Ideas for school and home
Engaging children and young people in hands-on activities is not only fun but reinforces that science and technology are for everybody.
- STE(A)M resources
- STEM clubs and projects
- Events and exhibitions
- Scholarships and bursaries
- Placements and work experience
- Trips and tours
Everyone agrees that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) needs to be an integral part of education. To inspire the next generation, we need to help young people fully realise the enormous importance of technical and creative subjects to modern life.
Parents and carers are just as important as teachers in ensuring that their children not only understand the importance of science, technology and engineering but are brought to it by hands-on, enjoyable experiences. We have therefore selected a shortlist of links and ideas for all ages that we think provide fun and educational experiences both in and out of school.
If you're looking for things to do at home, or projects to run at school, the following resources and organisations may help you.
The internet provides a huge range of activities that children can do at home, but we have picked a shortlist here. Please ensure that if you decide to do something you have read and considered any health and safety precautions and supervise your children if necessary!
CSES Imagine! Masterclasses
We are pleased to be able to publish a selection of our Imagine! Masterclasses as self-guided tutorial and activity packs.
- BBC Microbit The pocket-sized computer transforming the world. Get creative, get connected, get coding!
- IET teachers' resources The IET offers support to teachers through the delivery of classroom resources, posters and engineering careers information. Their curriculum-linked teaching materials include lesson plans and classroom activities, films of engineering case studies, engineering profiles and more.
- STEM Home Learning Resources (STEM@Home) To support parents and carers with home learning, a selection of activities and materials ranging from making a telescope to growing plants directly from the food we eat, all of which are completely free for everyone to access.
- Marvin and Milo from the Institute of Physics (IOP) Explore physics the exciting way, by trying out a simple and fun experiment.
- Royal Institution ExpeRimental A series of excellent short films from spatter pictures to giant bubbles, musical coat hangers and much more. An excellent introduction to doing fun and easy science in the home.
- Science Kids A New Zealand-based web site covering the whole range of science, from experiments, cool facts, games and quizzes. These include making your own fossil, building a robot, making fizzy lemonade and vinegar volcanos, all of which put fundamental science concepts into context.
- 11 engaging STEM activities for kids Provided by Rasmussen College, has some free simple ideas from slow-motion animation to crystal suncatchers, and introducing coding with a Lego maze.
- BrainPOP A well-regarded and popular USA commercial subscription site that nonetheless has a lot of free content with short fun animations on a large variety of topics. There is also a Movie app with a free weekly clip.
Can't tempt your children away from their phones? There are an incredible number of science-oriented apps that they can download. Here are just six, which give a flavour of what is available for both Android and iOS.
- ScratchJr One of the best introductory programming language that enables young children to create their own interactive stories and games, modifying characters and adding their own voices and sounds. There is a more advanced version for children over 8 (Scratch).
- A.L.E.X. A puzzle game that helps you think and plan logically as you program your virtual robot with a sequence of commands to get through each level from start to finish.
- Star Walk Downloaded over 10 million times. Just point your phone camera into the night sky and it will tell you all about which of the 200,000 stars, planets and satellites you can see.
- Starfall Catalyst for Students A shooting game where you progress through a 3D environment by unlocking chemistry concepts along the way. The app has over 20 challenging levels in three unique worlds with quizzes and mini-games.
- Science Journal Perhaps for slightly older children already enthusiastic about science, this app transforms mobile devices into a science toolbox that encourages them to explore and record the world around them. It has links to over 70 experiments you can perform using your phone.
- YouTube Lots of videos demonstrating hands on simple science, engineering and technology experiments (but make sure you have thought about the health and safety aspects).
The following are a handful of YouTube compilations, worth having a look at to give you an idea of what is available (pity about the inevitable ads at the beginning!):
- 10 Easy Science Experiments
- 25 Coolest Science Experiments You Can Do at Home
- Amazing Science Experiments You Can Do at Home
- 10 Amazing Experiment with Water
- And something that’s always popular... Making Sugar Sticks!
Set up a Young Engineers Club at your school.
This is an organisation which supports schools in encouraging students to get involved with engineering. Their website contains lots of ideas for STEM activities and competitions and support includes bursaries for clubs.
Set up a STEM Club at your school or join the CSES Imagine! STEM Club (out of school).
You could take part in a STEM Challenge or any of the other activities listed on this page. Funding for STEM Clubs is available from CSES via the STEM Club Bursary.
Run an engineering scheme in your school such as:
Do a project at home or school leading to a CREST award.
Attend one of our My Smarter Essex events (usually aimed at years 9-13).
Find details of upcoming CSES events for schools and families here.
Invite external providers to run STEM events at your school such as:
- Smallpeice Trust STEM Day (years 6-11)
- Faraday Challenge (primary and secondary ages – CSES and ARU regularly host these)
Encourage your students to take part in STEM competitions such as:
- Our annual Schools' Engineering and Technology Competition (years 5-13)
- First Lego League (ages 4-16)
- Selex ES Rampaging Chariots
- The Big Bang science and engineering fair (all ages)
- Greenpower electric car racing (ages 9-25)
- Formula Schools (Key Stage 3-4)
Promote and support your students in applying for residential engineering courses such as:
Promote and support your students in applying for engineering placements such as:
Run trips to places such as:
- The National Space Centre
- The Science Museum
- Local engineering companies
- The annual national Big Bang Fair (see link above)
- University events