5 ways to bring STEM to family game night

Ah, game night. Setting aside some time one night a week (or month, or year — whatever works) to play games with the family. Putting the phones down, computers away and having some face-to-face interaction. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t involve STEM somehow, does it?

Bringing game night into the 21st century, without involving an app or a screen of some sort is a challenge all on it’s own.

If you don’t already know, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) is a hands on learning approach to these concepts that essentially used to just be called science or math class.

So here are some ideas on how to bring STEM concepts into your game night; low on screen-time, high on good-times.

  1. Make a boat. The only requirements are that it actually needs to float for a reasonable amount of time and that it has to be made from things you can find around the house. The best part of this game is the big bathtub test, of course! (main STEM concepts: Engineering and Art)
  2. Survivor! Challenge your family to cooperate to make a structure you can all fit inside using only newspapers and masking tape (or whatever other miscellaneous materials you have lying around). Pretend you need it to survive. Make it even more challenging (for them, maybe not for you, ha!) by doing it without talking. Complete instructions can be found here. (main STEM concepts: Engineering and Science)
  3. Invent your own game: Create a whole new game or make up new rules for an existing game. This can be a board game, a card game or an active outdoor game. Some ideas for games and supplies you might need to make new games can be found here. (main STEM concepts: depends on what you choose, but either way you’re using your Imagination, so bonus *I!)
  4. Put a twist on games you already have. Play Candyland backwards. Or monopoly. Or Snakes and Ladders. Just start at the end and go to the beginning. Once you start doing this, you will be amazed at what kids can make up themselves. It also gets them thinking outside the box. (main STEM concepts: Math)
  5. Obstacle Course: Create an outdoor obstacle course using pool noodles! They are wonderful to make all kinds of outdoor games. They can be cut and shaped and secured with tape to make all kinds of things. Your family will invent things, get exercise, and have a lot of laughs. Here are some more ideas for that. (main STEM concepts: Technology, Math and Art)

Game night is on!

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