzer effervescent tablet.  And, this is a great time to explain why oil and water don’t mix.

You can discuss with your STEMists that the force of attraction between similar versus different molecules will create a different reaction.  Other concepts to define include mass, density and volume.

Lava bottle ingredients:

  • Baby oil
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Alka Seltzer or other effervescent tablet
  • Clear plastic or glass bottle

Fill 1/8 of bottle with water and the remainder with oil. Watch as the oil and water separate. Slowly add several drops of food coloring.  The drops pool together where the water and oil meet.  Ball bursts will form and gradually mix with water.  Add pieces of one Alka Seltzer tablet and enjoy the show!  Your STEMists can enjoy this for days—adding the Alka Seltzer anytime they wish to watch the magic in the bottle.  And, place the bottle in front of a small night light to get the full lava lamp experience!

Fun with a Balloon Hovercraft

Items you will need:

  • Balloon, any color
  • CD
  • Push-up water bottle top
  • Superglue

First, superglue the push-up water bottle top to the center of the CD. Let the glue dry.  Then, blow up a balloon and place it over the bottle top, which should be in the closed position.  Release the balloon and open the bottle top valve to watch the escaped air push your creation, causing it to hover over the floor (does not work on carpet). This activity will keep competitive siblings or neighborhood friends busy for hours while they race their homemade hover crafts.

TheTouchTomorrow Event

Jump in the car and head over to the TouchTomorrow – A Festival of Science, Technology & Robots for family fun! The TouchTomorrow event is held in Worcester Massachusetts from June 9-14.  This free event is hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in partnership with NASA.   TouchTomorrow – A Festival of Science, Technology & Robots is a celebration of the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge.  The family-friendly event offers demonstrations, performances, hands-on activities and interactive exhibits for all ages.  The festival, held on the WPI campus, promises to be the highlight of your STEMists’ summer.

Be sure to check the TouchTomorrow website for an event schedule.  Spectators can watch teams compete through the various levels of the robot challenge.  The objective of the Sample Return Robot Challenge is to develop new technologies or apply existing technologies in unique ways to create robots that can autonomously seek out samples and return to a designated point in a set time period.  Your STEMists will be delighted to see team robots navigate over unknown terrain, around obstacles, and in varied lighting conditions to identify, retrieve, and return samples. Remember, all TouchTomorrow exhibits are free and open to the public – rain or shine.

Don’t Forget Groovy Lab in a Box

Another way to keep your young STEMists busy is to break out Groovy Lab in a Box.  You can order a subscription or single boxes anytime during the summer. Each box can accommodate up to four children for fun learning. Your STEMists can build an electric dance pad, launch a rocket, grow plants and much more.

Summertime does not have to equal boredom. With these STEM-related activites, your STEMists will have a blast being entertained my math, technology, engineering and science this summer!

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