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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Creating with Confidence

Ready to get creative? Follow the steps below to help your child use their imagination and build their confidence as an awesome, creative problem solver!


Materials Needed 

Clay or dough


Alternative Materials

  • Aluminum foil
  • Pencil and paper


Step-by-Step Instructions 

  1. Ask your child the following questions:
    • Can you think of a time you solved a problem? How did you solve it?
    • Did you use creativity to solve the problem? If yes, in what ways?
  2. Next, using clay or dough, ask them to shape an object that represents how they like to use their creativity (e.g., perhaps a pen for writing, a dance shoe for dancing or a pot for cooking).
  3. Give them a moment to shape their object and tell them you would like to guess what they made.
  4. After their object is shaped, fill in the blanks of the following statement, “I think you shaped a __________ because you like to express your creativity through _____________.”
  5. Invite your child to share more about where and how they feel creative. Support them in their answers.
  6. Feel free to ask others to participate, and then ask everyone to describe what they shaped.
  7. Share that while creativity is often connected to art, it can also be part of everyday choices, science, business and other subject areas.
  8. Watch this inspirational video featuring National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee and engineer Rebecca Richards-Kortum to see how she applies her creativity and problem-solving skills to design low-cost, high-performance medical devices for low-resource settings.
  9. Practice thinking up solutions to everyday challenges by selecting one of the following prompts and then shaping an invention for it out of your clay or dough:
    • What might be the ultimate piece of playground equipment?
    • How might you create a doorstop that also plays music?
    • What might a device look like that could help clean up the planet?
  10. Make up some of your own prompts and questions!
  11. As you shape new ideas and solutions, check in on your child’s confidence and help them celebrate the power of their creative thinking, as well as your own!


What Are We Discovering?

Supporting children in inventing is an effective and meaningful way to help them build confidence in their ideas and their creative process, as well as their academic skills! In fact, recent research conducted by Learning Heroes* shows more than two-thirds of parents seek out-of-school programs to help their children gain exposure to new experiences, ideas and perspectives; find their passion, purpose and voice; and gain the confidence they need to excel.

At NIHF, we’re proud that parents of children who join our Camp Invention® program report that the experience has meaningfully impacted their child’s creativity, interest in STEM fields, and teamwork and collaboration. We love to help kids discover their passions, and one of the best ways to do this is to introduce them to relatable inventors, like Hall of Famer Richards-Kortum. She shows kids how they too can use the power of imagination, design engineering and problem-solving skills to have a positive effect on the lives of others. Check out her inspiring work in this video.


Looking for More STEM Fun? Sign Up for Camp Invention!

Join us at this summer’s  Camp Invention program to build your child’s creative problem-solving confidence. You will be in good company with the more than 95% of parents who said they signed their child up for Camp Invention to help build their confidence!


*Learning Heroes is a nonprofit organization that supports parents as their child's most effective education advocate, catalyzing equitable learning environments for all students. To learn more visit

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