Are you ready to get your STEM learning on this school year? Well… I have you covered!!! If you are reading from an email, you’ll probably want to click the title of this post so you can see the images. Sorry, but the emailed version of my posts doesn’t show Amazon book covers or Instagram videos!
I love it when I can gather up a handful of amazing children’s books on my review shelf and share them with you (and give one or two away!) here. Today I also want to introduce you to a new robot “friend” my boys have been enjoying (also a review item – SCORE!). I have had some of these books a while, but as you know, I took a while off from formal blogging after my cancer healing break and grieving the loss of my mama who passed away last summer. We are full steam ahead right now and getting back into the swing of things. Also… I’ve got to pack up these books, so I wanted to share them before they disappear into a storage unit for our pending move to the country.
Life is always interesting, isn’t it? I’ve learned that you just have to let it roll off your back and keep your eyes on Jesus or you’ll go insane. That’s my scientific theory in a nutshell. Ha!
Back to the books! Check out these beauties and imagine all that homeschool learning that could be had if they were on your shelf! If you click any of these images (book covers), it will take you to Amazon so you can purchase the book for yourself. I am an affiliate, as I disclose at the bottom of my posts, so if you purchase based on my recommendation, I may get a small monetary perk. Just being up front.
I’m sharing a brand-new, shiny book with one lucky reader at the very bottom of this post! Unfortunately, the robot won’t be a give-away item, but he’s on sale at Amazon for under 70$!
ALSO BELOW: A list of some of my very favorite science books for kids that every homeschool shelf shouldn’t be without…
Botley has been a big hit at my house. This 77-piece “teach your kid to code” toy that does NOT REQUIRE any computer skills (they use the remote and toy pieces only) is a wonderful way to introduce technology and coding to younger kids. The box says ages 5+ (Kindergarten and up!) and my husband and I enjoyed playing with this funny little guy just as much as the boys did. He makes cute little Wall-E type noises. My boys love Wall-E and robots in general, so this has been a dream toy for them. The kit includes Botley (fully charged and ready to use right out of the box), a remote programmer, detachable robot arms, 40 coding cards, 6 double-sided tiles, 27 obstacle pieces, and a Starter Guide with instructions and coding challenges.
I love that the kids don’t need to use the computer to play. I love the tiny robot sounds he makes. I love the cute face of the robot and how much he makes them giggle. I love that this introduces them to technology in a fun way. This toy was my top pick this year for sure… even more than the gigantic Lego sets they got this winter with pooled together birthday money from all their grandparents. They scored big on Legos this year, but Botley stole the show.
I’ve seen a huge increase of data come across my desk as a Homeschool blogger from PR teams that are interested in helping promote #STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for the next generation. Statistics recently from a study done by Junior Achievement and EY show that only 11% of girls and 24% of boys in 2018 that were surveyed are wanting a career in STEM. . So…. I love STEM toys – and have been counting the days until my little guys could start working with my oldest’s old LEGO Robotics stuff. I was so thrilled when the PR team for Botley Coding robot sent us this new toy that is easy enough for ages 5+! My Kindergarten and 2nd grader are smitten!!! They’ve been playing with it all day! . It’s ???? screen-free! No computer needed. Remote programmed. Has 77 activity pieces… runs on battery, has detachable arms, makes cute noises, and best of all: is the perfect early promotion of STEM for little kids! . You can’t beat these smiles and all that playing happily without a single fight! Thank you, #Botley! Beep, beep! ???? . #stem #stemedu #stemeducation #stemtoys #stemforkids #robotics #robots #robotkids #learningthroughplay #coding #earlyeducation #kindergartenteacher #secondgrade #elementaryteacher #homeschoolblogger #homeschoollife #reviewtoy
So much learning and STEM education to be had with Botley (including critical thinking and problem solving)! Botley is mama and kid approved.
Check out Botley if you are wanting to add some technology in to your science classes this homeschool year!
Disclaimer: I’m an Amazon associate, so any sales you make after clicking over from one of my links, I will get a small proceed (which in turn helps out a fellow homeschool mama so I can afford to buy books and supplements to keep on keepin’ on our homeschool and life journey here at my hive). Botley was a review item at my house and one I’m so happy to partner with. All opinions about him and the following books (which mostly are review books given to me for my opinion) is my own, and not compensated for in any other way. This post was not sponsored.
