STEEEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Environmental Education, Math)


Check out this page daily for Science, Technology, Engineering, Environmental Education, and Math activities for your camper planned out by CK Staff! Supplies should be easy to find around your house or yard!


Build a Straw Rocket!

NASA has a great activity for building a straw rocket from common household items! Find this activity here:


Happy Memorial Day! CK Staff will be back in the office tomorrow.


Solar Oven!

This activity needs a lot of sun and quite a few supplies so we figured it would be great for a weekend! Try making a solar oven! We like to make s’mores on ours!


  1. Grab a pizza box or something similar, and cut a square flap in the lid (with one side still attached) and put foil on the inside.

  2. Angle the flap so that it reflects the sunlight into the box.

  3. Add plastic wrap to the part of the box where you cut the flap to keep dirt and bugs away from your food!

  4. Inside the box, layer a graham cracker, chocolate square and a marshmallow.

  5. Leave outside to cook. Cooking time varies! A great extensions it to measure cooking time for different days as well as measure the temperature inside the box.

  6. You will add the graham cracker top once the s’more is heated to your liking. Enjoy!

DIY Solar Oven Smores {Kids Science Experiment}


Sun Printing!


  • Legos or other toys you want to print
  • Construction paper


  1. Choose some toys you’ll want to use or create figures out of legos
  2. Place those items on the construction paper and lay it flat in the sun
  3. After a day in the sun the paper will become bleached and when you take off the toys you’ll see the prints of them left behind!
  4. You can also use natural items you find and frame that artwork!
Crafting With Sun Prints | Sun prints, Prints, Decorative prints


Spring Nature Walk Bingo!

As the seasons change and we get further into Spring try out this Spring Nature Walk Bingo board! Explore near your house or go on a walk with your family and try to fill up the card!

Play Spring Walk Bingo! | Bingo, Girl scout camping, Activities


Can you grow grass indoors? 


  • ordinary household sponge (unused)
  • Storage container (plastic)
  • Fast-growing grass seed


  1. Make sure the new sponge is clean by rinsing it with plenty of clean water. Wring out, but do not dry fully.
  2. Place the sponge on the inside of the plastic container’s lid.
  3. Give the sponge a good spray with a water bottle so that it is damp throughout but not soaking.
  4. When wet, take a handful of grass seed and sprinkle it all over the sponge.
  5. Add a little extra spray of water to the seeds and remove excess seeds from the container lid.
  6. Add the bottom of the container to create a mini greenhouse and position the unit in a warm place with plenty of light. Trim the grass as it grows and water as regularly as needed.


  • Build a structure with your sponge for a homemade Chia Pet.
  • Try growing other seeds and see what happens.
Grass sponge house kids project Educational DIY Mini Grass Houses for KidsDIY Spongy Chia Pet | Crafts for Kids | PBS KIDS for Parents


Try out a previous activity! Revisit a STEEEM activity from a previous session!


Make a Lava Lamp! 

This is an easy activity to do with items typically found in your home. Science Bob explains it best so see the below video from his youtube for instructions!


Build A Nest!

Can you make a better nest than a bird? This is an easy engineering challenge using things you can find outside your house. Build a nest using natural materials you find!

A small egg in the center of a birds nest made of twigs


Mason Bee House!

Help out the mason bees in your yard by building a bee hotel. This will help the pollinators do their job and keep our ecosystem going! It’s easy to build and all you need to do is string it up outside your house to see them in action.

Materials Needed:

  • Small waterproof container – Soda bottle, coffee can, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard Rolls (from toilet paper or paper towels)
  • A few paper bags
  • Pen
  • Tape
  • String


  1. Make sure the container has one open side. If you are using a bottle have an adult help you cut off the top.
  2. Place the cardboard tubes into the container. They should be the same height as the container. It should be a snug fit as they should be able to stay in the container without falling. These can be secured in place with tape.
  3. Roll up small sections of paper bags and place them in the large holes between the tubes and the container. These can be secured with tape.
  4. Tie up the bee house with string in your yard and see if any bees stop by!

Hang Your Bee House!


Paper Chain! 

This STEM challenge is great because it only requires a piece of paper, tape, and a pair of scissors! The challenge is simply to make as long a paper chain as you can only using one piece of paper. This challenge takes planning and critical thinking. Try it more than once and try to beat your previous attempts! You can also set a time limit to complete it in.



