Elevate your district’s out-of-school time (OST) to a higher level by utilizing these STEM activities for afterschool programs.

Programs that serve children in the community after standard school hours are extremely beneficial for student development, especially for student populations that don’t always receive the appropriate resources to succeed. Though these out-of-school-time (OST) programs are a logistical necessity for many children whose parents or guardians who are unavailable after school due to work obligations, STEM activities for afterschool teachers and administrators can create an incredible learning environment that kids look forward to each day.

Use one or all of these ideas to enhance your afterschool and other OST programs in an educational, engaging, and meaningful way.

1. Grow an Indoor Garden

STEM activities for afterschoolAn oldie, but goodie–growing plants from portions of certain root vegetables provides lessons in biology, ecology, and agriculture. This fairly simple activity requires freshly cut carrot tops, a planter, potting soil, water, and a shallow dish (a takeaway food container works well). Place the carrot tops on a windowsill that receives sunlight, positioned with cut side down in the dish that is filled with half an inch of water. Have students observe changes and growth over the course of a few weeks. Once leaves have sprouted, transfer to a school garden or send a small planter home with students so they can start their own home garden.