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Create a Discovery Museum in Your Home

March 29, 2020 by Emily


“Mom, can we go to the children’s museum?”  My boys have been asking this question every day since we’ve had to stay at home.  My heart breaks that they don’t get to do the fun things they are used to doing during “school breaks”.  In an effort to keep things “normal”, I came up with the idea to create a discovery museum in our home.

I live by the KISS method (Keep It Simple Sweetie), so I decided to simplify our Once Upon a STEM challenges as a unique kind of “Children’s Discovery Science Museum”.


The Challenges

Each of these challenges comes with the following materials:

  • Mini Story Book that gets your child thinking about the challenge
  • Children’s Journal that includes areas to draw their design, write down what worked and what didn’t, math problems, extra activities, and a website that teaches them a little more on the topic
  • Teacher’s (Parent’s) Guide that lays out the sequence of the project, materials needed, books you can read, and questions you can ask
  • Vocabulary Cards that your child can use to learn important words related to the challenge


This is one of my boys’ favorites. Easy to create, only needing paper and tape as supplies. How far can your airplane fly?



Layout of the materials included in the Building a Playground challenge, vocabulary cards, journal, and mini-book
Even though they can’t be at school or playing at the park right now, we had fun designing and creating the playground of their dreams!



Building a Roller Coaster: What kind of roller coaster can you make with straws? Use a ping pong ball as your “car” to try it out when you are finished!
This project was definitely exciting! Construct a roller coaster out of straws, tape, and pieces of cardboard. Use a small ball and see how well your coaster works.



Image of items included in Ferris wheel challenge; instructions, vocabulary cards, student journal, and mini book
Bring a little piece of the carnival to your home. After creating their Ferris wheels, the boys put small LEGO characters in the seats and tried making it spin.


Jellybean Structures: What kind of structure can you make using only jelly beans and toothpicks?
Just in time for Easter! Put those extra jellybeans to good use, as your child builds a gigantic structure out of toothpicks and candy.



Image of materials included in solar oven challenge; mini book, vocabulary cards, student journal, instructions
What can you bake in your solar oven? We tried making s’mores. Yummy!!


Can you build a launcher for your army man with the things in the provided cup? How can you make it go as far as possible?
The launcher was a hit! The boys tested out which of their toys and other objects flew the farthest, as well as could they aim it perfectly to knock down their action figures. So much fun!



Image of materials included in building a balloon rocket car; vocabulary cards, journal, instructions, straws, balloons, and rubber bands
My boys had a “blast” with this challenge. It was by far their favorite! They raced their cars for hours.



How can you make a light turn on if you are only working with a broken strand of lights? Try it out to see!
We added a little background on Thomas Edison prior to working on this challenge. Definitely work closely with your kiddos on this project, but it is great to watch their eyes “light up” when it works. 🙂


Purchase a couple of these STEM challenges (only $3.00 each!) and create a discovery museum with your children.  Not all home-from-school instruction has to be done on technology right now.  These projects will allow your kiddos to get hands-on with their learning and experience the discovery of children’s museums.  Which challenge(s) will you choose to create a discovery museum in your home? 🙂

And… as an added bonus, use the special teacher/parent code STEMPARENT and receive 30% off your order.

Please send us pictures of you and your children working on your projects or the finished designs. 

We’d love to see them!

Want multiple stem challenges instead of just buying each one separately?  We have two volumes of 10 challenges each!  Get your kiddos brainstorming, designing, discussing, and constructing with our Once Upon a STEM series!

Once Upon a Stem: Stem Story Challenges
Once Upon a STEM: Volume 1
Examples of STEM challenge journals, mini books, and final challenge constructions
Once Upon a STEM: Volume 2










-Written by Janessa Fletcher

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