As a tech free camp we rarely branch into the world of coding. During this time we have been relying on technology to stay connected with our children and each other! We thought we would try out a coding activity! Use the binary alphabet guide below to help you spell out things like your name, secret messages for family members, and anything else you want to try! Choose three colors and assign them to 1, 0, and space. Use these colors to try out these ideas:

  • Make a secret message coding bracelet using beads!
  • Use LEGOs to build a structure with a secret message!
  • Paint or color a picture that has a secret message or word in it!

What is binary?

Binary code is how computers talk and represent information. Letters, numbers, and pictures…. basically everything you see on the computer (including this post) is made up of different combinations of 0’s and 1’s. It may seem random to us but binary code is based on a base-two number system which means binary code uses only two numbers, “0” and “1”.

LEGO Coding Activities For Kids | Computer coding, Unplugged ... Binary Code Bracelet : 4 Steps - Instructables


Long Term Nature Observations! 

Instead of 5 different activities we’re hoping you will try out this week long environmental education project! Everyone’s favorite artist-Emma-made us nature journals. They are in our craft grab bags this week or you can print it out here! Pages are listed in order and the observation page is meant to be printed 7 times to observe throughout the week. Go out in your yard or other favorite spot outside and observe daily! See what changes you observe as the week goes on!


Weekend Observation Activity! Growing crystals! Thank you to for this activity!

What you’ll need:

• ½ cup (120 ml) of tap water or distilled water

• ½ cup (120 ml) of salt (table salt, Epsom salt, or alum salt)

• One small pan

• String or pipe cleaner

• Pencil or popsicle stick

• Food coloring dye (optional)

• A helpful adult


1. Have an adult heat a pan of water just until it begins to bubble.

2. Choose your salt. Different salts produce different crystal results.

• Table salt takes a few days to grow. “Iodized salt” won’t work as well, but will still form crystals.

• Epsom salt grows into smaller, needle-like crystals and faster than table salt. You can buy it at a pharmacy.

• Alum salt grows quickly, sometimes making visible crystals within a few hours. Find it in the spice section of a grocery store.

3. Stir in as much salt as you can. Take the pan off the heat source.

4. Pour in about ¼–½ cup of salt and stir until the water is clear. If you don’t see any salt grains in the water, stir in another spoonful. Keep stirring in salt until you see salt grains that won’t dissolve when stirred.

5. Have your adult slowly pour the hot water into a clean jar or another clear, heat-safe container. Stop before the salt grains fall into the jar. If there are undissolved salt grains in the jar, the crystals might grow around those grains instead of your string.

6. Optional: Add a couple of drops of food coloring to change the color of the crystals. This might make crystals smaller or lumpier but not by much.

7. Tie a string around a pencil or popsicle stick. The string should have tiny grooves and rough edges so that the salt can latch on. A braided string is ideal instead of a fishing line. When we do this at CK we use a pipe cleaner! The pencil or popsicle stick should be long enough to lie across the top of the jar.

8. Cut the string to the correct size to dangle in the water. Only a portion of the string underneath the water will grow crystals. Cut it short enough to avoid touching the bottom of the jar or the crystal will be lumpy and small.

9. Balance the pencil on top of the glass jar. The string should hang inside the jar and extend into the water. If the pencil won’t stay still, tape it against the jar. Try not to have the string touch the side of the jar as it will make smaller and lumpier crystals grow against the side.

10. Move the jar to a safe place where it will be undisturbed.

• To grow a lumpy mass of crystals, keep the jar in the sun or a fan blowing near it on the lowest setting. These crystals might stop growing at a small size.

• To grow a single, large crystal, keep the jar in a cool shaded place. Keep it on Styrofoam or a similar material to absorb vibrations.

• Epsom salt will grow faster in the refrigerator instead of in the sun.

11. Wait for crystals to form. Check back regularly to see if salt crystals have grown on the string. Once you see little crystals growing on the string, they will usually keep growing bigger over the next couple of weeks.

• Epsom and alum salt crystals can start growing within a few hours but could take a couple of days.

• Table salt takes a day or two to start growing and sometimes up to a week.


