School is out for the summer – the days are long, daily schedules are relaxed, and parents everywhere are struggling to find activities to keep their kids engaged and entertained! We’ve lived all over the country, so summers have ranged from gorgeously warm to brutally hot and humid. Depending on your climate, this time of year means you are either trying to soak up the sun or escape the crazy heat. Well, today I am sharing one of our favorite STEM activities that can be enjoyed both indoors and out.
I frequently try to provide my daughters with activities that are open-ended. This means that there isn’t really a “beginning” and “end” to the play. There are no desired results and they have the freedom to be as creative as they would like. My girls have always enjoyed various forms of pretend play – usually acting out an occupation or activity that they observe from us, a book, or a show.
Gears Garden Building
I decided to create a fun Summer Garden set up in our living room on an overcast morning using our Gears, Gears, Gears! sets. My youngest can get a little frustrated with the base tiles, so the three of us arranged them together. After that, the girls were free to build the garden of their dreams!
I love these gears because the possibilities are endless. They have been one of the best ways to encourage free play involving STEM. Mainly because they make a great independent quiet time activity. It’s awesome to watch my daughters’ minds work as they try to figure out how to make the entire board of gears and their “flowers” rotate and spin.
Once they felt that their garden was complete, the sun had come out and I moved their garden to a table on our deck. I added in buckets of water, a watering can, small animals and fairies. Adding in the pretend play elements was a huge success and they especially loved getting to water their garden. The gears are great because we can easily use them both indoors and outdoors – to include water play! This activity ended up being a huge success and occupied them for over two hours. We will definitely be adding it into our summer “boredom busters” rotation for the rest of this year.
Save it for later!