The summer days can get surprisingly slow. Here are 20 STEM projects--both easy and complicated--to help keep the creative juices flowing.
Play fetch with the dog or toss your friend the remote with a catapult! Here are some instructions on building your own catapult, from simple to more complex assembly. You can also order a kit here.
Are pre-built drones old news? Here are some DIY kits to build and fly your own drone.
3. Portable charger
Build a portable phone charger out of an Altoids box. I'd recommend eating the mints first, though. Find out what you need and how to build it here, or grab a kid from Adafruit!
Everyone loves some good homemade slime. Our sister site, CNET, has a whole recipe guide of borax-free slime that you can make with (or without) the kids! Some people have encountered some problems with borax-based slime in the past, so CNET found three recipes that ensure safe fun.
5. Raspberry Pi
Create your own mini PC with this Raspberry Pi starter kit. You can plug it into a TV or other display and run an internet browser or your office suite of choice. Here's a quality, expansive starter kit.
6. AI assistant
Build your own voice-controlled AI assistant using Raspberry Pi. While this option is on the more expensive end--just over $100--you can still create an AI assistant for much cheaper than a store-bought one. Whether via kit or individually purchased parts, a Raspberry Pi-powered assistant is a fun prospect.
Image: Matrix Labs
7. Root an old Android device
Rooting a phone has its advantages and risks, but either way, it is fun. You can root your phone to input specialized software not allowed on non-rooted devices, and remove bloatware installed by service providers. Here are some instructions to safely root your device.
Image: CNET/James Martin
8. Soda can robot
With no Arduino or Raspberry Pi necessary for this little guy, the soda can robot is an easy and fun DIY project. Grab a DC motor and some household items, and soda can robot is alive and walking. Here's how to make it and here is a kit to make it even easier.
Grow your own crystals! With only three ingredients--epsom salt, food coloring, and a bowl--you can grow crystals in your own kitchen! Or you can go here to make more advanced crystals.
Channel your inner Yoda with your own personal lightsaber! With a more complicated assembly, the lightsaber is powered by the Arduino MKR Zero. Here are written instructions, along with a video, to get your lightsaber up and running.
11. Propeller car
Propeller powered cars are fun for engineers of all ages. Race your cars against each other and try building with different materials! Here is a wood-based, easy design.
12. Bottle Rockets
Bottle Rockets are a classic. Not the most sophisticated of projects, but extremely fun to watch. Here's how to make your bottle rocket take flight.
Go for a fossil hunt! Regardless of the likelihood you find a fossil, going for a hike outdoors and studying ecology along the way never hurts. Here are some of the best fossil hunting spots!
Make a volcano out of lemons! This project will definitely need to be taken outside, but all of the fun colors make it a sight to see!
15. Pocket game console
Take games like Tetris and Snake anywhere. Using Adafruit Pro Trinket, you can put together your own pocket-sized gaming system! Here's what you need and how to assemble it.
Use a circuit to build your own FM receiver. You can also build radios with an AM connection. Here are plenty of videos and step-by-step photos to get you started.
17. Herb box
Grow your own fresh herbs in your kitchen. DIY Network's herb box uses a weather-resistant wood, if you want to keep it outside. You can also place your herb box right on your kitchen countertop or window sill.
Image: DIY Network
18. Dog food dispenser
Are you going to be out of the house for the day? If so, an automatic dog food dispenser may come in handy. Made out of cardboard, you can build this gadget right in your own home.
Image: Sia Magazine
19. Automatic watering system
Use an Arduino Uno and Genuino Uno to automatically water your plants! If you're going on vacation during the summer, this DIY gadget can help keep your plants alive and well. Here are instructions on how to get started.
20. Egg drop challenge
The egg drop challenge is always a fan favorite. The goal is to use various material to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a significant height. This game requires brain power and creativity, which are good to exercise at any age.
What are your favorites? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter.
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