Father's Day is coming up! Creative STEM activities are a fun way for kids to make something with that perfect DIY flair to mark the day.

Three photos from the 12 science activities highlighed that kids can make and give with Father's Day in mind: airplane launcher, trebuchet, and cell phone stand

STEM Activities to Make or Do and Give!

Giving something to celebrate Father's Day (or Mother's Day) should be simple. It doesn't have to cost a lot to make something one-of-a-kind and special to give. Many of the ideas highlighted below use materials you can probably find around the house. Try one of these 10 science and engineering activities for a unique "I made this" gift for Father's Day:

1. Build a Paper Airplane Launcher

Flying paper airplanes is fun for all ages, and this homemade paper airplane launcher is sure to be a hit! Kids can decorate it to customize it for Dad — make two for some side-by-side flying fun!

2. DIY Face Mask

Man wearing a homemade face mask

Face masks are (and will probably continue to be) important right now in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. It's easy to make fabric masks at home. With this activity, you can try different models recommended by the CDC and then explore ways to improve your homemade masks for the best comfort, fit, and effectiveness. Dads will need their own stash of masks for everyday use, too!

3. Build a Mini Trebuchet

Move over desktop sand garden! Made from wooden popsicle sticks, this mini trebuchet is fun to play with and will definitely make a novel conversation starter on a desk! For home fun, set up a target basket and take turns to see how accurate your launches are.

4. Make Marbled Art

Use shaving cream and food coloring to make colorful marbled art as a card or to hang on the refrigerator door or in the office.

5. Make a Back Scratcher

Three back scratchers made from everyday or recycled materials

Design and make a useful back scratcher from recycled materials. Long? Short? Multiple scratchers? It's up to you to design a custom scratcher you think will really help get the itch!

6. Make a Cotton Ball Launcher

This simple launcher is great for indoor target practice since it launches soft cotton balls! (Plus, this activity earns bonus points for using up some of the empty toilet paper rolls.)

7. Build Your Own Sports Equipment

Sample toy sports equipment made from recycled materials

Use this free-form engineering design activity to make a set of sports-minded toys to use outside. This activity invites kids to create a fun game for the family — and the tools you will need to play. You might make a set of putters for drive-way putting practice or for a homemade mini-golf course, for example. Or you might make mallets for DIY croquet in the yard!

8. Design a Cell Phone Stand

Cell phone stand made from wooden craft sticks, paper clips, and craft materials

Use simple materials to build a handy cell phone stand that can be used in the car or at home for hands-free convenience. Figuring out the exact design specifications to make it "just right" for a specific person or use is half the fun and half the design challenge!

9. Marker Tie-Dye

Example of colorful tie-dye pattern created with markers and alcohol

This colorful adaptation might only work for "just the right Dad," but if you are making homemade masks (see #2 above), you might also experiment with marker tie-dye on an outer layer of fabric for a really unique and custom look! (Note: You'll want to carefully wash and dry your tie-dyed fabric before wearing it to make sure there are no odors from the markers and dyeing process.) Using marker tie-dye for fun family t-shirts is always a good option, too.

10. Junkbots: Robots from Recycled Materials

With a few electronics parts, you can design your own custom junkbot robots with bodies made from recycled materials! (With the Bristlebot kit, you can also make other kinds of simple robots, including an ArtBot, Brushbot or Bristlebot.)



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