Is there such a thing as cheap STEM activities? Someone always asked me if it’s really possible to do STEM cheaply because it is often associated with expensive items like software, robots, and computers!

We know how to put together inexpensive STEM projects everyone will love and benefit from. Great for DIY STEM kits or STEM bin ideas for early finishers or kids who love to tinker at home or in the classroom. Check out our STEM supply list ideas below!


Learn how to put together inexpensive STEM ideas, activities, challenges, and projects


Learning how to put together cheap STEM activities is a wonderful way to encourage learning opportunities that include science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM.

Sounds pretty expensive, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. We have been collecting materials for some time on different trips to dollar stores, hardware stores, and even from our recycling bin. Cheap STEM projects from our STEM supply list below are awesome and right at your fingertips.

We love to build structures and try out different simple STEM challenges. There are so many places to find supplies like the dollar store, grocery stores, hardware stores, and even your junk drawers and toolboxes. In fact, if you open up your own kitchen cupboards and drawers, you would be surprised at what you already have collected.

The recycling bin is a great option too. To start, get a large container and start saving neat things. Check out the handy list below or click here to see our dollar store engineering kit!

Keep adding to your STEM bin and soon you will have an AMAZING go-to STEM materials collection to choose from for your next challenge or project.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Science Center Ideas


I have enjoyed making some theme STEM kits or STEM bins this year. You can make them for each season and holiday. Each of these ideas also features a set of FREE printable STEM challenge cards that you can print and laminate to reuse from year to year.

How to use your STEM bins? Let creativity and curiosity spark at a moment’s notice when you keep supplies at the ready for your little inventor. Take a look at these theme STEM kits and tinker trays below.


I have also made a simple STEM supply list below. I like to check out the dollar stores with the change of the seasons and holidays to find new items or replenish highly used items.

TIP: Store your items in clear plastic totes. You can put seasonal items back into zip-top bags to reuse next year.

  • pipe cleaners
  • straws
  • toothpicks
  • play dough
  • craft sticks
  • craft tape
  • painters tape
  • LEGO
  • wooden blocks
  • marshmallows or other soft candy
  • rubberbands
  • paper clips
  • nuts, bolts, washers
  • pulley and rope (laundry version from the hardware store is perfect and frugal)
  • plastic cups in different sizes
  • cans and plastic bottles
  • cardboard boxes of all sizes
  • foam trays
  • toilet paper and paper towel rolls
  • k cups
  • packaging materials
  • CDs
  • egg cartons
  • milk cartons
  • baster
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • trays
  • squeeze bottles
  • glue and tape
  • drawing utensils
  • paper
  • hole punch
  • level
  • simple tools
  • protective eyewear

Looking for easy-to-print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your FREE STEM projects and supply list! 


Cheap STEM activities make learning fun and easy for parents, teachers, and caregivers. Learning how to put together inexpensive STEM ideas means thinking outside the box!

Fancy supplies aren’t always necessary when introducing young kids to STEM. Keep it simple! Some of the best STEM projects use what you already have. So here are a bunch of awesome and cheap STEM activities you can try right away!


Put together a few simple supplies with a specific STEM challenge in a paper bag. One idea for each day of the week!


Print out our three little pigs STEM activity and build your own creation.


Take a part an old computer with adult supervision, of course.

Or try one of our free printable coding activities. Even create your own screen free coding game to learn about algorithms.


You will be pleased to know there are tons of STEM activities you CAN do with recycled materials! Here’s a few to get you started.


Simple STEM building challenges are the perfect way to spend an indoor day. The best building activities do not need fancy or expensive supplies. Grab some of our suggested supplies below for fun at home or in the classroom.

  • Toothpicks and Marshmallows
  • Toothpicks and Gumdrops
  • Toothpicks and Jelly Beans
  • Sliced Pool Noodles and Shaving Cream
  • Playdough and Straws
  • Plastic Cups
  • PVC Pipe


We love learning and playing with simple kitchen science experiments. Why kitchen science? Because everything you need is already in your kitchen cupboards. There are so many cool science experiments kids can do with cheap household items.


Click on the image below or on the link for more fun STEM projects for kids.

STEM projects for kids and STEM ideas to keep kids busy all year! Free printable STEM activities pack.



  1. But they can be really fun!! You can build like an architect, play a brain-boosting game or color your way to strong math skills.

  2. I place an empty bin in each teachers lounge, labeled STEM trash to treasure. The teachers save their empty tissue boxes, clorox wipe containers, lids from water bottles etc. and place them in the bins so that we can recycle them for STEM projects. We use the lids for catapults, the boxes for making coolers or fooseball games, lots of great trash to treasure projects.

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