Standing for science, technology, engineering, and math, STEM learning is important for children of all ages. It promotes critical thinking and builds problem-solving skills. For preschoolers, STEM activities can inspire curiosity and a desire to learn, boost creativity, build vocabulary, introduce logic and start building basic practical knowledge. It’s never too early to start enjoying fun and interesting age-appropriate STEM activities with your little one. Here are some of our favorite STEM-related activities to try at home:
This Lego volcano idea from Little Bins for Little Hands combines basic engineering and science elements of STEM. First, your child can enjoy building a volcano around a slim bottle or jar using Lego or similar-style toy building blocks. For more authenticity, have them select suitable colored blocks before building, such as brown, red and black. As an added bonus, the building also helps little kids develop fine motor skills. Once they’ve created their replica geographical feature, it’s time for the eruption! Simply add baking soda to the inner bottle or jar and pour in a mixture of vinegar and red food dye. Add optional dishwashing liquid for even more fizz.
With just a few easy-to-obtain ingredients, your child can have fun creating their own name in crystals. You’ll need borax, pipe cleaners, twine, wooden skewers (twigs would work, too), containers, food coloring, a mixing bowl, a spoon, a measuring cup, and scissors. After forming the letters of their name using pipe cleaners, your child can measure the relevant amount of borax and mix it in heated water. Note: Make sure the water isn’t hot enough to burn your child. They can also add drops of food dye to the different containers for different colored crystals. Once completed, the crystals look especially lovely hanging in front of a window. Idea courtesy of Playdough to Plato.
Simple to create, this catapult addition STEM game from Deceptively Educational provides lots of fun for kids while also developing basic math skills. Your preschooler can practice their aiming skills while firing pom poms or other soft balls at a target dish. They can then count how many balls hit the spot. If your child is already good with numbers, expand it into an additional activity, with several plates assigned different totals. Alternatively, you could number plates and have your child try and fire the corresponding amounts of balls into the dishes.
Dancing Raisins Experiment
A quick and easy STEM experiment, this idea from Coffee Cups and Crayons is sure to appeal to curious minds. And, it can be completed with just a little free time. After watching the raisins “dance” in clear fizzy drinks and sink in plain water, why not try other liquids, too? How about milk, fruit juice, tea, and custard, for example? You could also ask your child to guess what they think will happen before putting the raisins into the liquid.
Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts
Equally perfect for warm days exploring outside or days indoors, the Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts app is engaging, can be used more than once, and requires little hands-on input from parents. Using an iPad or iPhone, your kids can familiarize themselves with technology while building vocabulary and having fun. Plus, some of the scavenger hunts include other elements of STEM, such as backyard nature, zoo adventure, and airport explorer, and some questions include STEM basics. Going on a day out? The app connects with several museums, too.