Get messy with Oobleck! Oobleck becomes a solid when it is pressed, hit, or shaken and returns to it’s liquid state when stress is removed. It’s easy to make with household ingredients and there are so many ways to play with it!

Oobleck Recipe:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cornstarch or corn starch
  • Any ratio of about 1 part water to 1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch will work

Things to try with Oobleck:

  • Squeeze some oobleck to make a solid, then open your hand and watch the solid turn back into a liquid.
  • Roll some oobleck into a ball. Open the hand that is holding the ball and watch the solid change into a liquid.
  • Create an oobleck ball and try to pass the ball to someone else before it liquifies. (This is potentially a very messy activity.)
  • Try bouncing an oobleck ball on the rest of the oobleck.
  • Measure how long it takes for strands of liquified goo to drip into a container from a specific height.
  • Rest your fingers on the surface of the oobleck and let them sink, then try to pull your fingers out quickly.
  • Find out how fast you can move your fingers through the goo.
  • Try using a hand or fist to slap or hit some oobleck. A large aluminum tray is good for this experiment.
  • Fill a large container (or two smaller containers) with oobleck. Try walking on the goo. You will have to move your feet rapidly to avoid sinking.

*It is important to note that you should NOT dispose of Oobleck in the sink. Scrape it into a trashcan. Oobleck will clog drains.*


Get Outside! It is a beautiful day to be outside! Try out this scavenger hunt at Camp Ketcha! If you can’t get to Camp Ketcha try going in your yard and finding something of every color of the rainbow! We will provide the Camp Ketcha scavenger hunt below and a rainbow nature journal page for either activity. Nature Journal-ing is a great activity to do frequently to see how things change through the seasons.

Camp Ketcha Rainbow Scavenger Hunt

62 Best Nature Study images | Nature study, Nature, Nature journal


Egg Drop! You may have heard about this from our campers. It is a staple of rainy days and vacation camps. If you have more than one kiddo in your household make it a competition! If not-a plain old challenge is fine! Try to make a contraption to keep an egg safe from a big drop. Here at camp we give supplies out but you can also give free reign over whatever is in your household to use. Items we usually include are:

  • paper cups
  • newspaper or scrap paper
  • cardboard
  • straws
  • marshmallows
  • napkins
  • tape
  • string

Set a timer (we like 30 minutes for STEM challenges) and have your child build their egg vehicle. With the help of an adult find a place to drop it from and see if it survives! If you can-keep making it higher and see how high you can go before it breaks! A tarp or newspapers underneath are helpful especially if you are inside. We are not including pictures because our favorite way to present this activity is with no ideas coming from us!

Let us know how it goes!


We’re back! 

It was a great vacation camp week! On Friday our bike expert and Portland Gear Hub manager, Ainsley, talked about bike safety and how to get out for a bike ride! We thought we would share those resources here! Watch Ainsley’s video and then try out her scavenger hunt. Don’t have a bike? That’s ok, go on foot!


Let’s talk animal tracks! 

The weekend is a great time to explore nature around your house or on a trail like at Camp Ketcha! Below we will share some tips for finding animal tracks in places you are probably already used to exploring. Head out on a hike or just explore around your house and see what tracks you can identify!

Here are some tips for starting out with tracking from the Old Farmer’s Almanac &  National Wildlife Federation:

  • Animal tracks are easiest to find in mud, soft garden soil, sand, and snow.
  • Track early in the morning or late in the day when shadows make prints easier to see.
  • Study the ground closely. Get down on your hands and knees.  You may wish to make a sketch.
  • Measure the length and width of several prints. On many mammals the front feet will be larger since they support more of the animal’s weight.
  • Measure the stride (length between prints) and the straddle (width between prints), this can give you an idea of how quickly the animal was moving.
  • Look for a heel, count the number of toes and look for any claw marks.
  • Follow the tracks and note any patterns. Where do they like to hang out in your backyard?
  • Do not disturb! If the tracks lead to den or resting place, respect your backyard friend and do not disturb!


Oops! We missed a day! check out/revisit some of our previous activities! 


Shadow Tracking! 

Yesterday our Boredom Breaker activity was building a sundial brought to us from our friends at High Touch High Tech! Today we are hoping you will try another experiment involving the sun and shadows! Track your shadow throughout the day to see how it moves at different times of day.


