STEAM Saturday – Build a Sun Shelter! (4/8/2023)

Who is ready for another STEAM challenge?  Now that we’re spending more time in the sun, let’s dig into this fun hands-on experiment where your children can use recyclables to create a sun shelter.  Challenge them to design, build and protect a homemade animal.  This is a great opportunity to talk about how we can protect ourselves from the sun while we are outside!  This is a perfect spring learning activity for kids of all ages.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • UV-Sensitive Pony Beads (find these on Amazon– make sure you have the correct beads so that they change color in the sun.)
  • Recyclables (Give your children a variety of recyclables and challenge them to build their shelters.)
  • Construction Paper (Any color will work!)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Optional! Googly Eyes
  • Optional! Glue
  • Optional! Free Recording Sheet (download HERE)

First, your kiddos will need to create their own animal craft out of pipe cleaners and UV-sensitive pony beads.  Some ideas are snakes, caterpillars, snails, lizards, dogs or horses.  Encourage them to color their animals and make them lifelike!  If you have googly eyes, this is the time to put them on your animal.

After the animals are made, take them outside to show how they react in the sun.  When the animals are indoors, the beads are white.  When you take your animals outside in the sun, the beads will turn colors!

Next, it’s time to create our animal shelters.  Make sure your children have an assortment of items such as paper plates & bowls, cardboard, straws, paper, foil, string, popsicle sticks, plastic wrap, styrofoam and egg cartons. Every shelter will be unique and different.

Before going outside, explain to your kids that their shelter may not work the first time.  Their animals’ beads may change colors but that is okay!  They can come back inside and change their design to make sure their shelter keeps the animal safe from the sun.

See the full experiment and the science behind it from Buggy and Buddy HERE.

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