Like many of you sensible people out there, I grew up totally hating math.
I couldn’t understand all the kids I went to school with who were excited about math class and I had to fight the internal groan every time we were given math homework.
After education, I had many, many blissful, math-free years (well, as much as you can.)
But now I have children who are growing up and going to school, and because of that, math has clawed its way back into my life. Ugh!
However, I’ve recently learned this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
As parents, part of our role is to try and encourage our children to get excited about things, and that includes things we don’t like, such as math.
So, I started doing math activities with my kids – to help them with their homework or schoolwork they were stuck with, but also to try and get them excited about learning because I know how important that is!
So, here are 15 of the best stem math activities I have tried with my kids – and they turned out to be a big hit!
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STEM Math Activities For Preschoolers
When my kids were preschool-age, I tried to make learning about numbers fun for them.
The math-hating side of me thought this would be an impossible task, but the great mom in me knew what she was doing, and really pulled through.
1. Paperclip Counting
Paperclip math helps your preschoolers learn science, math, and art skills. It is a very engaging activity your children are sure to enjoy.
Get some cleaned popsicle sticks, magnetic strips, and many different colored paperclips.
Attach the magnetic strips to the popsicle sticks and number them, we started with numbers 1 through 5 and worked our way up to 1-10.
Encourage your child to attach the correct number of paper clips to the popsicle stick with the corresponding number.
For example, 1 paper clip on the popsicle labeled “1”, 2 on 2, and so on. This should teach your child to not only recognize numbers but memorize the numbers in order.
2. Crayon Shapes
This preschool STEM math activity is very simple and fun! All you need to do this are plenty of crayons! With the crayons, you can do two things.
The first is to make a shape and ask your child to name it. The second is to ask your child to make different shapes with crayons themselves.
Teaching your child to recognize and name shapes is a great way to get them ready for kindergarten math!
3. Play Dough Shapes
Very similar to the steps above, except you use play dough instead of crayons.
Preschoolers will use the visual information they learn about shapes to understand the differences between objects in the world they live in, so it’s important to teach them to understand shapes as soon as possible.
Asking your child to “make a square” or “please tell me what shape this is” can really help solidify information about shapes well before they get to school.
4. Kite Counting
Make kites using card, scissors, and ribbons. Number the kites and collect miniature pins.
The aim here is to attach the correct number of pins to the corresponding number, similar to the activity above with the paper clips. For example, attach 3 pegs to kite number 3, and so on.
Not only does this teach your kids to learn and memorize numbers, but it also develops their fine motor skills and concentration.
Stem Math Activities for Kindergarten Kids
Here are some fun examples of kindergarten STEM math activities!
1. Math Scavenger Hunt
This is a very simple activity where you hide treasures from nature in the park or your own backyard and encourage your children to find and count them.
This will cement the math knowledge and skills they have been learning in class and encourage independent thinking and learning.
2. Weighing Apples
Of course, you do not have to use apples, you can use whatever you like. But my children and I eat apples in abundance so it’s perfect for us!
This STEM math activity is very simple and the perfect way to introduce your children to measurements, units, etc.
For this activity, all you need to do is measure the apples, 1 apple, 2, 3, etc, and record the results on a STEM measurement printable.
3. Post-it Number Match
All you need for this activity is a dry-erase board, markers, and post-it notes.
On the board, you need to draw lines to create various squares, and in all of the squares, you need to draw dots. So, in one square you will draw 1 dot, in another, you will draw 3, then 7, 5, etc.
Write down 1 number per post-it note and then ask your child to stick the post-it note to the corresponding numbers on the board.
4. Marshmallow Shapes
This STEM math activity involves both math and engineering. For this activity, all you need are marshmallows and toothpicks.
Ask your child to make shapes by attaching the marshmallows to the toothpicks until the shape is complete.
This is a great activity to do with your kids because it teaches them about different angles and vertices, but also because they can have a nice marshmallow snack if they get hungry!
5. Weighing Pumpkins
This activity is similar to the apple-weighing activity above but more Halloween-themed to help your kids get excited about the holidays!
My kids were so excited about Halloween that they didn’t care for much else, so this is a great way to help them learn.
We decided to guess how much pumpkins of various sizes would weigh and then see who came the closest! This is a great way to begin to teach your child how to estimate.
Stem Activities for Elementary Schoolers
Your kids will love these math activities and you’ll see that math isn’t so bad!
1. Measuring Nature
Take your child for a walk in the park and encourage them to measure various parts of nature – rocks, trees, leaves, etc.
Record these measurements, and then gather leaves, branches, etc, and measure everything side by side to work out which is the longest, which is the shortest, etc.
This not only encourages a love of learning, curiosity, and discovery (essential for STEM) but is also a great way to get out in the fresh air for a few hours.
2. Insect Symmetry
Insect symmetry is all about math, science, and art. First off, you need to draw or print off the images of various insects – ladybugs, bees, grasshoppers, butterflies, etc, and then encourage your child to draw the other half accurately.
They will learn all about what symmetry means which will help them in many shape-related math lessons to come.
Not only that, but you can ask them to label the insect and the insect parts to make it STEM-related.
This activity is a huge bonus if your child loves to draw and color because they can color in the insects once they’re done! We did this, and now I have beautiful artwork on my refrigerator!
3. Grocery Shopping
This is an easy STEM math activity to do with your kids since you likely do it weekly, anyway!
Take your children grocery shopping and use it as an opportunity to teach them about money, measurements, and comparing.
A great way to do this is to take them to the produce section and ask them to read the number shown when you weigh the items to determine the cost.
They can also compare the cost of various items from different brands, like apples, strawberries, etc.
4. 3D Rainbows
Teach your kids some measurement skills by encouraging them to cut out colorful paper strips in all the colors of the rainbow.
Help them put it together for a really fun art project! Plus, you can incorporate a little bit of science into this activity by teaching them how rainbows are made!
5. The Human Clock
Take your children outside and make a clock with branches or chalk. Then, ask your children to stand at the hand positions at various times – 4 o’clock, half past 2, etc.
This is a great way to teach them the time, and also to teach your children how to work together to solve problems – essential for STEM!
6. Tomato Sauce Cleaning
This activity involves cleaning money with tomato sauce. It is a STEM math activity that also involves science!
So, all you need to do here is place various dirty coins that you have in a bowl and ask your kids to clean them with ketchup.
They will learn all about coin values and can practice their adding up by using the coins.
On top of that, you can teach them about chemical reactions and oxidization.
Of course, it is likely that they will be too young to understand this, but they will love learning about it and this will get them excited about science class in the future – it’s a win-win!
So, there you have it! 15 fun and engaging math activities you can teach your kids to help them love math and other STEM subjects, even if you didn’t!