  • An outdoor space at various times during the day
  • Sidewalk chalk and tar to draw on OR paper, writing tools, and tape
  • A favorite stuffed animal or toy to trace


  1. Find a spot on the driveway or sidewalk to draw or to tape a piece of paper to.
  2. Place your chosen toy down and trace it’s shadow and mark the time. *make sure the toy stays in place*
  3. Choose intervals to re-trace your toy at (30 minutes, 1 hour, etc).
  4. Keep coming back to your toy at your chosen times and re-trace in different colors and mark the time.
  5. Check out how the shadow has moved throughout the day!


  • What time of day are the shadows longest? Shortest?
  • What happens to a shadow as the sun is going down?

Art Extension: Whether you traced on pavement or paper, color in your creation to turn into artwork!


For this special Boredom Breaker we want to shout out one of our favorite organizations to partner with! High Touch High Tech of Maine! 

We are lucky enough to be visited by Dr. G of High Touch High Tech of Maine on a monthly basis! During the closings for COVID-19 they are hosting daily live science experiments and they have many lessons and resources easily accessible on their website! Check out their plan for a sundial below and also check them out on social media! HTHT Make a Sundial



Secret Messages with Invisible Ink! 


  • lemon juice or lemon
  • water
  • spoon
  • bowl
  • cotton swab or small paintbrush
  • white paper
  • lamp or candle (this step requires an adult’s help)


  1. Mix lemon juice with a few drops of water in the bowl.
  2. Stir lemon juice and water with a spoon.
  3. Use the mixture like paint to write a message on the paper.
  4. Wait for the paper to dry completely.
  5. Reveal your secret message by holding the paper up close to a lamp or a flame from a candle. If using a candle be very careful not to set the paper on fire. If you see the paper smoking then it is too close.

How does this work? Lemon juice is an organic substance that oxidizes and turns brown when heated. Diluting the lemon juice in water makes it very hard to notice when you apply it the paper, no one will be aware of its presence until it is heated and the secret message is revealed. Other substances which work in the same way include orange juice, honey, milk, onion juice, vinegar and wine. Invisible ink can also be made using chemical reactions or by viewing certain liquids under ultraviolet (UV) light. Send us a picture of your secret message before and after! 


Make It Rain! Source


  • glass jar
  • ceramic plate
  • hot water (adult help needed)
  • 4 ice cubes


  1. Pour two inches of the hot water into the jar.
  2. Cover the jar with the ceramic plate face up.
  3. Wait 3 minutes before moving onto step 4.
  4. Put ice cubes on the plate.
  5. Check out your homemade water cycle.

How it works:

The cold plate causes the moisture in the warm air, which is inside the jar, to condense and form water droplets. This happens in the atmosphere. Warm, moist air rises and meets colder air high in the atmosphere. The water vapor condenses and forms precipitation that falls to the ground.


  • Try the experiment without hot water, just cold water. What changes?
  • Cover the top with other materials. Napkins, paper plates, plastic, etc. What happens?
  • Can you draw the water cycle?


Rainy/Snowy Day Engineering Challenge: Paper Structure! 

This is an activity that we do at camp often! You can make the parameters for your child or use ours! It’s simple and all you need is paper!

Your challenge is to create as tall a structure as you can only using sheets of paper. You can’t use glue, scissors, tape, or anything else to help you out. Only paper! Your structure has to be free standing!

Other  ways to frame this challenge:

  • Limit the amount of paper
  • Limit the type of paper
  • You can use tape but only 3 pieces
  • Can you make it as tall as your body?



What you’ll need:

  • Three slices of bread (the kind from a bakery or homemade works best — the fewer preservatives the better)
  • Three resealable bags


  1. Label each of the three bags:
    • Control
    • Dirty
    • Clean
  2. Place one slice of bread in the “control” bag without touching it.  You can use clean tongs, or turn the resealable bag inside out and use it like a glove to get the slice inside.  Seal the bag.
  3. Remove a second slice of bread and have your child touch the bread with their unwashed hands.  Place the bread in the bag and seal it.
  4. Have your child wash their hands with soap and water.
  5. Take a third slice of bread and have your child touch the bread with their freshly-washed hands.  Place the bread in the bag and seal it.
  6. Take all three sealed bags and put them in a cool, dry place.
  7. Look at the bread daily and write down your observations, but do not take the bread out of the bags. In a few days, mold should start to appear. What slice of bread gets moldy first? Which grows the most mold? Which grows the least? If mold starts to appear, have your child take a ruler and measure it and record your observations. You can even draw a picture of the bread each day, or keep a photo diary by taking pictures of the bread each day to watch the changes over time.



