10 STEM activities the kids will love

Igniting a child’s interest in STEM is one of the greatest gifts a parent can provide. Not sure where to start? Read on for easy and fun STEM activities to do with the kids in your life.

Corey Tutt OAM, proud Kamilaroi man, CEO and founder of DeadlyScience, discovered a passion for science and the natural world early on in life. For as long as he can remember, he had dreams of being a zookeeper and of emulating Harry Butler, famed presenter of In The Wild.

He spent hours exploring his backyard. And the more that he discovered, the more he knew he wanted to work with animals and in science his whole life.

In pursuing his dreams, though, Corey found that it was quite isolating being the only Indigenous person in his field. So, he decided to do something about it, creating DeadlyScience as a means of encouraging more young Aboriginal people into a STEM career.

Since it started in 2018, DeadlyScience has delivered thousands of books, greenhouses, telescopes, science kits and more to regional and remote schools around Australia—helping ignite the STEM spark in thousands of young minds.

No matter where you live in Australia, you too can help your children learn to love science. Exploring science, technology, engineering and maths with your kids helps expand their little minds and open their eyes to new ways of seeing the world. It sparks curiosity and nurtures problem-solving skills. It ignites new ideas, and it’s a lot of fun.

To help you get started, here are ten simple ideas to foster a love of science in your household, including some fun activities from the 2023 DeadlyScience Guide to Innovation – Teacher Guide (PDF 6.9MB) on how to explore the world around you.

1. Get out into nature

Whether you head into your own backyard or venture further afield with a picnic packed, exploring the natural world with your child is a great place to start. You could count how many different types of bird calls you hear, or hunt for tiny animal prints and trails in the dirt. You could inspect the different shapes of leaves from the trees and bushes around you. Do a treasure hunt or play ‘flora and fauna’ bingo.

Corey’s love of science and nature came from spending a lot of time outdoors. He recalls lifting a sheet of tin metal — just like Harry Butler had on In the Wild—to reveal two shingleback lizards beneath it. “I was just amazed. These creatures had a head that looked like a tail, and a blue tongue which said, ‘I’m venomous’. From then, there were so many other moments when I would just observe animals and watch their behaviour.”

2. Be a budding scientist

Back at home, you don’t need much in the way of materials or scientific equipment to conduct your very own science experiments. In fact, you could probably head to your recycling bin to gather all the gear you need to test out some of the world’s most enduring scientific theories!

To put gravity to the test, you could build an epic marble run using empty boxes and cardboard tubes. You could build a bottle rocket using an empty plastic bottle, along with a little baking soda and a lot of vinegar. Or you could build bridges and test the strength of different folds of paper. There are loads of projects and ideas out there on the internet just waiting to be explored.

3. Make a soak

A water soakage—or soak—is a source of water in very dry areas of Australia, particularly in the desert. In these hot places, First Nations people know where to find water, and their stories tell of where it’s stored just beneath the surface. They would dig out the sand or mud at the soak using a coolamon (a vessel to carry things) or woomera (a throwing spear), often over a metre deep, until c