Your family probably has time-tested traditions to celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and all the other holidays you recognize. If you’re committed to raising well-rounded kids who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), why not put STEM Day on the list of special days worth celebrating?

What Are STEM and STEAM?

As noted, STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. STEM and STEAM are more than acronyms. They represent educational approaches to learning with an emphasis on those subjects—the subjects students should master to be employable and effective in careers that will chart the course of the future. Many kids have a misperception that math and science are “boring” or “too hard.” The STEM approach aims to change that.

Schools and communities may celebrate STEM Day anytime, but November 8 has been designated by some as National STEM Day. No matter when you mark the day, here are some suggestions for making STEM Day memorable, educational, and FUN for your kids.

STEM Day Activities

Your STEM Day celebration can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. For younger kids, you can collect and identify bugs in your backyard, make Play-Doh or slime, or play a game that involves mathematics such as Yahtzee. For older kids, check out the huge array of activities (with instructions) at Exploratorium. Here, you will learn how to create electrical etching, make a stripped-down generator, conduct experiments, and much more. The STEM Laboratory is another site jam-packed with activities you and your children can do at home such as capture fireworks in a jar, pour a rainbow in a jar, and make a mini model of the water cycle with a Ziploc bag.

STEM Day Media

Most kids love screen time, so it’s a win-win when parents can find reasons to encourage it. For STEM Day, you can introduce your kids to age-appropriate online, interactive math skills programs like LearnBop, and online programs that teach kids how to create their own computer apps. Scratch and Scratch Jr. are app-creating programs for kids in grades 3–9 and preK–3, respectively.

You’ll also find plenty of quality YouTube channels with fascinating kid-approved content. What’s Inside features videos of hosts opening up items such as rattlesnake rattles, wasp nests, robots, and fidget spinners, and exploring the inside. Experiment Assistant teaches kids how to make lava lamps, liquid metal, and erupting volcanoes. The videos at Minutephysics include such topics as Solar Panels Made With a Particle Accelerator?!, Why Is the Solar System Flat?, and What Is Dark Matter?

Once you’ve had your fill of screen time, encourage some downtime by introducing your children to books that encourage scientific discovery such as Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World or Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself.

STEM Day may not be on your children’s radar currently, but celebrate it once, and it may become one of their favorite “holidays.” If you love seeing your children’s eyes light up as they learn and discover new things, this may become one of your favorite days.

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