Tag: Children’s STEAM (Page 1 of 3)

Four Great Places to Find STEAM Activities for Summer

Looking for ways to incorporate STEAM activities this summer? I’ve got four fantastic suggestions.

1. At LitLinks, Patricia Newman invites guest authors and scientists to share activities and lessons featuring children’s books that link STEM and language arts. For example, in a recent post I contributed activities to accompany the picture book, How to Build an Insect, including instructions for making an insect-related word collection and constructing a collage insect.

Full of creative and educational suggestions on a range of topics!

2.  If your children or students are verbal learners, they might want to listen to the Solve It For Kids Podcast. Each week hosts Jennifer Swanson and Jeff Gonyea interview STEM experts. Recent podcasts featured an expert on giraffes and a meteorologist. So cool!

3. Although it is held later this month, you can check out Pollinator Week website any time.

To prepare, hop onto their resources page for bee identification guides, puzzles, posters, instructions for building a bee house, and more. Also, check the activities page for local events happening that week.

Bonus:   The Tohono Chul garden in Tucson has a multi-day lesson on pollination that is wonderful.

4. Look for National Moth Week, July 17-25, 2021. To get ready, check the kid’s page, which includes a link to a free moth coloring book!

We’ll be posting more about this in July.

Do you have a favorite place to find STEAM activities and experiments? Please let us know in the comments.

Make an Insect STEAM Activity: Bees

I haven’t really made a big announcement about it, but on October 6, 2020 my picture book, How to Build an Insect (illustrated by Anne Lambelet) is coming out. There is a preorder page on Amazon, but — sorry — no cover yet. Edit:  The publication date has been moved to April 2021.

To celebrate, I’m starting a series of posts to encourage children to learn about insects through building models, creating art and making crafts. Each post will feature ideas for a particular insect group.

making bee models for kids Just in time for spring, let’s make some bees!

Because we are looking at bees from a STEAM perspective, it is important to emphasize that bees are insects. They have three distinct body regions:  head, thorax, and abdomen. Bees have six legs and four wings attached to the thorax. They have eyes and antennae on their heads. Creating an accurate model will reinforce these facts.

First, gather photographs of bees and age-appropriate books on the topic. Freshly emerged this month and with many starred reviews, we recommend the picture book Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann. For a full summary and review, fly over to our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil.

Activity 1. Paper models of bees


  • Construction paper
  • Age-appropriate scissors
  • Markers and/or crayons
  • Glue sticks or tape
  • Computer paper or newspaper for wings

For the youngest children, cut out ovals for the head, thorax and abdomen, as well as paper strips to be the legs and antennae. Cut elongate triangles of white paper or newspaper for wings.

Have the children assemble the parts and glue together.

Add wings and decorate.

Honey bee paper model

For older children, make a copy of the  honey-bee-body-template (PDF).

Cut out body parts from construction paper or computer paper, assemble, and decorate.

Detail Note: What color are bees?

Check out any bee craft on the internet and they are likely to have contrasting yellow and black stripes. Bold, contrasting colors like that are examples of warning coloration, a sign that animal is defended in some way.

Not all bees are yellow and black, though. They can be almost any color.

Honey bees are orangish to brown and black.

Public domain photograph from USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab Flickr page.

This sweat bee resembles the hues of a peacock:  teal, blues, and purple.

Public domain photograph from USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab Flickr page.

This one is green and gold.

The bottom line is to let the children explore color. No need to limit them to yellow and black.

Activity 2. Draw bees

Older children may want to use their art skills and draw bees. Check out the video below for step by step instructions. Cool!

If a child is not confident about drawing, consider starting with a stencil.

bee-stencilThe stencil can be filled in using crayons, colored pencils, or markers, but I chose oil pastels.


Make a heavy outline of the stencil with the oil pastel.

stencil-fill-inUsing a finger or bit of tissue, draw the pastels from the edge by rubbing. This creates a shading effect.

finished-bee-stencilRemove the stencil and fill in details like antennae, if desired.

