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Easy Ideas for STEM Activities for Preschool
STEM activities are great for kids of all ages! It combines science, technology, math, and engineering to help them learn. Introducing your preschool kids to easy STEM activities opens up a whole new world of logical thinking, creativity, and problem solving play. If you are looking for easy STEM activities for preschool at home, we are sharing a great list of ideas that your kids will love.
These STEM activities are easy enough for kids 5 and under to be able to do with a little bit of guidance and supervision.
Why STEM Activities for Preschool?
Preschoolers are naturally curious, which makes them perfect candidates for STEM activities.
It is easy to add STEM activities into your preschooler’s routine.
When doing STEM with your kids you want to make sure you create a safe environment to explore and make it a natural experience of learning and growth.
What is STEM Activities?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Basically it means any activities which relate to those four topics.
STEM has been a huge buzz in education world nowadays. Especially since it promotes hands-on learning, nurture curiosity, and develop problem solving skills.
While the trends are getting bigger, it’s easy to fall trap into thinking STEM activities will need fancy supplies, or certain kit. Science kit, math kit, engineering kit, and so on.
In fact, no, STEM can be done using a lot of common, easily available thing in your kitchen cabinet!
Kitchen paper tubes, toothpicks, cereal boxes, flour, baking soda, ice, and the list goes on.
Using Senses with STEM
As you do these easy STEM activities for preschoolers at home, it’s good to invite your kids to use their senses.
Ask questions like;
- How does it smell?
- How does it feel like? Rough, smooth, soft, cold, hot?
- What does it taste? (if it is edible)
- Do you hear anything?
As your preschooler explores STEM with senses, it will continue to open up a whole new world of exploration and growth.
20 Easy STEM activities for preschool at home
Now let’s go and try these activities at home!
1. Build a Pompom Drop
Have you seen pompoms drop activities on the internet (i.e. Pinterest)?
Invite your kids to build their own pompom drop!
- some paper towel rolls/tubes,
- some masking tape,
- a bowl or container as the landing target,
- and some empty space on the wall (or, you can use a standing cardboard and the likes).
You may want to get your child to see an example from the web, of how the tubes are arranged. Or you can let them experiment by themselves!
Assemble paper towel tubes and tape to the wall/standing cardboard.
Then ask them to drop colored pompoms down the tubes, and see if the pompoms can land inside the bowl.
If not, ask them to figure out how to re-adjust the position of the tubes so that pompom can land inside the bowl.
Here in the above picture, we used some cornflakes box, cough syrup box, plastic cups, and kitchen towel tube, with lotsa masking tape!
2. Dissolve an Eggshell
Let your kids sit back and watch what happens to an egg when you place it in vinegar. A little hint it basically makes the egg naked! The vinegar will dissolve the shell right off!
For older kids, they might be interested if you can show them the science explanation behind it (hint: go to YouTube for some educational videos!)
3. Dissect a Flower
Do you have any blooming flower in your garden? Dive right in and let your child explore the parts of a flower!
Allow them to explore by dissecting different parts of a flower. By “dissecting” it simply means, pulling apart or cutting off different part of the flower.
After dissecting it, then point out the name of different parts of the flower.
If you need a refresher on the specific names of flower parts, you can browse some information beforehand, before diving in with your child. I also love the explanation they have in Science Buddies here.
4. Will it Float or Sink?
Fill a bowl with water and gather some small objects or toys.
Have kids put the object in the water, and see if it will float or sink. After a while, ask them to guess what will happen to the next object before they put it in water, to increase the challenge!
Any objects work great for this test. Give them food objects, toys, maybe a nail or screw and let them see what happens!
5. Grow Mold
This will take some time to see the results but put a slice of bread in different places around the house and see which one gets moldy first.
Example of different places to put your bread: in a bag in the dark, bag in sunlight, bag in fridge, open bread on counter.
Watch the mold grow over time. Discuss with them what are mold and why mold grows on bread.
Then you can also talk to them why it’s important to keep some food properly, in a close container, in a fridge, and so on.
6. What’s that smell?
This is so fun to do with your kids. Blindfold your child and have different items for them to smell.
You can use different spice jars or other small containers.
Need ideas on what to smell? Pick different spices from the kitchen, coffee, pickles, cheese, pepper, cumin, ginger, or something from the garden like jasmine, lavender, rose, and so on.
See if they can use their sense to guess the object through smell.
This is also a good opportunity to teach them different name of food, spices, flowers, the possibility is endless!
7. Nature Walk
A nature walk is a great outdoor STEM activity where you can collect nature items on your walk.
