Learn How to Grow a STEM Garden and Include STEM Garden Activities in Your Homeschool
You love homeschooling even when you are stuck indoors, but spring is when it is time to break out of those four walls and do some outside learning! Did you know that gardening is a great way to take your learning outdoors and build STEM activities into your outdoor fun?
What is STEM and why is it important? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and there are many reasons you should add STEM into your homeschool. Creating a STEM garden and doing related STEM activities can get your homeschooler excited about learning while making your yard into the perfect I-didn’t-even-know-I-was-learning STEM environment.
What are some STEM activities you can do around gardening? Well, here is a collection of resources that can help!
|STEM Garden Activities|
|STEM Activities with Bugs|
*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although most of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.
What is a STEM Garden?
A STEM garden may be just a regular garden, but it becomes a STEM garden when you surround it with activities that build in STEM principles, concepts, and practices. Here are some resources that explain the concept of the STEM garden as well as the benefits:
Gardening – An Outdoor STEM Activity for All Ages | Pitsco Education
Learn how to get that STEM garden started by planning, gathering supplies, and then getting your hands dirty. Then explore links to other gardening and outdoor activities you may want to try, including how to repurpose dryer lint for gardening (a green STEM activity for kids).
STEM in the Garden | School Garden Project of Lane County
Discover how one school district has partnered with the surrounding city and donors to create STEM garden learning opportunities for grades 1-8. See how the four STEM subject areas are supported through garden projects.
Using Gardening to Promote STEM | Kaplan
Find out why gardens are becoming so popular in classrooms and schools, and why a STEM garden can be such a great addition to your homeschool. Discover how easily science, technology, engineering, and math, and even art (in your STEAM garden) can be integrated with gardening.
STEM Garden Activities
Now that we’ve got you hooked on the idea of a STEM garden, what are some STEM activities that can go along with your gardening? Try these to start!
9 Plant Activities & Garden STEM Projects | Edventures with Kids
Inspire your homeschooler to engage in science and math while working in the garden. See a list of garden and plant books for kids to introduce science concepts and then guide your child in learning about habitat, growth and environment, plant biology, and more. Find suggestions for engineering and technology activities, as well as technology and art.
Bringing STEM to the Garden: Enriching Students’ Learning with STEM Activities | Sylvan Source
Read how gardening can support academics and life skills and then try these three STEM garden activities: record data on plant growth, make predictions on rainfall, and design an object to solve a critter problem.
Garden Seed Bombs | Craft Play Learn
Use construction paper or recycle some homeschool assignments to create seed bombs for your garden.
The Golden Ratio in the Garden | Share It Science
Get older students interested in math in nature with the golden ratio. Play a math and nature scavenger hunt. How many places can you spot this in your yard? Find out more science information in the “25 Weeks in the Garden” collection of posts.
How Do Plants Breathe Experiment | Rookie Parenting
Check out “how gases produced by photosynthesis and respiration are released into the environment.” Try the experiment with different plants to see if there is a difference!
“MudWatt engages kids in science in a whole new way, using the power of mud! It harnesses the power of electricity-generating microbes naturally living in the soil beneath your feet. Kids experiment with different types of soil (and food from the fridge) to maximize their power. The free MudWatt Explorer App lets kids measure their power, track their MudWatt’s microbe growth, and unlock an awesome educational comic book. You can even power a digital clock and other electronics using the power of microbes!” Read our MudWatt review here!
Our School Garden! $
By Rick Swann (Author)
“New city. New school. Michael is feeling all alone—until he discovers the school garden! There are so many ways to learn, and so much work to do. Taste a leaf? Mmm, nice and tangy hot. Dig for bugs? “Roly-poly!” he yells. But the garden is much more than activities outdoors: making school garden stone soup, writing Found Poems and solving garden riddles, getting involved in community projects such as Harvest Day, food bank donations, and spring plant sales.”
Seed Germination Experiment | STEAMsational
Try this experiment to discover which soil helps seeds grow the best as you get your garden started!
Strawberry STEM Challenge: Growing Strawberries with Kids in the Garden | The Educators Spin on It
Let your homeschooler explore STEM by identifying parts of the strawberry plant, observing changes, photographing for reflection, building a structure to protect the plants, and measuring and analyzing growth. Make it a STEAM project by painting rocks of the different stages of the strawberry life cycle.
Have a young gardener who wants more? Grow more interest with some other garden projects for kids!
STEM Garden Curriculum
Maybe you love your garden, but you need more ideas about how to make your garden a STEM garden, supported by lessons and learning activities. Check out these educational materials to pull into your homeschool:
The Garden STEM $
By Katie Donohoe (Author)
“The Garden STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a K-8 curriculum for your garden classroom. A nutrition supplement and lesson plans for English Language Arts are also included within the text. Curriculum mapping for South Carolina Academic Standards and Performance Indicators, Educator Guides, and all other supporting materials are included for each lesson. We hope that you enjoy using the Garden STEM!”
