Zoo Themed STEM Activity

STEM activities are so popular  these days and my girls love to create and build so I knew it was time to work on a STEM project!  I made them a Zoo Themed STEM Challenge so that they could work on building and designing some of the buildings and places we've seen at the zoo.  It was so easy to prep and used only things we already had on hand.  That's a win right there!  They had so much fun designing different habitats for their animals.
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.

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To prepare for this STEM challenge, I printed out the STEM cards (free down below) and gathered the building supplies.  My requirements for the building supplies were that they were open ended (could be used in lots of different ways) and we had them on hand.  I gathered toilet paper rolls, corks, toothpicks, marshmallows, index cards and thick popsicle sticks.  I also went through our animal collections and pulled out animals that we would find at the zoo.  We LOVE the Toob animal collections that you can find at Michael's, Joann's and on Amazon.  I don't think we have a set that is specifically zoo animals, but we have safari animals, farm animals, and jungle animals that I picked through. The endangered species toob would be another good one for zoo animals.  
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.
Once I had the supplies all set up, I had my 5 year old pick a challenge card.  She grabbed the "build a doorway tall enough for the giraffe" card.  I showed her the building supplies and told her she could make it anyway that she wanted as long as it was tall enough to go over the giraffes' heads.  She pulled the giraffes out of the pile and got to work creating with toilet paper rolls and index cards.  This one was easy for her!
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.
Our next challenge was a little more, um, challenging.  K picked out the "build a bridge" card.  With this challenge the animals needed to be able to walk under the bridge while people walked on top.  She quickly set to work creating a bridge using toilet paper rolls and index cards.  I went in search of "people" and found a few princesses.
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.
We set the princesses on top of the bridge and the cards started to sag under the weight.  I used it as a learning opportunity to push K to think of a way to improve her design.  I showed her some of the other supplies and asked if there was anything that we could use that would be stronger than the index cards to hold up the princesses.
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.
She quickly grabbed the popsicle sticks.  She started laying them horizontally but then went back and made them vertical as well. She even made some weave in between the others.
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.
She decided to go back and add the index cards to the top of the popsicle sticks to make a flat surface.  The results were MUCH better this time.  The bridge didn't sag under the weight of the people at all and the animals still had space to walk underneath.  Mission accomplished!!
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.

After that challenge, she quickly whipped up this one which was supposed to be a building where the workers could go.  She made a building out of corks and index cards.  This was easy compared to the bridge where she had to think and try out different solutions.
Free STEM challenges with a zoo theme.  Fun for preschool or elementary aged kids.
These are just a few of the 12 zoo challenge cards that I created. I love this activity because it is open ended.  It challenges children to build and create but gives them some limitations and challenges to focus their creating.  My girls LOVE creating and also loving playing with little characters and animals, so this was a perfect fit for them.


Do you want to try these zoo themed STEM challenges with your little learners?  Just click to download, enter your information and the challenge cards will be emailed directly to you. Looking for some more STEM challenges? Try our Princess Themed STEM Challenge Freebie. 

Need some more zoo inspiration?  Check out some of these amazing ideas from some blogger friends!


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Editable Name Puzzles // Playdough to Plato
It's a Zoo Graphing Game // Stay at Home Educator
Zoo Themed STEM Activity // Sara J Creations
Zoo Sight Word Book // Still Playing School
Zoo Small World Busy Box // Play and Learn Every Day
Zoo Animals: Tracing Lines // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Letter and Number Matching Puzzles // The Simplified Classroom
Zoo Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Zoo Pom Pom Mats // Fairy Poppins
Zoo Number Puzzles // The STEM Laboratory

2 comments

  1. I opened all your zoo activity links on this page and two of them-- I don't know which ones, but one was near the middle of the list and one near the end-- resulted in scam websites (I'm assuming the linked blogs had been hacked) that were trying to implant viruses. I had to wrestle with my computer for quite a while just to get the tabs closed, but I did and I did system restore, so hopefully it's ok now. But just so you know! Some of your links have been messed with :(

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know. I will look into it and delete the links and notify the bloggers who have been hacked. Sorry about that. So frustrating!

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