STEM education may sound like a trendy buzzword in the parenting community recently, but it has been around for several years and is here to stay. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Sometimes you may hear it as STEAM – it means the same thing. Today we are looking at STEM activities for preschool ages that the kids will love.
When thinking of STEM learning activities, you may imagine older kids on computers or in laboratories, but it can be applied to any age. The main thing is to keep it simple and keep it fun. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, you can find different things around the house or things that can easily be found at the dollar store.
Here’s our top 10 STEM activities for preschool children:
- Story books – There are lots of great STEM learning books to read with toddlers such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This famous book is a great introduction to life sciences and is fun to read with colorful illustrations throughout the short story. My Five Senses is another great simple science-based book for preschool age.
- Rainbow water experiment – The little ones will have great fun creating their own water rainbow! All you need is a packet of skittles, a plate and some water. Line the edge of the plate with the colorful skittles, pour water in the middle and watch as the colors start drawing into lines to the middle of the plate.
- Indoor rainbow experiment – This one is super fun to experiment with and the kids love it when they can create their own rainbow. All you need is a large glass of water, a small mirror to fit inside, a flashlight and a white wall to see the rainbow. Make the room very dark, then shine the flashlight into the mirror and a rainbow will appear! Try changing the angle of the flashlight or mirror for different effects.
- Tin foil boat – This is both a fun science and engineering activity in one and is one of the top STEM activities for toddlers. All you need is a large container for the water and some aluminum foil. Make a simple boat out of the foil and watch it float. See how many buttons or coins you can put on top before it sinks!
- Making bubbles – Bubbles are one of the messier STEM activities for toddlers but nevertheless very fun! Kids get to learn the science of adding soap to water and how it can make bubbles. You can try making bubbles with your hands, or with home-made bubble blowers using pipe cleaners. There are even free tutorials on YouTube to make your own DIY giant bubble wand!
- Oobleck – Cornstarch and water mixed together is a super fun STEM activity for preschoolers. When the mixture is played with it feels harder in texture, but as soon as they stop moving it turns to liquid. Mix one cup of cornstarch with two cups of water and a few drops of natural coloring to make it more fun if you want to!
- Planting – Growing plants and helping to care for them is an important part of life science and a great STEM activity for kids of all ages. Try saving the root ends of vegetables and planting them in a pot with soil, or experiment with different seeds like sunflowers or tomatoes so the little ones can watch how they change every day with enough sunlight and water.
- Exploring magnetism – Magnet science experiment and play may sound like it would be more suitable for older children, but it’s one of the great STEM activities for preschoolers. Simple games like learning what can stick to the magnet, or making things move using magnets can really spark an interest in how things work and inspire curious minds.
- Static electricity – Learning about static electricity is one of the top STEM activities for toddlers who love balloons! Simply blow up a balloon and rub it on the top of your hair and watch your hair stand up on end! It makes the kids laugh and it teaches them about static electricity and how to create it.
- Bug hunting – For this one you may need a few pieces of equipment from the dollar store such as a net, a plastic cup and a magnifying glass. You can also buy bug catchers for kids. Investigating different bugs outside is a fascinating science activity for young minds. Identify each bug they catch to learn more about insects and their natural habitat.
Here at Kids Zone, we love using STEM activities for toddlers to keep early learning fun and to help build those first foundations for science, technology, engineering and math.
Do you have any more to add to our list of STEM activities for preschoolers? Drop them in the comments so other parents can try them too!