MORE THAN 27 STEM CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF NOTE (CLICK BOOK COVER FOR AMAZON LINK):
This book is so yummy! A family fun guide of experiments you can do in your own kitchen. She has wiggly, jiggly experiments like glow in the dark jello… make-your-own marshmallows… Lick Your Fingerpaint… and Eatum-Up ECTOPLASM! She has crystal growing experiments like Amber Maple-Syrup Crystals, Creamless Ice Cream, and Popping Pebbles… and she has baking experiment, food experiments, egg experiments, and soda pop fun like Milk Rocks and Root Beer Gusher Floats. I like the quick little science blurbs after each experiment so you can talk to your kids about what they’ve learned.
Note: This book is the one I’m giving away… so be sure to comment below if you want to enter to win!
Getting outside is something more homeschoolers need to do. However, I will say that when it is over 100 degrees, I am less keen to oblige. This book has 52 experiments for your yard, your garden, the playground, and the local park. As a back yard gardener, I really love the premise. She has experiments for creature observation, growth cycles, “driveway physics”, invertebrate inspection, picnic table “chemistry”, botany, atmospheric and solar science, garden hose science, playground physics, ecology, earth science and “frozen fun”. Her gardening section has a compost experiment and a “plant race” that look super awesome. She asks that the kids keep a science journal in a composition notebook and gives instructions for doing so. This book would be a really fun one to use with an academic co-op so you could teach with lots of kids and extrapolate on your enjoyment and learning.
In this book, your homeschool students get to follow a honey bee on her journey to search for nectar and pollinate flowers. The bee is one of the most important creatures on the planet for mankind. An estimated 1/3 of all the foods we eat rely on this tiny little insect. As you might have thought from a blog entitled “Sprittibee”, I have an affinity for all things honeybee. I hope one day to have my own hive in the back yard. This book written by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock (LOVE the IMAGES) is a fantastic glimpse into the fascinating life of a bee. We like to watch bee documentaries also. Some of our favorites have been “The Vanishing of the Bees”, “Rotten: Lawyers, Guns and Honey”, and “More than Honey”. You can also check out your local bee-keeping clubs and put your love of bees into action by hands-on learning and possibly putting in a colony on your property if you have the room and resources. If anything, you could just make sure to plant flowers for nectar-loving beneficial insects! Education is the key to protecting these helpful creatures for our childrens’ future.
The image of this book is a little misleading, because it towers above the other books on this page! This is a huge book, with huge, amazing illustrations and information about all our national parks. It covers the flora, fauna, and has maps and information about each park and the geographical region it is in. My boys are reading through this one right now at bedtime, a few pages a night. After taking a driving trip this past winter from Texas to California and back, we visited some national parks and began collecting the little silver engraved coins from each park. They hope to get them all! This book will be a well-loved treasure on our book case and help us plan future “expeditions” for our little guys, I’m sure! Don’t take my word for it, though. Click the book image and see – it’s a best seller at Amazon, and is priced nice for such a large, informational resource with full-color illustrations on every page.
The animal book highlights different species and special things about each one. Whether it is raising babies like good parents, battling each other, tracking and hunting, or migrating… each of these types of animals comes to life in huge color artwork and stories with little factoids sprinkled throughout the images. I particularly liked the monarch butterflies pages.
I like the animal book much better than the dinosaur one, but my boys like them both. I tend to be a purist when it comes to Earth history and always add in a hefty dose of creation science when talking about dinosaurs. This book does not. It’s really interesting, though, for sure. Especially for the dino crazed boy! Check out the other books listed in my STEM favorites below for other dinosaur and dawn of time additions to the STEM bookshelf.
