How to Create a DIY STEM Science Summer Camp at Home in 7 Easy Steps {with printable guide}

Are you looking for a fun and educational way to keep your kids engaged this summer?

Why not bring the excitement of a STEM science camp right into your own home?

A DIY STEM camp can ignite curiosity, foster learning, and create unforgettable memories, all from the comfort of your home.

Here’s how you can set up an awesome DIY STEM science camp for your kids in 7 easy steps.

Step 1: Plan Your Science Camp Curriculum

Planning a STEM science camp at home is easy with our 7 step process, we even have a pre-made printable guide you can follow with ttons of ideas and guidance!

Here's how to plan your curriculum:

1. Define the Focus

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Decide which areas you want to emphasize, or will you explore all four?

You can tailor activities to match your child's interests and age level.

2. Set a Schedule

Decide how long your camp will run. One to four weeks is a good starting point, with activities planned for each day.

Break down each day into sessions, allowing time for breaks and free play.

3. Gather Your Resources

There are numerous free and low-cost resources online.

Websites like Khan Academy, National Geographic Kids, and NASA's educational section offer lesson plans and activity ideas.

For hands-on projects, check out Pinterest and YouTube for DIY experiments and building projects.

4. Prepare for Variety

To keep things interesting, vary activities between indoor and outdoor, and alternate between physically active and more contemplative tasks.

This will help keep energy levels balanced and engagement high throughout the camp.

Want to make it super easy? Grab our guide to all the activities you could possibly need for a DIY multi-week STEM science camp:

Step 2: Create a Learning Environment

Creating the right learning environment is key to running your DIY summer science camp efficiently.

Whether you homeschool or your kids go to public school, try to dedicate some space in your kitchen, office or even your garage, to having everything arranged ready for your summer camp.

Here's how to create an eeffective learning environment for your DIY science camp:

1. Designate a Space

Transform a part of your home into a 'campsite'.

It could be a corner of a room, a section of the basement, or even a backyard tent.

Make sure it’s stocked with all the necessary supplies like paper, pencils, rulers, a calculator, and any tech devices you might need.

2. Safety First

Safety is crucial, especially when dealing with experiments.

Have safety goggles, gloves, and a first aid kit readily available.

Also, ensure adult supervision during activities that require it, such as experiments involving heat or electricity.

3. Organizational Tools

Keep things organized with labels, storage bins, and a daily schedule posted where everyone can see it. 

This helps kids know what to expect and helps the day run smoothly.

Step 3: Engage in Hands-On Projects

There are tons of ideas for hands-on science projects out there.

You might want to theme each week or plan a mix of science experiments, engineering challenges, math games and tech activities across each week.

If you prefer themes you could have a human body week, a space week, a bridges week and a math challenge week, for example.

You could even create a Star Wars themed week or fortnight with these Star Wars-inspired STEM activities.

Here's what to include in your DIY STEM science summer camp. Grab our printable guide for more ideas.

1. Science Experiments

Simple, safe science experiments that can be done with household items are great for younger kids.

Create a volcano with baking soda and vinegar, explore density by layering liquids in a jar, or make a DIY thermometer.

For older kids, more complex projects like a basic electronics kit or a simple robot could be both fun and challenging.

2. Tech Time

Introduce kids to coding with free websites like Scratch or

Older kids and teens might enjoy more advanced programming or even game design.

You can also explore the world of apps that teach coding in a fun, interactive way.

3. Engineering Challenges

Build structures using simple materials like straws, marshmallows, or toothpicks.

Set challenges such as creating the tallest tower or a bridge that can hold a certain weight.

This is a fantastic way to learn about engineering principles and problem-solving.

A LEGO building challenge involving STEM principles is another fun way to keep the learning going.

4. Math Magic

Incorporate math games that reinforce skills like addition, subtraction, geometry, and more.

Use math-based puzzles and games, or even apps that turn learning math into a fun activity.

Step 4: Go on Real or Virtual Field Trips

Heading out on field trips is a fantastic way to cement learning, and to encourage mmore questions and explorations.

Most major cities have a natural history museum or a science museum, and many have both.

Why not plan some field trips to learn more in these amazing academies of learning or, if you can't get to them, explore online!

1. Explore Museums

Many museums around the world offer virtual tours.