Garden Stem Units and Lessons | Teachers Pay Teachers $
Shop for structured STEM garden lesson plans, units, projects, activities, and other materials here.
Lesson Ideas to Use in Your School Garden for STEM | Fizzics Education
Discover how you can build lessons around experimental plots, propagation techniques, composting, weather, and more.
Lesson Plans | Kids Gardening
Explore this collection of lesson plans related to gardening. Enjoy such titles as “Photosynthesis Runs the World,” “Fruit vs. Vegetable,” “Growing a Knowing Nose – A Scent Lesson,” and many more. You can even sort by grade level!
School Garden Project Curriculum | School Garden Project of Lane County
This is a collection of STEM lesson plans that can be adapted for use in your homeschool. Find lessons on Plant Parts and Functions, Seed Dispersal, Garden Habitat, Worms, Planning the Summer Garden, Soil Composition, and Flowers and Pollination, as well as printable game cards and additional materials.
STEM Activities with Birds and Eggs
As you enjoy your STEM garden, you may notice other creatures that will also enjoy your garden. Birds are some of those creatures, and you can build STEM activities around them as well. Here are just a few ideas:
3 Insanely Cool Egg Experiments | Playdough to Plato
Have fun with these three egg science experiments: Disappearing Egg Shell, The Shrinking Egg, and the Expanding Colored Egg. Then find links to even more egg science experiments!
15 DIY Bird Feeders from Recyclables | Non-Toy Gifts
Reuse a plastic bottle, milk carton, or tin can. Find some cardboard, a used wine bottle, or even an old teacup. Be creative and make a working bird feeder out of what you already have!
Backyard Birds Notebooking Pages
Take scientific observations of wild birds while working in your garden. Set up a few bird feeders, or just notice the types of birds in your yard. Download the free printable pack! You will also find a link to a bird unit study and links to other resources for studying birds as well.
Bird Nest STEM Challenge | Momgineer
Test your homeschooler’s engineering skills with a STEM challenge to design and create a bird’s nest following the Engineering Design Process. Then test the nest to see if it will support the weight of eggs.
BRESSER Bird Feeder Camera $
Photograph wild birds feeding in full-color images, captured with motion sensor technology. Then download and view the images on your computer and identify the birds you see
LEGO Quest Bird Houses
Can your child design and create a working birdhouse… out of LEGO’s? See some examples made by children all over the US and Canada and then get building!
Is birdwatching your homeschooler’s idea of fun? If so, try more bird unit study ideas to learn more about our feathered friends!
STEM Activities with Bugs
Others that frequent our STEM gardens are insects, and what child doesn’t love bugs? You can also build STEM activities around these garden visitors. These are some ideas you may find fun and educational:
Catch-a-Bug! Free Printable Game | Picklebums
Take the learning back inside for your young one after a full day of gardening. Download and print the game board and make the die for three variations of Catch-a-Bug: color sorting, catching a colored bug, or counting.
Circuit Bugs | STEAM Powered Family
If real bugs are not for you, make your own circuit bug and imagine it living in your STEM garden.
Insect Hotel: Natural Science | Teach Beside Me
Encourage your garden insects to come and visit your insect hotel, so you can study them in closer detail.
Insect Investigation Worksheet | Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Download and print this worksheet to document the insects you find in your STEM garden. Use the Insect Identification.com website to identify each specimen.
Insect Lore – BH Butterfly Growing Kit $
Grow your own caterpillars into butterflies and learn about the life cycle of the butterfly. Then release them into your STEM garden!
Insect Games & Videos | Learning Games for Kids
Play online games, watch videos, or enjoy spelling and science word games—all about the insects in your garden!
If your child loves creepy crawlies, try some more insect resources to keep them learning!
STEAM Spring Art Activities
For an extra bonus, turn STEM into STEAM with these spring art ideas:
Flower Printing Garden Art | Nurture Store
Find leaves and flowers of all shapes and sizes in your STEAM garden and then press them into paint to make beautiful spring prints.
How to Make Bird Newspaper Art for Kids | Kids Crafts by Three Sisters
Capture those beautiful birds in your garden by making artwork out of recycled leftover newspaper or other papers you have around the house.
How to Make Chlorophyll Paintings | Around the Kampfire
Use the green pigment from the leaves in your garden and yard plants to paint with science!
Make Your Own Paint Brushes | Apple Green Cottage
Find twigs, pine and spruce needles, and other foliage from your garden and yard to make your own natural paint brushes.
Want more spring ideas? Check out A2Z Homeschooling’s Spring Pinterest Board for even more fun.
Share your fun STEM and STEAM garden and spring ideas with us in the comments section below and be sure to watch out for the next A2Z Homeschooling STEM Fair!