Handyman 101: Tinkering and Electrical Projects

Updated August 2, 2019
Handyman
Determine whether you can do a project yourself or whether it's best to call a handyman. (Photo by Summer Galyan)

STEM (which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math) is a popular term you've probably heard at home or at school.

More people are paying attention to STEM education and talking about how important it is because a lot of the jobs of the future will rely on knowing about these subjects. In fact, jobs in STEM-related fields are expanding by 17% a year, while all other jobs are only growing at a rate of 9%. And studies have shown that people who go to college and get a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math earn more money after they graduate, even if they don't end up getting a job in one of those fields.

The four STEM topics are also all around us, everywhere we look, so learning about these subjects helps us understand the world. For example, when you walk over a bridge, you're walking over something that was built using math and engineering, and you're outside in nature, surrounded by things that science explains, like plants and sunlight and clouds. When you go to the grocery store with your parents, they use math to figure out what to buy and how much they'll pay for it. When you turn on the TV to watch your favorite show, you're using a piece of technology, and the science of electricity is what allows the TV to turn on: You're completing an electrical circuit. And when something breaks in your house and your parents pull out their phone to look up "handyman services near me," they're using technology, and the handyman will probably use math and engineering to solve the problem.

Science

Science explains how a lot of things around us work, and it can also be just plain fun. Who doesn't like playing with slime, or watching vinegar and baking soda fizz, or using wind power to make things move? All of these things involve different types of science, and there are lots of things you can do at home to learn more about science and have fun, too.

Magnetic Slime

Hot Ice Science Experiment

Wind-Powered STEM Challenge

Button STEM Activity Challenge

Tiny Dancers

Engineering

Building things with blocks is always fun, and so is knocking your creations down when you're done. But when you're building things, you're also learning about engineering, figuring out how to make things go together to build something. You can use lots of different things to build with, then test out what your creations can do. Can you build a tower out of spaghetti that's strong enough to hold a marshmallow? Or maybe you'd rather try making a raft out of things you can find around your house or in your yard. Either way, you'll be learning about engineering.

Popsicle Stick Catapult

Building With Jelly Beans

STEM Design Challenge: Build Something That Floats

Stick Raft-Building STEM Project

Spaghetti Tower Marshmellow Challenge

Technology

The most common kind of technology these days is computers, which are everywhere and in just about everything, from cars to refrigerators to phones to doorbells. Knowing how to use computers is really important if you want to be able to do just about anything, like send messages to friends or play games or get a job someday. But you don't just have to use technology: You can create it, too. When you learn to code, you can create computer programs that do all sorts of things, and you can also build things like robots!

Coding a Lego Maze

Lego Learning with Simple and Motorized Mechanisms

How to Build a Simply, DIY Walking Robot

Make A Stop Motion Video With Jelly Beans

Math

Math is really important and something that people use every day. At the grocery store, you might use math to decide what box of cereal is the best value for your money. If your parents need to have work done on your house, they can look at a list of common handyman prices to figure out how much it will cost. Math even comes up in simple things, like figuring out how to divide up a pile of crackers evenly with your friends or how much more time you have before bedtime.

Lego Addition Cards

Juice Box Geometry

Go on a Math Hunt

Money Math

Nerf Gun Math for Kids

Electricity

Electricity powers our lives. Look around you right now: You might see light bulbs that are lighting up the room you're in, or you might see a cold drink filled with ice that you got from the fridge. Both the fridge and the lights are powered by electricity, and so is your computer. Everyone works with electricity somehow, from the local handyman's power tools to the machines doctors and nurses use at a hospital. Electricity can be dangerous, but there are also ways that you can play around with it to do neat experiments.

Ice-Tray Battery

Abracadabra! Levitating With Eddy Currents

Make Your Own Electromagnet

Solar LED Circuit Experiment

Electricity Experiments With Kids

How to Build a Power Pack

Bend Water With Static Electricity