A Full Hands On Day of Fun – STEM and Nature Study

STEM is one of my favorite things to do with the kids. It gets them thinking and gets creative juices flowing. What better way to spend a day, then to do hands on teaching? My friend had came over with her son on Tuesday. Her and I each picked something to teach the kids. We had no idea that either of them would take off as well as they did! The second half of our day was a really awesome live nature study. I could have spent hours there to be honest!

STEM – Shadows

We talked to the kids about shadows and light sources. We also talked about the sun and how the shadows earlier in the day are bigger then shadows in middle of the day. We talked about how shadows are made. Then what we did is roll out the chalk!! The kids traced each others shadows. Next we made chalk paint! The kids painted in their shadows with chalk paint. The paint we made was pretty vibrant in color. Once fully dried it looked like water color paintings on the side walk. I think though the kids had a little more fun mixing up new colors then the painting with the 6 colors we originally made. It does wash away completely when it rains.


Muffin Tin


Food Coloring

Corn Starch

Paint Brushes



Directions: I put one table spoon of corn starch and two table spoons of water and two drops of food coloring in a muffin tin. I had to do to this for each color that we made. See it was that easy! We mixed it with  paint brushes….the open spots in the  muffin time is where the kids experimented mixing colors.


Simple Machines

Next we learned about different simple machines. We learned the different types of machines and how they worked. We completed two different worksheets in identifying the simple machine that was used. I apologize that we didn’t get any pictures with this as we were so into seeing if our contraption we built worked. The kids had to use different simple machines to figure out how to make a bowl roll down into a basket. We used different tinker toys, balls, boxes, and a basket. The kids made a pulley, used wedges, made a ramp, and a couple balls. The kids successfully made it happen! They reached the final goal.


Nature Study – Salmon Study 

We are lucky to have the fishery nearby. The chinook salmon are starting to swim upstream to spawn. Sadly when they spawn that is the end of their journey. Once they are old enough they swim out to the ocean waters to live. When they are ready to spawn they follow the scent back to where they were born. They end up jumping several different ladders until they finally get into a holding tank. A salmon can spawn any where from 3 – 7 years old. Trout on the other hand can spawn several times. We do have brown trout that spawns too and they haven’t started swimming upstream yet. What I didn’t know was that salmon can get 3 – 5 feet long. As you can see from the picture they are huge!

We are standing in the viewing area watching them get up the last HUGE later. We watched several make it. These guys are so determined to keep trying! They are so amazing to watch too. They are just slowly starting to come in. This one has made it across the last ladder and was swimming around before entering into the tank. I don’t blame him for swimming around here as the tanks will get crowded eventually.

My friends son noticed that there were both frogs and toads in the water as well. I don’t think I have ever seen frogs and toads in the tank before. This was a cool site. There was a tree frog sitting on top of a toad….hitching a ride!

After we spent time watching the salmon we headed out to pick up potato wedges for a snack. Let me tell you this place has the BEST ever potato wedges. They know me so well they know what box I will order. LOL We took the potato wedges to the harbor and sat at the picnic benches. While we ate we learned about Chinook Salmon. The kids had to write down interesting facts that they learned in their nature journal. They also had to draw something they saw. My kids drew a salmon. We learned a lot about the salmon and in a couple weeks we will be going to the fishery to learn about how they harvest the eggs. They do release the eggs after they hatch when they are ready to go back into the river. We also learned about the life cycle of a salmon and did a worksheet to show which steps of the life cycle the salmon were at.

We finished off our day taking a walk on the beach looking for painted rocks as well as some pokemon hunting. It was a little chilly and the waves were angry. It was a beautiful and relaxing walk. The kids had fun finding the rocks and rehiding them. I even saw a heron! I have seen this bird three times now.

We really did have an amazing day!

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