Science Explorers
Science Explorers

Going to the beach is an essential part of any summer vacation. One of the best ways to make your beach trip more engaging (and educational!) is to incorporate some science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities in this new environment.

4 Ways to Have STEM Fun at the Beach

Just because your child is on summer vacation doesn’t mean the learning stops. Planning some STEM activities takes advantage of your child’s natural curiosity and allows them to have fun as they learn new things. Some of the many activities you and your child can try at the beach include:

1. Aquatic Observations

The beach has a wide variety of creatures on land and sea, and one way to help your child build their STEM skills is by having them observe the life around them as if they were marine biologists. Have your child bring a journal or camera and start by searching the sand at the water’s edge and in shallow areas, writing down or taking pictures of what they find.

If you plan on staying at the beach all day, you and your child can take a walk in the morning, afternoon and evening. During your walks, you can ask your child questions like:

  • What animals are you hoping to find?
  • Did you see different animals throughout the day?
  • How high was the water each time we went for a walk?
  • Did you see more or less animals throughout the day?

Another great learning opportunity is to have your child bring a pair of goggles so they can see what’s under the water in shallow ponds, tide pools and streams.

2. Sandcastle Architecture

Building sandcastles is an essential beach activity, and you can add an educational element to it by having your child make a plan before they start building. When you get to the beach, or before they start building, you can sit down with your child and ask them questions like:

  • Do you want to build a tall or short sandcastle?
  • Will your sandcastle have a moat?
  • Will you add details like sticks, seashells or beach rocks?

As you talk with your child, you can have them draw their ideas on paper or sketch them in the sand with a stick.

Once your child starts to build their castle, you can keep the learning process going by having them experiment with sand consistency. Have your child try experiments such as whether dry or wet sand is better for building, or have them try to build multiple castles using different techniques to see which building method is best.

3. Sunscreen Science

Most children (and adults) are resistant to applying sunscreen. However, with a little sunscreen science, you can help your child understand the importance of wearing sunscreen at the beach.

Before you get to the beach or when you arrive, take a piece of colored construction paper and draw a line in the middle to make two halves. Have your child make a finger painting with sunscreen on one half and leave the other half blank. Leave the piece of paper in the sun while ensuring it stays dry.

Let your child check the paper after an hour or so in the direct sunlight. The sunscreen will have protected the design they painted, much like how sunscreen protects the skin.

If your child enjoys this activity, you can try it again but have your child bring multiple pieces of paper with several different kinds of sunscreens or sunscreens ranging in SPFs. Throughout these experiments, reinforce the importance of wearing sunscreen to your child and make sure they reapply their own sunscreen throughout the day.

4. Sand Magnifiers

Sand is more than something your child tracks into your car and home at the end of their beach day. Bring a magnifying glass or other magnifying tools to the beach and buckets or other containers to hold the sand in. Let your child grab a handful of sand from different beach areas, and then let them sit and take a closer look. As they look at the sand, you can ask them questions like:

  • What colors do you see?
  • What shapes do you see?
  • Does the sand from each place look the same or different?

If your child has a microscope, you can have them bring a sandwich baggie of sand home so they can get an even closer look.

Help Your Child Have an Enriching Summer With Science Explorer’s Summer Camps

At Science Explorers, we want to make learning more about science accessible for everyone, especially children. We offer several half- and full-day STEM Summer Camps focusing on topics such as space, chemistry and marine biology. All of our camps provide hands-on learning to encourage your child to engage with the lesson.

Make your child’s summer more exciting by signing up for a summer camp today!

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