Fairy Houses: This activity is another CK favorite that can be done from your own backyard. Even fairies need a place to social distance! Let’s help out our winged friends by creating houses for them to live in. You can use basically anything you find outside and turn it into a house. Houses can be built in between branches of trees, in holes, on the ground, or pretty much anywhere you can think of. Fairy houses also look very different depending on what season it is because you find very different things on the forest floor! Our rule for CK fairy houses-don’t pull up any living plants! Below you will find examples of fairy houses and some suggested materials you can find in most yards. As an extension-check out the fairy house village on Mackworth Island or find some in the Camp Ketcha woods. There are also many great stories about fairy houses to read for inspiration!

Suggested Materials: 

  • moss
  • grass
  • bark
  • twigs
  • fallen leaves
  • stones


Backyard Bio Blitz! It is supposed to be beautiful outside today (in our neck of the woods anyways). Let’s celebrate that by getting outside for one of our favorite Camp Ketcha activities. The purpose of a bio blitz is to identify and count the living things in a defined area.  A backyard is the perfect place for this! We think some of the things you find in your own backyard will surprise you! National Geographic has a wonderful resource on doing a bio blitz in your own backyard. Link here: National Geographic Backyard Bioblitz


Engineering Challenge: Hoop Gliders *credit to for this fantastic activity*

Materials needed:

  • 1 straw
  • index card or other stiff paper
  • tape
  • scissors

How to:

  1. Cut the index card or stiff paper into 3 separate pieces that measure 1 inch (2.5 cm) by 5 inches (13 cm.)
  2. Take 2 of the pieces of paper and tape them together into a hoop as shown. Be sure to overlap the pieces about half an inch (1 cm) so that they keep a nice round shape once taped.
  3. Use the last strip of paper to make a smaller hoop, overlapping the edges a bit like before.
  4. Tape the paper loops to the ends of the straw as shown below. (notice that the straw is lined up on the inside of the loops)
  5. hat’s it! Now hold the straw in the middle with the hoops on top and throw it in the air similar to how you might throw a dart angled slightly up. With some practice you can get it to go farther than many paper airplanes.
  6. How does it work?

Can we really call that a plane? It may look weird, but you will discover it flies surprisingly well. The two sizes of hoops help to keep the straw balanced as it flies. The big hoop creates “drag” (or air resistance) which helps keep the straw level while the smaller hoop in at the front keeps your super hooper from turning off course. Some have asked why the plane does not turn over since the hoops are heavier than the straw. Since objects of different weight generally fall at the same speed, the hoop will keep its “upright” position. Let us know how far you were able to get the hoop glider to fly.



  • 1. Does the placement of the hoops on the straw affect its flight distance?
  • 2. Does the length of straw affect the flight? (You can cut the straws or attach straws together to test this)
  • 3. Do more hoops help the hoop glider to fly better?
  • 4. Do the hoops have to be lined up in order for the plane to fly well?
  • 5. Can you design a better glider?


Activity: Pitfall Trap


  • Container (e.g. tin can, yogurt container, coffee can, plastic cup, small plastic bin)
  • Trowel or shovel
  • A place in your yard to dig a hole the size of your container
  • Leaves, sticks, dirt
  • Ideally you should catch some insects and other small creatures – having a glass jar or tank to put them in for observations can be helpful


  1. Obtain a container you can leave outside overnight in the ground.
  2. Find a spot near dead wood or tall vegetation. Areas with short grass is less ideal.
  3. Use a trowel or shovel to dig a hole in the ground. You want the hole to be big enough to place your container in. 
    • The top of the lid should be flush with the ground. If it is above the ground, it can prevent creatures from falling in.
  4. Make a layer of leaves, sticks, and soil in the bottom of your container for any creatures to take refuge in.
  5. Many small invertebrates are more active at night, so leave your container overnight and check it in the morning.
  6. Take some observations of what you found or did not find!
    • Send us pictures of anything you caught!
    • If you catch creatures, make sure to be gentle while handling them and release them in a safe spot.


