Collecting Resources For STEM Activities
Where Do We Collect Our Resources For STEM Activities?
Creating STEM activities is a great way to spend time with your kids, but the last thing you want to do is buy everything for every STEM activity. That would be costly and would reduce the amount of activities you create.
We have a few different ways of collecting resources for our STEM activities that makes the activities either totally free, or close to free. This allows us to create activities for our kids often. Here are the ways we collect the resources for our STEM activities.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
We recycle a lot. This is our biggest way of collecting the things we need for activities. Before you throw away anything, think about STEM activities and if the item would be useful.
We have a few storage tubs in the garage where we just throw anything we could use for STEM craft and activities. We especially keep our eye out for the following:
Cardboard Tubes: From inside garbage bag rolls are really strong, toilet rolls, and paper towel rolls aren’t as strong, but very handy for STEM.
Sturdy Cardboard: Getting your hands on any cardboard is easy, but try and keep the thick strong stuff because its really handy for lots of STEM stuff.
Plastic Bottles/Containers: You will find that you get a lot of these, but just start collecting the good ones. Strong and sturdy.
Tins: Not the tins with sharp edges, but the tins with removable lids. EG Formula tins. They will not only come in handy for making things, but for storage too.
Also remember to recycle all of the resources from old STEM projects you have done. Not many projects get kept forever, so before you just throw it out, strip it down and reclaim anything you can.
Free Boxes for STEM
I find we use a lot of cardboard with our activities. Making things, using it as a backing, games and more. It is very handy, and the sturdier the better.
When we don't have any in our reserves we head out to our nearest hardware store. In our case, here in Australia that is Bunnings. They have a lot of boxes at the checkout for customers. They offer them to customers to carry things, but I just ask if I can take one for craft and they always have said yes.
You will find that most stores have to either pay to get rid of boxes or at least pay someone to go to the rubbish with them. They always seem happy to give them away, just ask.
Discounted STEM Sale Items
This is a great way to save on things for your activities. I find myself and the kids wandering the isles of $2 shops and discount stores often. EG, Kmart. I always, and when I say always, I mean every single time, take a look at their clearance stuff.
Sometimes they will have clearance items where the packet is open or crushed. Other times they are just clearing old and discontinued stock. Either way, this is a great way for you to build up your supplies for STEM activities at home.
Things to keep your eyes out for include paddle pop sticks, cups, balls, glue, tape, paper, tech wiring and more. All the essentials. We don't even have an activity in mind sometimes, we just know that we will one day.
Create Activities With What You Have
When creating a STEM activity for your family, take a look in the box of stuff you have. We do this, and it saves us a lot of money.
Instead of looking for activities, and then buying the resources; look through your resources first, and then create an activity that will use these items. It’s the best way to save money and still create great activities.
Discounted STEM Toys and Products
Making STEM activities are great, but sometimes you will need to purchase a toy or product to create something more enhanced.
We encourage you to always buy things on special or clearance. You can even find a great range of second hand STEM toys at your local charity shop. You will be surprised at your savings. I recently noticed some tech toys on sale, and they were $89 down from $249. That’s a huge saving. Almost everything will be on sale at some point, just have patience.
One last note, if you have young children, most STEM products will not be age suitable. That’s ok, they will be old enough one day. Just buy a storage tub, and buy any STEM products that you see on a super special. We have tons of LEGO and Science Experiments all put away for our boys, and all was bought at less than half price. Over their life, this is a huge saving for us.
We open up the bucket of Magic Sand made by Anko from Kmart. Great value, and great for STEM learning and activities.