DK is notorious for their gorgeous color images and cram-packed dictionary format. There’s no way you aren’t going to learn something opening up a DK book… and for the photographer, you won’t be disappointed in what you see, either. This book is a great Physical Science book and they claim it is a “level 4”, but you can read it to any kid that will sit still and show them the pictures if they won’t. Some topics covered include the (bogus) timeline of the Earth, how mountains are made, carved in ice, Earth’s longest river, changing coasts, wind-scoured deserts, the Grand Canyon (to which I would add the book recommended in my STEM bookshelf list below as a follow up – Grand Canyon a different view – Tom Vail), and they have a “Big Fantastic Earth Quiz” at the end to test your comprehension. Also included is a glossary for vocabulary words, an answer key for the quiz, and a guide for parents with additional teaching tips. These books are light and easy to car-school with, and they make great bring-along books for roadtrips.
A few of the other amazing DK books we read as part of our science homeschooling requirement this past year…
DK Level 2 Spaceships and Rockets
DK Level 2 Amazing Bees (of course, right?)
DK Level 4 Spiders and other Deadly Animals (a boy favorite)
I would list more, but you get the picture. These are wonderful additions to your homeschool library and I love that they come in all different reading levels.
Treecology is a nature learning book for “Young Naturalists” by Monica Russo. It has full color photographs by Kevin Byron. It aims to help children explore the world of trees and forests through all seasons. It covers the anatomy of trees, leaf preservation, identification, tree families, measuring trees, crafts with leaves, looking at bark and lichens, looking for animal life in the forest, making a forest logbook, trees that make noise, painting bark to attract moths, animals that make holes in trees, tree nuts and animals that eat them, mapping your back yard flora and trees, designing a tree poster for your state tree, looking for seedlings, becoming and tree keeper and more! As a nature lover, a tree hugger, and a back-yard gardener, this book is one of my favorites we have on our STEM shelves. I’m a tree nut for sure. I very highly recommend this one for all you nature-loving Charlotte Mason homeschool mamas!
“Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut, that held its ground.” – David Icke
(note: squeee!!! I just discovered there’s a BIRDology version of this type of book also – same author and photographer… adding it to my wish list!)
From the cover: “From boiling ice and exploding soap to erupting volcanoes and launching rockets…”
I think every little boy should do fun things with dad. Hiking, camping, hunting, kite-flying, ball-throwing, reading … you name it. This book is a great way to get dad involved in your homeschool. I always like to have dad around when there’s something likely to explode anyway! Science branches covered in the experiment list in this fun STEM book include: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Physical Science, Anatomy and Physiology, and you’ll get a little pep talk about failing and learning to try and try again! The experiments are not difficult, and you won’t have that much trouble finding the needed materials. He has even included a handy metric conversion chart in the back of the book. Grab the homeschool dad in your house and ask him to set up a lab this school year with one of these experiments each week. You can take a few weeks off here and there… because there are 36 school weeks in a 180 day school year and this book has 30 different experiments to try! Science Lab nailed!
This kitchen science lab book (for kids) has 52 different experiments from things you can find “around your house”. I like the Pinterest-like format of the pages with material lists, safety hints and tricks, final image of what it should look like when done, action images, protocol list, creative enrichment (lightbulb area) and a “the science behind the fun” section for teaching and discussion after the fact. She talks about journaling your results and gives an introduction to each section. Her long list of covered scientific areas include: carbonated chemical reactions, crystals, physics of motion, life science, polymers and misbehaving materials, acids and bases, microbiology, electricity, botany, solar science, and rocket science. A few of her experiments are also edible… rock candy, anyone? I love her petri dish microbe zoos. She’s got some great ideas in this book.
Verdi is a book about a snake. It’s by the same author as the best-selling children’s book “Stellaluna” about a bat. I love both of these books because I think snakes and bats get a bad rap. They serve important purposes and are very helpful in the grand scheme of nature. A single brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour… and they live to be almost 40 years old! If you live in the south, that’s a REAL good thing. Not only bats, but snakes are amazing. They keep the rat and mice situation under control and that could save humans from house fires and food being ruined. I love the illustrations in Janell Cannon’s books, also. Definite thumbs up here.
The Secret World of Walter Anderson is a Candlewick Biography book by Hester Bass. I recommend this one for multiple reasons (and I’m sorry for writing my own book-sized review about it below):
- It’s great to get your kids started early on reading biographies and looking for original sources rather than relying on textbook blurbs. It adds depth to their learning that you can’t get in any other way. It creates deeper grooves in the memory that last much more than a skimmed summary or tiny twitter-sized pill of info that you swallow and forget. I love biographies and autobiographies.