Activity 3. Model bee

(Amazon Affiliate link)


  • Model Magic or air-dry clay
  • Chenille stems (also known as fuzzy stems or pipe cleaners)
  • Plastic water bottle (empty)
  • Age-appropriate scissors

Form the head, thorax, and abdomen out of lumps of air-dry clay or Model Magic. Join them together. (Hint:  Using short pieces of chenille embedded between the body sections will create added support.) Add contrasting-colored ovals to head for eyes.

Cut 2 chenille stem pieces for antennae and insert into clay head. Cut 6 chenille stem pieces for legs. Insert into clay thorax.

Cut elongate triangle wing-shaped pieces from an empty plastic water bottle to form wings. Overlap and embed the attachment end into the thorax, so the bottoms of the wings cover the abdomen.

I purposely left the instructions a bit vague to allow for creativity, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Hope we’ve inspired you to make a bee!

Want more activities?

See our Pinterest board of bee crafts with some fun ways to display the work, too.

Pinterest Board

For activity suggestions sorted by age, check out Africanized Honey Bees on the Move lesson plans at The University of Arizona, for example Lesson 1.1, The Honey Bee Body.

For more children’s books about bees, visit our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

STEAM Festival: Math Activities for Kids

For the final day of our week long STEAM festival, we are highlighting math. Sarah at Share It! Science is looking for the golden ratio in the garden. Here at Growing with Science we are going to celebrate STEM Friday by featuring some new math books and related activities.



The expert team of Hilary Koll and Steve Mills have developed a unique series of math books illustrated by Vladimir Aleksic. Each feature gritty, real world applications of math with problems to solve embedded within the story. The challenges vary in difficulty and math skills needed.

In Solve a Crime (You Do the Math) Alex, an undercover police detective, shows how math can help catch a criminal. For example, on one page the reader is asked to use co-ordinates to map the evidence and then look on a grid to calculate the distance between certain items. These problems will require a pencil and piece of paper to do the work.

The graphic-style illustrations are bold and serious, adding to the true-to-life feel. Want to see how it looks? You can check out a sample of some of the pages at Google Books.

Related activities:
Math Mavens Mysteries has a Time for Crime math mystery to get students warmed up, complete with audio clips (index to all math mysteries with level of difficulty).

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992732X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927325

Fly a Jet Fighter (You Do the Math) follows pilot Katie as she handles data, interprets tables, and reads dials and scales. The goal is to create a squadron of jet fighter aces and complete the mission.

An additional activity to accompany this book might be a making a paper plane (Instructions for nine different models).

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1609927311
ISBN-13: 978-1609927318

Launch a Rocket into Space (You Do the Math) follows each stage of the  space mission to make sure the rocket blasts clear of the atmosphere and returns safely. It features astronaut Michael who helps the reader compete the math exercises and learn about everything from fractions to timelines. A few problems will require a protractor to measure angles.

Once again, here’s a preview from Google Books:

Each of the books has a glossary and the answers for all the questions are in the back matter.

Although recommended for ages 6-8, these books could also be useful for older children who are struggling with math concepts or don’t quite see how the math they are learning might be useful.

The books in the You Do the Math series would be perfect for homeschoolers and after school math clubs because they can be entirely child-directed reading.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (June 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992729X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927295


Making Room for Math at Science Buddies has instructions for tons of math activities.

Don’t forget to visit our growing list of math books for children (from counting books to high school level) at Science Books for Kids.


Disclosures: The books were provided by Quarto Publishing Group USA for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.


Our activity schedule is as follows:

June 22: Science
Growing with Science: Science activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Are You a Scientist?

June 23: Technology
Growing with Science: Technology for Kids
Share it! Science: Exploring Kid’s Opportunities in Technology

June 24: Engineering
Growing with Science: Engineering Activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Rube Goldberg Machines- an Engineering Challenge

June 25: Art with a STEM focus
Growing with Science: Art Activities for Kids with a STEM Focus
Share it! Science: Family STEAM Night- Where Art Meets Science!

Today:  Math
Growing with Science: this post
Share It! Science: Golden Ratio in the Garden

We would love to hear your questions or suggestions for STEAM-related projects to share with others. Let’s heat up the summer with STEAM!


Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

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