A couple of weeks ago, we found ourselves at my parents house. The children had a severe case of the “I’m boreds.” I had intended to bring school with us and carrying on with business as usual, but that didn’t happen. It was rainy outside and we were stuck!

I remembered something I’d seen on Pinterest about putting together a STEM challenge box with dollar store items. I looked it up and headed to Target!

First of all, what is STEM???? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM has taken off in the education world. We have STEM days at the library. I see STEM all over Pinterest. We have STEM classes in our homeschool enrichment classes. Lego Education has sets especially built for STEM.

stem 1

I came home from Target with a bag full of stuff (I spent less than $25 and these materials will last for a while). They kept asking me what all of it was for. I built suspense by simply saying, “you’ll see.” I carefully packed the bin and then wrote some challenges on index cards. Each kid picked a challenge and got to work. They worked for over an hour. Once the initial challenges were complete, they kept going on their own. Some of the challenges included: build a boat that floats, build a bridge, build a catapult, build a tall tower, etc.

stem 2

I love this idea. I can keep it all in the bin and pull it out on a rainy day or to start our school day. I’ve been pleased to see my kids persevere and work to find a solution to the challenge. Little Sis almost gave up when she had the challenge to build a bridge that bears weight… but she stuck with it until she figured it out!

Big Brother and Big Sister are especially fans of the challenge box. They both have engineering minds and are eager to problem solve. They like to be inventive on their own with all the random materials.


Last one of the stem challenges… A zipline

A video posted by katie dugdale (@katiedug) on

Here is the list of items in our Challenge Box:

– Envelopes

– Index Cards

– Straws

– Paper Clips

– Tape (masking and clear)

– Coffee Filters

– Coffee Stirrers

– Popsicle/ Craft Sticks

– Dental Floss

– Tin Foil

– Cotton Balls

– Plastic Ware

– Rubber Bands

– Small Plastic Containers with Lids

– Paper Cups

I’ve put together a printable pack FOR YOU!!! The pack includes 3 sheets of challenge cards (one is blank for you to write your own challenges) and one challenge record sheet for students to record their creation.

Click here to download the printable pack –>>> Stem Challenge Printable Pack

How do you use STEM in your homeschool??? What would you add to your challenge box?

{FREE} Printable STEM Challenge Cards

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