- There are arguments in the education world about whether STEM learning should be expanded to include ARTS (and become what is known as STEAM in acronym format); which would include Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Mathematics. As a homeschooler, I am always looking for ways to combine subjects into one learning experience because my time is limited and combining learning builds depth and purpose. I don’t believe God wanted all the subjects to be separated and secluded. All of creation and nature blends in harmony. This was the premise of the KONOS curriculum that I used with my older kids when we began homeschooling back in 2001. KONOS is a cone shape that has God at the head (or tip) and all of the subjects under him in a circle at the base. Everything finds its connecting point in the creator. ART is just a way to CREATE as our creator has – because we are made in HIS image. Nature makes us want to create and participate and meditate and praise… and studying STEM or STEAM is all a way to further grow our knowledge and understanding of the entire universe God has placed around us. ALL subjects lead back to Him, and so, ART is our way of showing the beauty of all created and imagined things and the passion within us about them. Schooling is dull without art (just ask my kids who doodled on every single math page they filled out). Science books are dull without artwork. Just try selling a nature or science book without artwork – it won’t sell. Art is a huge and important part of our schooling and our hearts here in the Sprittibee hive… and this book is about a naturalist who happened to be one of America’s finest watercolor artists.
- This book has amazing watercolor nature artwork that will inspire your kids if you plan to keep your own nature journals. I’m always looking for cool nature journaling and nature art ideas. We don’t do it enough, but once we get our house packed up and moved to the country and I purge all our JUNK (downsize to the max), we plan to set up a school studio and take loooong nature walks where the wild things grow and live. I can. not. wait!
STEAM Lab for Kids boasts having “52 Creative Hands-On Projects for Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math”. I love that it includes art. We haven’t used this one yet, but plan to do it this school year. The book is enthusiastic about inspiring problem solving and creative thinking, and helping artists and engineer-minded kids alike to find inspiration in STEM projects.
48 “unofficial” STEM lab Minecraft projects = 48 transporting, quiet, educational hours of sheer effortless homeschool bliss for this homeschool mom of boys. Enough said.
I love that this book was written by a crafty stay-at-home mom that loves spending time with her kids doing crafty things THEY enjoy. The age level on this one states 5-7, so you might not want it if you have older kids, but my 9 year old is pumped up to use some of these things in our learning this year. We have a family full of Lego enthusiasts, so any chance we get, we include Legos in our daily lives. Last week they spent the ENTIRE summer week sorting boxes of Legos by color and this week they are all over the floor again. I need a magic Lego tidying fairy in my world. How about you? I have seen so many things on Pinterest using Legos to create all sorts of things for ADULTS (like kitchen bars and planters for succulents), so why not use them to build things for STEM projects? I’d say there’s a silent A making this a STEAM and not STEM book (A for art). I’d call that A for AWESOME.
Bug Lab for Kids is a bug-tastic learning adventure for all things insect and arthropod. This book is fantastic. It has chapters on all sorts of things like Beginning your Bug Adventure, Making and Using a Collecting Kit, Advanced Collecting Techniques, Preserving Insects, Most Common Insect Orders, Arthropod Adventures, Bug Art & Science Projects, Rearing Butterflies and Butterfly Migration, and Bees and Other Pollinators. I love the photos and ideas shared in this book. Dig in to the world of entomology and grab a copy of this book for your bug enthusiasts.
Minibeasts is a fun one! Jess French is a TV presenter, zoologist, naturalist, entomologist, and CRAZY BUG LADY. Her book, “Minibeasts” is icky, gross, and amazing all rolled in to one. That means it’s a boy’s (and bug-loving girl’s) dream! She appears in many of the book photos HOLDING crazy scary looking bugs like massive scorpions and hairy spiders. More power to her! The boys loved it seeing it and reading all the fascinating facts. The images in this book rival any DK encyclopedia type book. She has a long list of bugs in this book and so much information that you would have to drag this book out for months and add it to a science lesson plan to really get through it all. It’s chocked full of info. This book would also compliment a nature study along with the Anna Botsford Comstock and Jean Henri Fabre books below. I love a good bug book (as does all of my boys – especially the 21 year old, so we have our fair share of them in our homeschool library).
