STEM Fun On The Road
Summer holidays can often bring with it long journeys, whether by plane, train or car. If you are heading out for a holiday or a day-trip we know it can be a stressful prospect to keep the little ones entertained for hours in a confined space. Thankfully tablets and smart phones are filled with videos and apps to help save your sanity, but there are also some great screen-free games to add educational value to your trip. Travel time doesn’t have to be lost time! Here are five travel-friendly STEM activities that will spark curiosity whilst on the road:
It might seem a bit retro but paper maps can spawn tons of fun activities for kids. Take some time to read maps of your journey together before you set out. Take this opportunity to build on your child’s STEM vocabulary (left, right, east, west, north, south, under, across). Whilst on the road challenge your pint-sized adventurers to look out for landmarks using the map for guidance. Other interesting map activities include writing, or vocalising, directions for getting from A to B, or drawing your own maps of the journey. These travel-inspired games develop spacial thinking skills, analytical skills, and communication skills.
Pipe Cleaner Construction
Get creative with a handful of pipe cleaners! This is a mess-free, hands-on craft activity with tons of possibility, not to mention a feast for creative thinking and fine motor skills. Mini makers can engineer their own pipe cleaner jewellery, buildings, animals, or people. Why not host a backseat pipe cleaner challenge- who can make a flower the fastest? Red Ted Art have featured a whole host of cool pipe cleaner craft ideas in the handy video below.
Backseat Bingo can keep the family busy for an entire journey! It's an adventure for kids to peer out of the window and seek out the items pictured on their grid. Encourage them to call out when they spot one and mark it on the grid. Try to find three in a row, down or diagnoally, to win, or for a longer journey try find all the items on the grid. This game can be played as a team to see who spots everything on their grid first, or as a fun visual scavenger hunt for solo players. Download and print your Trunkaroo Backseat Bingo grids here! Use the free space for a landmark specific to your journey.
The Alphabet Game
This one is an old favourite that will quickly silence calls of ‘are we there yet?’ Start with A and work your way through the alphabet spotting things out of the window and inside the car to match each letter. This can get surprisingly tricky so it might be wise to skip ‘X’ and ‘Z’! Play as a team effort or take it turns for each letter. This activity is fantastic for the development of communication skills, creative thinking, literacy and exploration of the wider world.
Post-It Note Flip Animation
This video by Mr Otter Art Studio shows how to make an easy flip book animation using a pad of sticky notes. All you need is a pen and notepad so this is a perfect activity for little explorers on a road trip. Animation is an optical illusion, so this art project can lead into a conversation about how the science behind it works. When you look at a series of images quickly, your eye tricks your brain into thinking the images are actually moving.
There are many more entertaining games-themed STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) projects and activities to discover in our 'Family Games Night' trunk. You can order a trunk as a one-off purchase or sign up to our subscription service to receive practical, imaginative projects through your letterbox every month.