Activity: Soap Powered Boat


  • Cardboard (can use corrugated cardboard or something lighter like a cereal box)
  • Writing utensil
  • Scissors
  • Dish soap
  • Toothpick
  • Container with water (e.g. baking dish, bin, tray)
  • Optional: stopwatch


  1. Draw the design below for your boat on a piece of cardboard.
    • A boat 2” long should work well.
  2. Cut out your boat.
  3. Name your boat!
  4. Use a container to make a body of water.
  5. Fill a small cup with some dish soap.
  6. Use something like a toothpick to apply dish soap to the rear, outside corners of your boat.
  7. If doing a time trial, coordinate with your timing official.
  8. Place the boat at one end of the container, and watch it sail to the other side!
  • My boat traveled the length of the container (10 inches or 25.4 cm) in about 2 seconds, which equates to 0.127 meters per second or 0.284 miles per hour!
  • The water in the bin must be changed after each trial, so it is soap free.
  • Can you design a faster boat than the design you were given?


Activity: Butterfly Glider


  • 4×6 index card, cardstock, or cereal box (some sort of stiff paper)
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Coloring utensils
  • 3 paper clips


  1. Fold paper in half the hamburger way.
  2. Trace the wings of the butterfly, beginning at the folded edge. Additionally, trace a keel for the butterfly.
  3. Cut out wings and keel (not pictured below).
  4. Decorate the wings of your butterfly! 
  1. Take 2 of your paper clips, and bend them.
  2. Tape these 2 paper clips to the underside of your butterfly. These are the antennae.
  3. Tape the keel to the bottom of your butterfly.
  4. Bend the last paper clip like the others. This will be taped along the underside of the butterfly to keep the wings open.
  1. Now that you’ve completed your butterfly, try throwing it. How far does it fly? 
  • Monarch butterflies aren’t currently in Maine, as they’re ending their overwintering period in Mexico. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about seeing them this summer! It takes monarchs 3-4 generations for them to fly from Mexico to Maine. They can fly up 50-100 miles per day, and the longest known flight of a monarch in a day is 265 miles.
  • Time for you to test your butterfly’s long distance flight ability. How far can your butterfly travel in 4 generations (4 throws)? Throw your butterfly once, and from where it lands throw it a second time, and repeat two more times.
  • Can your butterfly make it back to where it started in the same number of throws?


Activity: Tin Can Bird Feeder


  • Tin can
  • Can opener
  • Pliers 
  • Stick or popsicle stick (platform for bird to rest on)
  • Scissors 
  • Paint, paint brushes
  • Method of attaching stick (hot glue, super glue)
  • String/twine and method of attaching it to can
    • E.g. wrapping it around can, or drilling holes in can


  • Remove lid from can using can opener
    • If there are any sharp burrs after removing lid, using pliers to crush them or file them down
  • Glue a popsicle stick to the inside of the can, with it partially sticking out. This will serve as a platform for the bird to rest on.
  • Cut down another popsicle stick (or 2) to glue to the front of the can, to help keep the bird seed inside the can.
  • Give it a coat of paint and let it dry 
  • While it’s drying, try to identify 3 birds outside!
  • Can use an app (Merlin Bird, ebird, iNaturalist) or field book
  • Give it a second coat of paint and let it dry.
  • Decorate it!
  • Attach some string to it (twine works well).
  • Put bird seed in it, then hang it outside.
  • Sprinkle bird seed on the ground by the feeder to help attract birds to it.

How long will it take birds to visit your bird feeder? Follow the Rule of 2s: “The Rule of 2s is that it might take 2 seconds, 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks, even 2 months for birds to use a new feeder! It depends on many things such as feeder placement, the type of feeder, the quality of the food, bird population in your area, weather, predators, and more.” 


-Mixing Earth Materials in a Jar Science Activity for Kids

Hands-on exploration of earth materials combines outdoor play with scientific discovery. This simple science activity gets you digging for clues as you collect raw materials to mix in a jar.