Ranger Rick’s National Wildlife Federation Kids’ Guide to Hiking is “all you need to know about having fun while hiking” and includes a real working compass inside the book’s thick cover. It has lovely color illustrated pages, information about national parks and forests, and they cover important topics such as “Where can I go?”, “When should I go?”, “What should I wear?”, “What should be in my pack?”, “What is trail etiquette?”, “How do I stay safe?”, and “How can I have the most fun?”. With ideas on nature journaling, watching wildlife, playing games, first aid, and even identification of poison plants to avoid, this book is such a good addition to your outdoorsy family’s bookshelf! The compass is really a fun addition, too. Another great thing about this book (and really all nature-related hands-on books) is it can double for a PE class resource! Get out there and adventure! Get your body moving and get your vitamin D from the sun!
According to the internet, “Definitions of geography vary somewhat, but most of the sources define geography as a science. Geography relates to the STEM disciplines with application of geographical tools to solve problems. However, geography is not included as a STEM discipline by federal authorities in the United States (US).” I’m here to say, as a homeschool teacher who does not need a federal authority educating my children: Geography is the science of all the amazing world God created. That’s how I see it, anyway. It fits perfectly in with Physical Science and history, for that matter… and although I usually loop it in with history on my lesson planner because there is so much mapping and location involved in history, you can’t deny that science and history also go hand in hand quite often, themselves. You can’t really talk about the history of mankind’s fascination with space flight without the science part or the history part. You see?
So I’ve given you a brief rundown of what is STEM-ish about this amazing book about Texas, y’all:
1. The Texas state aquarium in Corpus – what’s not scientific about that?
2. The American Quarter Horse, Angora Goat, Mexican Free-Tail Bat and all the amazing favorite BIRDS of Texas… biology there, right?
3. The Texas bluebonnet, brahman cattle (and Longhorns, of course), cuts of beef for BBQ – there’s a science behind butchery that can spin off into a wonderful rabbit trail of health discussions about nutrition and eating…
4. There’s crawfish, Chilis, Chili, and the science of cowboy gear (along with a labeled diagram of such)
5. Dark Sky Gazing, Enchanted Rock, Horned Lizards, and a few of the scary big insects you’ll find in Texas (major science scores here)
6. Johnson Space Center anyone? Yep. More #science.
7. Sea turtles, Midland Minnie, Marfa Lights and Mockingbirds… the science never ends.
8. How about the McDonald Observatory?
9. Armadillos, Nymphaea water lilys, Palo Duro Canyon, Pecan Trees and Prickly Pear Cacti… all wonderful STEMY stuffs.
10. The Pick up Truck is a marvel of engineering and technology.
11. QUESO. I don’t know if this qualifies, but it starts with Q and contains Tex-Mex magic. There has to be something scientific about it on a molecular level. It is one of the great mysteries of Texas life. I’m not quite sure what to think of the fact that she left off Guacamole in the G section. Because…
12. Quitaque – and you’ll have to read this book to find out what that is… but I’d say DNA evidence makes this a pretty scientific addition.
13. Red Drum, Roses, Rio Grande and Rice Farming – all stuff you can talk gobs of science about.
14. SNAKES (shudders)
15. Super sharks from the “age of dinosaurs” and the science of square dancing. Ok, maybe the square dancing was a stretch.
16. TORNADOS! Those meteorological wonders…
17. Whooping cranes, wild hogs, wind energy and Waterloo (which falls back to geography again – and as for me and my house, geography is STEM)
18. WHAT about WILDFLOWERS of Texas? Beautiful nature. Science!
19. The Texas Zodiac? Is it a thing? You’ll have to read and find out.
20. Have I told you how much I love this book? No? Well there’s a mathematical equation behind that, too: TEXAN + TEXASY THINGS = GROOVY TEXAS PRIDE LOVEFEST. See? Math, baby. So much STEM to be found here… or should I say STEAM (because the art is also fantastic).
