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Who knew that simple paper plates could be the gateway to exciting STEM exploration for kids? Forget the fancy gadgets; with just a few paper plates, we can dive into a world of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the most creative ways. Try these paper plate activities for kids’ STEM lessons and prepare to be amazed at all the hands-on learning from physics to chemistry to math and engineering!


STEM Projects with Paper Plates

From basic physics and chemistry to engineering challenges, these activities offer a dynamic and fun approach to learning. So, grab some paper plates, and let’s dive into STEM with these engaging lessons for kids.

What is STEM? Read more about the principles behind STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) here.

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STEM Paper Plate Activities

Below, you’ll find engaging STEM activities for kids of all ages to try! Click the links to learn how to set up each paper plate activity, and you’ll also find free printables for each activity! Also, make sure to grab the free challenge calendar below.

DIY Sundial

Discover timekeeping with a simple paper plate sundial – a hands-on lesson that brings ancient science to life. Watch as shadows move across the plate, teaching kids about the passage of time and the mechanics of the Earth’s rotation.


Penny Spinner

Get ready for some STEM excitement with a paper plate penny spinner! With just a paper plate and a few pennies, kids can explore physics and engineering concepts while having a blast spinning their creations.


Newton’s Color Spinner

Paper Plate Newton’s Color Spinner: a fun and educational activity that combines Sir Isaac Newton’s color theory with the simple mechanics of a paper plate. Kids can explore light and color while learning about the physics behind it all.


Water Wheel

Turn simple paper plates into a fascinating lesson in hydrodynamics! Learn how to create a paper plate water wheel, combining fun crafting with an engaging STEM experiment.

Water Wheel

Wind Vane

Explore fun weather science activities with a DIY wind vane made from a simple paper plate. In just a few easy steps, you can create a fun and educational tool for teaching kids about wind direction and meteorology.

wind vanePin

Marble Maze

Roll into the world of STEM with a paper plate marble maze! In this simple STEM activity, kids will design and construct a marble maze, challenging their problem-solving skills and exploring the principles of physics in a hands-on way. Build a LEGO marble maze, too.

Marble Maze

Atom Model

Dive into the microscopic world of atoms with a simple yet effective paper plate model—perfect hands-on learning to understand the universe’s building blocks. Learn more about parts of atoms here.

Atom STEAM Projects

Magnet Maze

Get ready for a magnetic adventure! Using just a paper plate and some magnets. Create a magnet maze puzzle using our free printables, or draw your own! It’s a fun way to learn how magnets work!

Magnet Maze

Bonus: Scratch Art

What is STEAM? Try DIY scratch art for a more STEAM-based project!

DIY Scratch Art

Free Printable Paper Plate Activities Guide

Grab the free paper plate activities guide and use the links to set up each paper plate engineering activity! You’ll find free printables throughout the links. Note: you must open the page on a desktop or laptop to access the links.

STEM Resources To Get You Started

Here are a few resources that will help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident yourself when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

Printable STEM Pack for Kids

80+ Doable Engineering Projects in one convenient pack!

  • Full instructions with sample images
  • Activity-specific instruction sheets
  • Data Collection Sheets
  • Questions for Reflection
  • Architecture Building Cards: Try the tallest tower challenge
  • Bridge Building Cards: Explore different types of bridges to build your own.
  • Paper Chain STEM Challenge: Who can make the longest chain? Great icebreaker or quick challenge!
  • 3 Little Pigs Architectural Pack: Design a house that won’t blow away!
  • Great marshmallow challenge: A classic challenge kids love!
  • Real-world STEM challenge lesson but don’t know where to start? Our easy-to-follow template shows the steps!
  • What’s the difference between a scientist and an engineer?
  • Crossword and word search with engineering vocabulary.
  • Engineering vocabulary cards
  • Design a one-of-a-kind invention and write about it with this 5-page activity!