3 easy DIY STEM projects for kids

(BPT) - Looking for hands-on activities to engage your kids? It’s never too early to introduce them to important STEM subjects at home.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These subjects are critical for all students to learn because they are required for so many careers in the future. In fact, STEM jobs are growing faster than any other U.S. sector, according to Wired magazine.

If you’re looking for fun, hands-on STEM projects to do with your child, 4-H is a tremendous resource! 4-H utilizes exciting topics like robotics, rocketry, computer science and even electrical engineering to teach youth problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and build excitement for technology and STEM careers. To reach more youth with STEM programs, the National 4-H Council has partnered with HughesNet, America’s #1 choice for satellite Internet, to help introduce youth to hands-on, community-based STEM learning. HughesNet is a national sponsor of 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD), the world’s largest youth-led STEM challenge. 4-H NYSD projects can be used by local clubs, families, homeschoolers and teachers to give youth a fun way to learn about STEM.

Here are three exciting NYSD STEM projects that are so much fun, your child will think it’s playtime, not work time.

Project 1: Incredible Wearables

The FitBit and Apple Watch craze have inspired “Incredible Wearables” — the 2017 NYSD experiment. Designed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, this project teaches students how circuits, sensors and health data can be blended with fashion to create a wearable tech product.

To get started, visit https://shop4-h.org/ to order an affordable kit that provides everything needed for up to eight kids to make their very own wearable fitness devices. These wearables can track heart rate, steps and more! Best yet, the kits are reusable so they can have fun building, designing and testing their tracker time and time again.

Project 2: Drone Discovery

For children excited by aeronautics and design, Drone Discovery enables youth to explore how drone engineering and remote sensing can be used to solve real-world problems, such as helping a community develop climate change resiliency and energy sustainability. To succeed in this challenge, youth need to think like an engineer as they design, build and test drones. There are many different kinds of engineers and different ways to approach a challenge. What kind of engineer do you think you’ll need to be to master drone technology? The engineering design process has three basic steps: define, design and optimize.

Project 3: Rockets to the Rescue

Rockets to the Rescue is a competitive project, enabling youth to design and build a rocket that could be used to transport food and deliver supplies to disaster victims. This project, which is incredibly timely with major storms hitting the United States, teaches engineering concepts, math skills, nutrition and how to help solve a relevant, global issue.

The possibilities are endless

From simple building blocks to tackling science kits and constructing robots, there are plenty of STEM projects guaranteed to pique your child's interest. Not only are you spending quality time with them having fun, but you're also helping them learn critical STEM skills that will positively impact their future. To learn about other fun STEM activities, visit www.hughesnet.com/4h and www.4h.org.

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