Go West is a history book as much as it is about technology and geography… of course we’ve already discussed how I love merging subjects together. A three for one is a big yes around here. This book includes maps, travel routes of rail lines, all things locomotive from the 1800’s to present time, information about the fireman and engineer, interesting facts about routes and American cities, highlights about buildings (other marvels of engineering), traveling speeds, types of rail cars, comparisons of train types, uses of trains, industries built around rail stations, access to parks and wildlife preserves, mountains on the route, bridges and cable cars, and the way trains shrunk the world and allowed Americans to go places they never would have dreamed of. I’d say this book is a STEM fit for sure. Pretty, deco images and lots of American history to boot. This one is a keeper.
A FEW OF OUR FAMILY FAVORITE STEM BOOKS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
The Story Book of Science – Jean Henri Fabre
Anna Botsford Comstock – Handbook of Nature Study
National Geographic – Family Reference Atlas of the World
The Texas Bug Book – Beck and Garrett
Pterodactyl Tunnel – Time Life for Children (I love Math book)
The Icky Bug Alphabet Book – Jerry Pallotta (mixing phonics and science works for me)
Grand Canyon a different view – Tom Vail
Wilderness Walkers Naturalists in Early Texas – Betsy Warren
Jake & Miller’s Big Adventure – Bernie Carr (a book about wilderness preparedness for hiking/camping, etc.)
How to be a Wildflower (and other Katie Daisy nature discovery books)
Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation – Petersen
Made in Heaven – Masterbooks
Awesome Science videos with Noah Justice
The Story of Inventions – Christian Liberty Press
D is for Dinosaur – Ken Ham
Skeletons in Your Closet discovering your real family tree – Gary Parker
Good Question! Series by Sterling Books (these are fantastic and cover not just STEM, but also history (another favorite subject of mine)
The Seven Wonders of the World – Editors of LIFE
Scholastic First Discovery Book Series (particularly love the atlas of plants, earth and sky, all about time, and lady bug… so many!)
Want to check out other books we love? Click over on my Goodreads books on the sidebar and see some of the things we have on our shelves. I try and update the Goodreads every now and then when I think about it with stars and ratings, and even a review every now and again on a particularly good book. The kids like “checking off” books they read on Goodreads to say they are complete. They don’t have their own account, so mama gets the credit, but it is a fun way to help them see how many kid books they are getting read (if mama can remember to mark them!).
Or join us on Paperback swap and swap the books you don’t want for books that you do! All you have to pay for is a small annual membership and shipping for the books you get rid of. All the ones that come to you are free. Plus…. there are a lot of homeschool mamas on this site! I receive wish list items often!
I would love to share the bookish love with one of my readers today, and give away a copy of this science book. If you don’t already have a copy and want one, please feel free to enter the give-away by doing the following:
1. Leave a comment below with something you found interesting about a book in this post, why you want the book, or tell me about your back to school plans…
2. Share this post on any social media site and be sure to leave a hotlink and another comment so I can follow / check.
3. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and/or my RSS for this blog on your chosen reader and comment back with which you did and your handle/name on that social media site so I can follow / check.
4. Sign up for email updates for this blog and let me know you did so and your email address.
ONE entry per comment with completed item done. Be sure to leave a comment for each share or follow or it won’t count!
I’ll wrap this up next Friday, August 10th, and mail the book to one lucky winner! I’ll let you know if any of the other PR teams want to add a book in, too. You never know! Sometimes they do that when I send them the link to their book review!
UPDATE : THIS CONTEST IS OVER. THE RANDOM WINNER WAS PAM KENYON. CONGRATS, PAM.
Happy STEM learning!!!
Side note for my local Austin area readers… according to a magical homeschool email list source… “The Amazing Science Experience will be at GT Austin church (2700 Northland Drive) this Sunday, from 2:30 to 5:30pm. The first two hours will be hands-on science experiments and the last hour will be a chemistry show. It is a free event! More info at https://gtaustin.com/ase/”
Disclaimer: As I’ve stated clearly in my post, most of the books with images shown were review items sent to me by the author or publisher; however, all of the opinions expressed are my own. Many of the links on this page are also amazon affiliate links, and if you purchase the books after clicking over to Amazon, they may give me a penny or two! Thanks for your support of my site and my homeschooling book habits!