Interested in free or cheap STEAM activities for your classroom, that are also hand-on, self-led, and require little to no clean up? This list is for you.

12+ Inexpensive STEAM Activities

This article includes a variety of hands-on projects for a wide range of grade levels and STEAM subjects. I learned about these ideas in SimpleK12's online webinar, 15 Awesome Hands-on STEAM Activities Found on Pinterest, presented by Nikki D Robertson. I encourage you to check out the recording of the training session, which has even more ideas!

  1. Build a Flashlight Activity. Free hands-on science activity for 3rd, 4th or 5th grade elementary kids. Part of a complete unit on Energy: Energy & Motion. Meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
  2. Learn about Sound – Build a Kazoo. This post includes a super fun science of sound activity for kids.
  3. Create Your Own Animation. This article shows you how to DIY your own zoetrope animation.
  4. Gravity Art. This gravity art project uses science and art to demonstrate the force of gravity. This STEAM activity encourages creativity in students of all ages.
  5. Paper Plate Marble Maze. Remember, just because an activity seems like it's geared for younger students, don't assume you can't use it with older grades as well. Many simple ideas scale well to all grade levels.
  6. Ghost Rockets. Using simple and inexpensive materials, create rockets that soar into the air!
  7. Popsicle Stick Catapult. Students will LOVE catapulting marshmallows around the room with their very own catapults.
  8. Homemade Kaleidoscope. Your students are sure to impress you with how creative they are with their diy kaleidoscopes.
  9. Design a Monster. A perfect idea for halloween (though fun anytime of the year). This engineering craft is all about designing your own monster.
  10. Cardboard Tube Activities. This article has a dozen or so projects you can do with cardboard tubes. Have students start collecting them at home, and you'll be able to implement these ideas in no time!
  11. Airplane challenge. Haven't we all enjoyed making paper airplanes in our youth? Turn this classic creation into a science lesson, and have students compete in their own flight competition.
  12. STEM Activities with #2 Pencils. This articles has a list of a handful of fun activities using pencils.

Another thank you to Nikki for these great ideas. Make sure to check out all of her webinars inside the Teacher Learning Community, and follow her on Pinterest (where she found all of these awesome ideas).

Which of these activities are you most excited about? Let me know your favorite in a comment on this article.

About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at editor@simplek12.com.