Mother's Day is still open this year! With a few simple materials, kids can do one of these science activities to make something special to give.

Three photos from the 12 science activities highlighed that kids can make and give with Mother's Day in mind: marbled art, colored flowers, and a homemade bird feeder

STEM Activities to Make or Do and Give!

Mother's Day this year falls in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools remain closed, and heading out to the store for non-essential items isn't a good idea. That doesn't mean that kids can't still make cool things at home to celebrate Mother's Day. In addition to other arts and crafts projects, creative science and engineering activities can be a fun way to make something awesome and to explore STEM at the same time. After all, "I made this" always makes a gift from a kid extra special. (We think this might be especially true this year!)

  1. Make Marbled Art Cards: use shaving cream and food coloring to make colorful cards or art to hang on the refrigerator door or wall.
  2. Build a Bird Feeder: decorate a recycled plastic jug, fill it with bird seed, and hang it somewhere outside where you can welcome, nurture, and observe neighborhood birds.
  3. Make a Thaumatrope: this is a simple retro handheld toy that creates the appearance of a cartoon-like animation when it spins.
  4. Make Milk Plastic Beads: make special beads or small sculptures from milk plastic created from milk and vinegar. (Tip! Carefully poke holes in beads before they harden, so they can be strung.)
  5. Technicolor Flowers: this classic science experiment is a fun way for kids to transform white flowers into an extra-colorful bouquet (and observe capillary action at the same time)
  6. Tell a Story with a Flip-Book: all you need are index cards (or cut cardstock) and markers or crayons to animate a simple story with a homemade flip-book. This is a great way for young artists and storytellers to illustrate a special message as a gift.
  7. Design a Cell Phone Stand: use simple materials to build a functional cell phone stand that can be used in the car or at home for hands-free convenience. (Such a stand might be perfect for propping a phone for watching videos, video conferencing, or even reading!)
  8. Make a Mobile: a homemade mobile is a great way to explore forces and balance, and kids can draw or paint their own elements to hang from the mobile.
  9. Design a Back Scratcher: design and make a handy back scratcher from recycled materials.
  10. Grow Rock Candy: the crystals will need a few days to form, but at the end of this experiment, everyone will be able to sample a sweet homemade treat.
  11. Make Homemade Slushies or Ice Cream in a Bag: both of these treats are easy to make but are a great way for kids to mix (or shake) up a special treat.
  12. Tie-Dye T-shirts with Permanent Markers: this activity does require isopropyl alcohol, which is still difficult to find in many places. But if it's available, this is a colorful and creative way to customize clothing or fabric!

Get Inspired with STEM Videos

The following videos are from a few of the activities mentioned above. Short videos like these are a great way for kids to see what's involved in a project before starting.

Additional Family Science Activities

See our Doing Science at Home series for firsthand stories from a Science Buddies parent doing STEM activities with kids at home during the 2020 pandemic. In recent weeks, this family has tried and shared their adventures with more than 22 STEM activities during school closures, including ice cream in a bag, marbled art cards, and an art mobile from the list above.

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