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Boredom Busters: STEM Activities for End-of-Year Fun

As the end of the school year approaches, these activities can be great fillers in between testing, in odd spaces in your schedule, or just for general end-of-the-year fun.

8 activities that are great for boredom busters or end-of-year STEM

8 Free STEM Ideas to Fill End-of-Year Time

The final weeks of the school year often mean varied schedules and pockets of time in the classroom that can be hard to fill. The activities featured here use simple materials and are easy to do with students even in small amounts of time. There are lots of other hands-on STEM activities we know could be on this list, too, but these rise to the top as crowd favorites and a fun way to say goodbye to the school year.

Gear Up Your Candy
Turn plastic container lids and gummy candies into an interconnected array of moving gears. Have kids work on individual gears or challenge the whole class to work together to set up a complex system of spinning gears!
How Much Weight Can Aluminum Foil Boats Float?
Make boats out of aluminum foil and experiment with how different shapes and designs alter the amount of weight the boat can hold. (Educators: NGSS-aligned lesson plan available! This family tried several boat designs. Which held the most? )
Make a Cotton Ball Launcher
With cardboard tubes, rubber bands, and pencils, these cotton ball launchers are easy to make and a harmless way to let off some end-of-year steam. Our VP of STEM Education was thankful that this launcher uses lightweight cotton balls when her student used her as a target.
Making Shadow Puppets
Make shadow puppets with student-drawn characters mounted on craft sticks and turn the lights off (and close the shades) for a fun exploration of shadows and storytelling. For other storytelling ideas, see the Imagine Your Story - STEM Activities for Storytellers of All Ages! collection. (Educators: NGSS-aligned lesson plan available!)
Build a Popsicle Stick Catapult
Wooden craft sticks, a plastic bottle lid, and rubber bands form the basis of an easy-to-make, compact launcher kids will love. Set up a target area for launching and up the math learning by having kids keep track of their launches so they can figure the median, mean, and mode! When this student built the popsicle stick launcher, part of the fun was testing the launcher with small objects from around the house.
How to Make Slime
You only need a few simple ingredients to mix up icky slime. Kids can build on the basic recipe to create their own custom formula. For more inspiration, see how this family made magnetic and 'fluffy' slime. (Educators: NGSS-aligned lesson plan available! Tip: have kids bring in a plastic container they can mix in and use to carry their slime home.)
How Does a Hovercraft Hover?
With a stack of old compact discs and balloons, kids can build simple hovercraft and send them zipping along the hallway or outside on the schoolyard. Making and testing hovercraft was a hit at home for this family!

Additional Science and Engineering Activities

For other fun ideas, see:

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