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Upcycle Your Empty Holiday Boxes with Awesome STEM Activities

Following the holiday season, we are often left with a bunch of empty boxes that at best get recycled, and at worst get thrown away. Though they might not always look the part, these boxes represent valuable upcycling materials that your child can use to invent and explore.

To make use of your leftover holiday gift boxes, we encourage you and your family to use them to complete any of the imaginative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities below:


1. Build a Model Submarine

This activity challenges your child to design their very own submarine or submersible. Taking inspiration from Alvin, the world’s first manned deep-sea submersible, they can customize their creations to best accomplish their mission.


2. Be Instrumental

Your kid can channel their inner rock star by building a DIY instrument out of cardboard! By sketching different versions of their instrument and exploring how different materials can produce different sounds, they can practice their creative problem-solving skills and invent new ways to produce music.


3. Create a Solar-Powered Space Station

Kids reach for the stars in this action-packed activity that challenges them to build their own out-of-this-world, solar-powered space station. Encourage your child to use boxes and wrapping materials from around your home to add special features to their space station so it can withstand the wear and tear of space travel.


4. Make an Impact!

Your kid can put on their engineering thinking cap when they’re tasked with building and testing a car roof that keeps passengers safe. Inspired by National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Samuel Alderson, a pioneer in developing the automotive crash test dummy, your child can experiment to discover the most durable design.


5. Have Out-of-Control Fun

Perfect for kids who received a remote-controlled toy for the holidays, this activity challenges them to construct an obstacle course for their toy to navigate. This is a great way to explore building, experimenting and modifying — all of which are crucial parts of the innovation experience!


Share Your Child’s Creations!

Has your child tried any of these STEM activities? If so, we would love for you to share a picture of their invention with us on our Facebook page.

Looking for more hands-on STEM activities? We invite you to visit our blog.

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