10 Books to help you get started with Hands-on STEM

STEM is everywhere. Have you ever really thought about how often our kids come across something STEM related in their day? Science is in their natural world – the trees, butterflies, erosion on the creek bed, and so on. Technology is part of our kids’ everyday lives – iPads, Kindles, computer programming, telescopes, and all the way back to the invention of the wheel. Engineering is in the construction of bridges, homes, buildings, and other infrastructures. Math is a crucial skill to help them balance checkbooks, buy groceries, budgeting, and so much more. Here are a few Hands-on STEM Books to help you inspire your kids to engineer, create, design, explore and build the unimaginable. These books are full of great stories, Hands-on activities, experiments and cool project ideas that can help lay a foundation for any mixture of STEM disciplines.

Science Activity Book (STEM Starters for Kids)

by Sam Hutchinson,‎ Vicky Barker  (Illustrator)

STEM Activity

The books in this series encourage children from all backgrounds to take an interest in the STEM subjects. Little learners can discover more about STEM at home by reading the simple explanations and doing the beautifully illustrated activities on each page. From marvelous mazes, spot the difference and drawing puzzles to mental challenges, pattern identifying and testing quizzes, the activities in this book introduce children to the science behind the world around them and might even, one day, inspire them to contribute an invention of their own. In this particular title, little scientists will love the mix of non-fiction and activities in this educational book full of BIG ideas. Fun games and puzzles teach boys and girls about smells and taste buds, the power of magnetism, how sound travels and the different types of energy that fuel our lives and our world.

The Everything STEM Handbook

Everything STEM Handbook

Projects and experiments to inspire and challenge your kids!  If you want to make sure your children are ready for the future in STEM fields, here’s how you can help: Make it fun! Expose them to hands-on, real-world, and fun activities so they’ll become engaged, motivated, and successful students later on. With easy-to-understand examples, problem-solving tips, and hands-on projects your family can create together, this guide gives you the tools you need to help your kids excel and foster a lifetime love of learning.

Engineer Through the Year: 20 Turnkey STEM Projects to Intrigue, Inspire & Challenge

20 Turnkey STEM Project

Can students as young as kindergarten through second grade really be engineers? You bet! Present your class with the exciting challenges in this book, all built to fold right into your current curriculum and tie to your themes and your calendar. Introduce students to Sandi’s simple five-step engineering design process. Then, as you guide them with simple questions, watch your budding engineers delight in designing their own unique drums and sailboats, kites and umbrellas, and so much more. With Engineer Through the Year, students build engineering skills all year long. And they learn to think like engineers for the rest of their lives.

Wonders from Waste – Arvind Gupta

Wonders from Waste

Create wonderful projects such as a magical standing pen, a 3-D Buddha, an electric swing, a secret script and much more, using things such as paper cups, CDs, straws, broomsticks and other such waste material. Wonders from Waste is a collection of over 40 science activities with step by step instructions and illustrations to help children discover the joys of science.

Janice VanCleave′s Engineering for Every Kid: Easy Activities That Make Learning Science Fun (Science for Every Kid Series)

Science for Every KidDiscover the answers to these and many other fascinating questions about engineering for yourself with this fun–filled resource. Janice VanCleave′s Engineering for Every Kid presents entertaining, challenging experiments and activities to help you understand the different types of engineering there are including structural, solar, electrical, and chemical and how each is applied to real world everyday situations. Each of the activities is broken down into its purpose, a list of easy–to–find materials, step–by–step instructions, expected results, and a simple scientific explanation. Plus, the book s 25 projects can easily be used in the classroom, as the basis of a science fair project, or at home just for fun!

Also available in this series are: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Astronomy, Geography, The Human Body, Energy, Math, Geometry, Electricity, Oceans, Ecology, Molecules, Weather

 Steam Kids by Anne Carey


A year’s worth of captivating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) activities that will wow the boredom right out of kids.  Perfect for children ages 4-10, all the step-by-step activities are helpfully coded with difficulty indicators and estimated project times. Helpful project extensions promote further exploration and learning for enthusiastic children. Bonus materials will make things easy for parents and educators, and include: a handy weekly planning guide, project shopping lists, STEAM journal and more.

50 Stem Labs – Science Experiments for Kids by Andrew Frinkle

50 STEM Labs

This is a collection of 50 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) science experiments for kids. Recommended for grades 3 and up. Each one has a snappy title, a brief description of the task required, the rules, and grading rubrics. These are very adjustable for your classroom, home, or homeschool needs. They support learning in these technical fields in a fun, hands-on, and sometimes competitive way. Learn by doing, measuring, and designing, and then reflect upon it. Labs are tagged with categories so you can search for other similar labs. Types of labs included in this book are; paper airplanes, bridge building, roller coasters, weightlifting projects, cars, crash tests, egg tests, and many, many more!

Stem Through the Months – Back to School Edition Grades 2-6: For Budding Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians, Makers, and Poets

STEM through the months

Designed for teachers and students, these activities will help you make and create wonderful classroom experiences. Using monthly themes as a springboard and the maker movement for inspiration, students will build cross-curricular connections as they explore STEM. Primarily aimed at students in grades three through grade eight, these engaging and innovative lessons and projects are easily adopted and adapted for learners of all ages. The projects and poetry lessons provide enjoyable learning experiences in a variety of learning environments. Inside this book, you will find a jam-packed month of STEM lessons, projects and poetry for Back to School and all through the year.

Tinkering, 2e (Make) by Curt Gabrielson

Make Tinkering

The author draws on more than 20 years of experience doing hands-on science to facilitate tinkering: learning science while fooling around with real things. Updated with new photographs and in full color, this new edition is even more accessible to young makers or young-at-heart makers. In this book, you’ll learn: * Tinkering techniques in key science areas. * How to let kids learn science with hands-on tinkering * Engaging techniques for science learning at home, in school, or at a makerspace or library. *Step-by-step instructions for activities that don’t end with a single project, but that provide many paths for “tinkering forward”.

The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create and Learn by Colleen Graves

Maker Space Projects

This easy-to-follow guide is full of hands-on, low-cost makerspace projects that will inspire inventors and makers of all ages. The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create and Learn features practical tips for beginners and open-ended challenges for advanced makers.  The book features dozens of classroom-tested, hands-on DIY projects and challenges. Each project features clear, non-technical step-by-step instructions with photos and illustrations to ensure success, expand the imagination, and foster innovation. You will explore recyclables hacks, smartphone tweaks, paper circuits, e-textiles, musical instruments, coding and programming, 3-D printing, and much, much more!

Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley


55 playful experiments that encourage tinkering, curiosity, and creative thinking from the creator of Tinkerlab.com—hands-on activities that explore art, science, and more.  For children two and up. This book is about creative experiments, in all fields, that help kids explore the world. The creative experiments shared in this book foster curiosity, promote creative and critical thinking and encourage tinkering–mindsets that are important to children growing up in a world that values independent thinking.

Also, check out the STEM Picture Books for children.  Go on and encourage STEM education and instill a love of learning in your children! Try out some cool STEM projects and build bridges, towers, dams, or ramps and simple machines. Be it skateboard parks or wind farms, many inventions start with an idea and a plan. Most importantly, they all started with a person who wasn’t willing to give up on his or her idea.

Help your children to get excited about learning with these workshops and courses that are STEM-based.

Click here to see all the STEM events near you.

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