There is a stray Barbie leg near our daughter’s maker space. The leg has been colored pink. But that is the least of it. The leg has been part of Lego structures. It has been wrapped in string and swung about. It has been used as a bad guy in pretend games.

Leg aside, there are many great – but unusual – STEM supplies in our house.

(Please note: this is not a sponsored blog post.)

Here are some of our favorites:

PVC Pipe:

pvc

© Dan4th Nicholas

From marble runs to water play, there is no end to what we can construct with PVC. It is not too expensive, and easy to get at a home or hardware store.

Study ideas: physics, structure, water flow

Look at this great toy on Amazon based upon PVC:

Life-Size Pipe Builders on Amazon

 


Ice making

ice

© Pierre (Rennes)

Ice. Yup. Our daughter is officially obsessed with ice. She will take a small ramekin or plastic container, fill with water, and add the item of the day. She has tried freezing everything from chia seeds to stuffed animals.

kitty in ice

poor kitty

Study ideas: changing states of matter, change over time


Plastic tubing:

plastic tubing – Amazon

This is an odd one. I bought a length at the back of our local hardware store. It is available on a spool, and you can choose whichever diameter you’d like. Some will be large enough to accommodate a marble, others are good for water.

Study ideas: physics structures and life science studies: We used it for a science project about the liver and gallbladder. We clogged it up with “gallstones” (pebbles from the garden).


Small motor

1.5-3 Vdc Motor

We used this for our daughters STEM-Vention fair last year. She used it to make a special fan. But the motor was quite the diversion. Note: you must fashion something to fit on the axle or buy one with a gear attachment. We tried everything from a Sculpey blob to cut up styrofoam. Probably better to buy something in the future. (BTW, Roominate dollhouse products use these motors as well.)

The excitement of touching the wires to fire up a motor is memorable. It was one of the hits of the science fair. Children as young as 4 were touching wires (with supervision of course!) together to fire up the motorized fan.

Study ideas: physics, robotics, invention

motor hooked to a fan (fan from Quercetti Gears Building Set)

motor hooked to a fan (fan from Quercetti Gears Building Set)

 

Have a good one.