When kids have opportunities to get outside and explore nature they will stuff their pockets with pine cones, search under rocks for creepy crawlies, and want to bring everything home!

They will probably want to experiment with materials and ask a lot of questions too. 

This mixing raw materials activity is easy to do with kids, and promotes observation and discovery.

Collect SAND, SOIL and STONES in separate containers.

Add the materials to the bottle in layers. A plastic peanut butter jar that seals tightly works well. 

Add water to cover the materials well. SHAKE! When the materials are mixed, slowly turn the jar.

Can you still see each of the materials you added?

Let the jar stand for a few minutes. Observe how the materials separate as they settle.

Can you see some materials that you didn’t notice before in the sand, soil or rocks?

Slowly empty the jar. The sand and other embedded materials will flow out with the water. Some wet sand sticks to the bottom. Add more water, shake the jar, and pour.

Science activities promote wonder, exploration, and discovery.

Learning through play

  1. Before the water is added:

Make predictions about what will happen when a) the dry materials are mixed together b) the water is added c) the mixture settles.

  1. After the water is added:

Observe which of the materials you can see after the mixture settles. Sometimes the soil will have small sticks or other materials that remain floating in the water.

Is there any new material that you didn’t notice before? 

Is the water muddy or clear? How much time does it take for the water to become reasonably clear?

Why did the sand stick to the bottom of the jar when the water was poured out? 

Measure and weigh one cup of dry sand in a container and an equal amount of wet sand in another container. Which weighs more?


-Water Bug Hunting

Water bugs are aquatic macroinvertebrates. They are small animals that live in the water and are just big enough to see with the naked eye. Many water bugs are insects but they can also include worms, mollusks and crustaceans.

Here’s how to explore the freshwater creeks and ponds for macroinvertebrates.

If you don’t live near a body of water try a visit to Camp Ketcha’s pond. 

What to take water bug hunting:

  • fish nets
  • tweezers
  • white ice cube tray and paint tray
  • magnifying glass
  • pipette and spoon
  • paint brush
  • White container

How to find Water Bugs

There are a few ways you can catch water bugs but first you’ll need to fill your containers with water from the pond. Try to collect it before your children start to dip their toes in the creek and muddy up the water.

-Pick up stones

Pick up a stone or rock that’s submerged under the water, turn it over and use a paintbrush to gently brush the bugs into the containers of water.

-Skim with nets

Use a fish net to catch water bugs by gently scraping through the water as close to the bottom of the creek as you can without collecting too much debris. Tip the contents of the fish net into a large white container and sift through the debris to find the macroinvertebrates. If you brush the leaf as you take them out, you’ll start to see lots of movement on the bottom of the container.

If the water bugs are small and you want a closer inspection, you can use the pipette or spoon to pick them up and place them in their own section of the ice cube or paint tray. Take a closer look with a magnifying glass.

-Explore the surroundings

Water bugs can be found around and on the water too. Including water striders, dragonflies, a fishing spider and mosquitoes! Waterbugs-Poster-River-Detectives-2018



-Build a nature sculpture 

Building nature sculptures is one of many great outdoor STEM activities to get kid’s creative juices flowing. Wherever you find yourself outside you will have just what you need to build some clever and aesthetically pleasing artwork.

Just remember that sticks, leaves, rocks, etc. are parts of natural ecosystems and habitats as you collect art supplies, so you may want to return them to where you found them when finished. Challenge kids to use natural materials to meet specific building criteria. Try these engineering challenges:

Design and build a sculpture that can hold water

Design and build a sculpture made of round rocks, stacked at least 4 rocks high

Design and build a woven sculpture

Design and build a sculpture that is an inverted pyramid- where the small pieces are on the bottom and the large ones are on the top!

Design and build a sculpture made of leaves.

Design and build a wall either of sticks or rocks that is sturdy enough for you to sit on.

Design and build a tower made of sticks that can hold a rock the size of your fist on top.

Design and build a sturdy log cabin structure.


*SPECIAL SNOWDAY ACTIVITY* If you’ve ever sent your camper to one of our snowday camps they’ve probably told you about Snow Ice Cream! Here is the recipe we use. Make sure to use clean snow and play around with flavors! We’ve used jam, hot chocolate mix, and maple syrup!


Race against your family or the clock to fill your bingo card or get 4 in a row!



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