You can have fun visiting the Smithsonian museums, the NASA space centers, or the Natural History Museum without even leaving your home.

2. Nature Walks

If possible, take your STEM camp outdoors with a weekly or even daily nature walk.

Educator Charlotte Mason advocated giving students a sketch book and time to explore outdoors every day, rain or shine.

Add this to your DIY STEM science camp this summer and see what you can learn about.

It's amazing what you can discover in your local nature patch, or even right there in your own backyard!

Nature walks can teach children about biology, ecology, and the environment.

Just remember the golden rule: respect ALL living things.

You can use a nature identification app or local guide books to learn about local flora and fauna.

Step 5: Invite Guest Speakers

A great way to get an alternative perspective on what you are learning is to invite in some guest speakers or experts.

This might be a family friend or relative, an outreach class at your local planetarium, high school or university, or an online class.

1. Reach Out to Experts

Enhance the camp experience by inviting a guest speaker.

Many professionals are happy to talk to kids via video call about their work and answer questions.

This could be a scientist, engineer, programmer, or mathematician.

2. Community Helpers

Lots of the people who help us in the community are trained scientists too, or they may have unique insights into something like fire or water treatment.

Try talking to local community figures like firefighters, doctors, or veterinarians who can share how STEM is applied in their jobs.

You could even ask to visit your local fire station or police station to find out about forensics and detection.

Step 6: Review and Reflect

To really cement learning build in daily recaps to review and reflect on that day's activities and learning.

1. Daily Recaps

At the end of each day, spend some time discussing what was learned.

This helps reinforce new concepts and allows kids to express what they enjoyed or found challenging.

2. Showcase

At the end of your camp, organize a small 'science fair' where kids can showcase their projects and experiments to the rest of the family or friends and neighbours.

This not only boosts their confidence but also enhances their ability to communicate what they've learned.

Step 7: Extend and Expand the Learning Experience

After the completion of your DIY STEM science camp, consider ways to extend and expand the learning experience for your children.

Here’s how you can continue nurturing a love for STEM:

1. Encourage Further Exploration

  • Follow-up Projects: Suggest new projects that build on what your children have learned during the camp. For instance, if they enjoyed a robotics project, they might like to try a more advanced kit or join a local robotics club.
  • Advanced Topics: Introduce more complex topics or deeper dives into subjects they showed interest in. For example, if they were fascinated by astronomy during your virtual field trips, you might purchase a telescope or plan a visit to a planetarium.

2. Incorporate STEM into Daily Life:

  • Practical Applications: Show how STEM applies to everyday life. Cooking can be a lesson in chemistry, shopping can teach budgeting and math, and sports can illustrate physics concepts.
  • Games and Apps: Utilize educational games and apps that promote further learning in a fun, engaging way. Look for apps that challenge problem-solving skills and encourage critical thinking.

3. Connect with Local and Online Communities:

  • Clubs and Groups: Enroll your children in local STEM clubs or online communities. Many libraries, schools, and community centers offer clubs that focus on science, coding, or engineering.
  • Competitions and Fairs: Encourage participation in science fairs, math competitions, or coding hackathons. These events can motivate kids to develop their skills and meet peers with similar interests.

4. Set Goals for Future Learning:

  • Personal Projects: Help your children set personal goals for learning new skills or completing projects. This could be as simple as reading a certain number of science books or building a model of the solar system.
  • Educational Milestones: Plan ahead for future educational milestones that might require a strong STEM foundation. Discuss how the skills they are developing will help them in high school, college, and beyond.

5. Keep the Environment Stimulating:

  • Update the Learning Space: Regularly update the learning space at home to keep it stimulating. Add new books, tools, or technology that reflect your child's growing interests and abilities.
  • Encourage Daily Reading: Build a small library of age-appropriate STEM books that cover various topics, from biographies of scientists to DIY project guides.

In Conclusion

Creating a DIY STEM science camp at home is not just a great way to learn, it's a fun way to create bonds and memories that last a lifetime.

Used correctly STEM subjects encourage children to think critically and creatively, providing a foundation of skills that are vital in today’s world.

With a little planning and imagination, you can create a truly enriching summer experience that your kids will look forward to year after year!

Enjoy your DIY STEM science summer camp!

More science ideas:

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