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Create Your Own DIY STEAM Box for Kids

STEAM, an acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math,” is a subject in school that both of my daughters love. While they may not be in school right now, they are still using and practicing their STEAM skills at home. On any given day you may find my 8 year old pulling random supplies out of every nook and cranny of our home, putting them in a single location, and then using them to create something amazing. Recently she did this, but my husband was a bit upset that she had free reign to use whatever she wanted. As a result, I was inspired to create for her a STEAM box.

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What is a STEAM box?

DIY STEAM box for kids

So you want to know what a STEAM box is? Okay, let’s talk about it. The STEAM box that I created for my kids is a way for them to be creative while staying within the parameters of the box. As I mentioned above, my husband was a bit upset that my daughter could go and grab whatever she wanted without any guidance or approval. I totally understand where he’s coming from, too. Right now supplies are so expensive….if I let my girls just go grab anything and everything it’s likely that all of our tape would be gone in minutes.

So I started thinking…what if I gave them the supplies they wanted while still giving them limitations?

That’s when I got the idea to make the STEAM box for my kids. The STEAM box includes several supplies from around the house…toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, tape, paper, rubber bands, etc. Anything that my kids can use and be creative with can go in that box. And we can recycle things that we would normally just throw away!

I see the STEAM box as a bit of a challenge. The girls can still create and engineer projects based on what’s in the box; they may have to think a bit harder and be more creative, but that’s part of the fun. And my husband can rest easy knowing that the girls won’t use all 100 Ziploc bags in a matter of minutes.

Getting Your STEAM Box for Kids Ready

Here’s the beautiful thing about this STEAM box for kids…you don’t need a lot, and it doesn’t need to be anything fancy! It’s so much fun watching my girls create things out of the most random, unusual things. That’s what makes this box so much fun.

So here’s what you need:

  • a box or container that is easy for a kid to open and close (we use the plastic 6qt containers made by Sterlite)
  • random supplies for the STEAM box…get creative! In my most recent box I put pipe cleaners, Ziploc bags, tape, brown packing paper (leftover from a delivery), Styrofoam cups, plastic straws, a paint mixing stick and rubber bands. The more random the items are, the more challenged they’ll be while engineering and creating!
  • A label if you’d like. I just used paper tape to label the box for now.
  • A place to store the box that is accessible for your children.
DIY STEAM box for kids
Our most recent box

You’ll be surprised by what a kid can make out of the things that us adults would normally consider to be “nothing.” Recently my 8 year old constructed a zoo for her eraser pets out of nothing but leftover cardboard and tape. I am truly amazed by her work. I’ve told my husband so many times that I am proud to see her using her mind to make intricate and creative designs!

DIY STEAM box for kids
Her zoo ended up being even bigger than this!

Why is STEAM Important?

STEAM is so important for kids and their development. And in a world that is forever-changing based on creative technological and scientific advances, STEAM becomes even more important for younger children as they learn and grow.

In an article written by Joseph Lathan, PhD and published by University of San Diego, Lathan states,

“Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math are similar fields of study in that they all involve creative processes and none uses just one method for inquiry and investigation. Teaching relevant, in-demand skills that will prepare students to become innovators in an ever-evolving world is paramount […] Not only does a STEAM framework teach students how to think critically, problem solve and use creativity, it prepares students to work in fields that are poised for growth.”

Joseph Lathan, PhD

It breaks my creative Mama heart every time I hear of schools cutting out programs like Art, STEAM/STEM, Band and Chorus. While these subjects may seem frivolous and unimportant to some, they are not. Math, Reading and Science are great, but creativity has its place in each and every one of the core subjects.

DIY STEAM box for kids
The recent Ziploc bag project that inspired the STEAM box.

That’s the beauty of this STEAM box for kids….you can make it and use it in your own home without anyone telling you that you can’t. And it will barely cost you anything to make it!

Make That STEAM Box for Your Kids

The DIY STEAM Box for kids, while simple, could be a great asset to have at home. I know that as a parent I personally despise the amount of time that my kids love to spend looking at and watching a screen. As a parent, I also know that my heart is so happy when I see my kids being creative and using their minds to create something amazing.

So go start the hunt…I guarantee that you have several random items just sitting around your house, waiting to be turned into something great. Check your recycling bins, check your craft closet; there are so many things with amazing potential!

Don’t feel like creating a STEAM box yourself? Check out websites like Amazon. You’ll spend more money, but there are tons of STEAM and STEM kits ready and available for purchase.

Show me your kiddos’ STEAM creations in the comments below, or shoot me an email! I can’t wait to see them.