After going back home, invite the kids to gather and sort the treasures into categories such as color, size, shape etc.
8. Create a Tornado in a Bottle
You’ll need to two plastic bottles, fill one up with water, and tape them together at the openings.
Then try to turn the bottles over upside down while spinning it a little, and watch the water move down creating a tornado-like swirl!
9. Straw Rockets
Draw a rocket ship, or print a rocket template from internet, and have your child color it.
You will need a regular straw, and another jumbo straw (or, you can use a plastic pipette and cut the bottom part, or make a ‘tunnel’ like from paper).
The bigger straw/tunnel paper/pipette will be taped on the back of your rocket.
Close shut the top end of it.
Then slide the smaller straw from the bottom.
You’re going to blow it off form the bottom, and watch you rocket blasts off!
10. Cooking activity
A great way to spend time together and learn new skills is to get in the kitchen and cook. This can start at such a young age and continue for many years to come.
Of course, full supervision is required with young kids. Also, choose tools wisely and watch out of hot stove/pan/oil/oven.
Be careful when choosing the utensils they use, for example you may opt to use plastic knife (or butter knife) and let your child cut up tofu.
Other activities might be:
- washing veggies (talk about the different colors, shape, and textures)
- peeling hardboiled egg
- washing & cooking rice
- peeling carrot
- spreading butter/jam on bread before toasting
- preparing cookie dough (measuring, pouring flour & sugar, etc)
11. Marshmallow Sculpture
Give them an abundance of mini and large marshmallows and toothpicks. Let their creative minds build their own marshmallow sculpture!
The best thing about this activity is that you can eat your sculptures afterwards!
12. Zipline Adventure
Build a “zipline” with some cord, and have something to slide down the zipline!
This is great opportunity to get your child to learn why objects can slide down (gravity), why the zipline needs to be in an angle, and how you can change the angle to make them slide faster/slower.
There are a LOT of variations with this zipline activities, but I love this simple one using kitchen paper tubes and decorated as they like.
Help your preschooler hang up a zip line that they can still reach. Then help them build something that can hold their action figure and attach it to the zip line and let them watch their figurine have fun riding down their zip line.
13. Sink the Egg
Fill a large container with water. Gather some plastic Easter eggs, and put different small objects in them.
Make sure you have enough variations of floating and sinking objects, like pompom, piece of eraser, coin, plastic bead, dice, etc.
Then put those eggs in the water, and watch which eggs sink!
14. Fizzy Rainbow
Want to make a fizzy rainbow?
You’ll need baking soda, vinegar, food colorings, and some tray/containers.
Start with a tray of baking soda then give them bowls of vinegar mixed with different food coloring colors.
Now let your kids take medicine droppers and drip the vinegar onto the baking soda tray.
Watch the thing goes “FIZZZZZZZ…” They will create the most amazing fizzy rainbow!
Here we did the fizzy rainbow in popsicle ice (yes for this you’d need to make the colored ice in advance)
15. Build a Simple Machine
Your kids can learn how things work by showing them how to build their own simple machine.
Surely, most likely you will need to help them build most of the stuff, but they can still learn some physics concept while they play.
For example, like how to build a simple conveyor belt using paper, pens, and some cereal box.
16. Grow Ice
Place 3-4 unopened bottles of water in the freezer for 3 hours. You may need to adjust the duration, to make sure they’re still in liquid form, just before it turns into ice.
Remove them after 3 hours, but do not shake them.
Grab a small bowl of ice and place on the counter or bowl. Then slowly start pouring the water from the bottles of water you took out of the freezer.
17. Button Stack Challenge
With some playdough and buttons you are ready for the button stack challenge.
Ask your preschooler to make the tallest stack of buttons, with the help of playdough.
They can use the playdough to help adding height and sticking buttons with one another. They can try stacking the buttons vertically like this (clever!).
You will be surprised how they use their buttons and playdough in this challenge to create a very tall stack!
18. Sand Volcano
If you have a sand pit outside, take learning to the outdoors.
You’ll need; sand, baking soda, vinegar.
Build a tall sand volcano structure and make a hole at the top using a stick.
Place 1-2 cups of baking soda in the hole. Then pour a cup or two of vinegar in the hole and step back and watch your sand volcano explode!
19. Make Ice Cream
Do you know you can make homemade ice cream?
With only 4 ingredients: 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1 cup of half and half, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 and ½ tablespoons of chocolate syrup you can create a delicious treat.
You will also need 2 sizes of ziplock bags; quart size and gallon size.
Mix all your ingredients in a quart size ziplock bag.
And then in a gallon ziplock bag, fill halfway with ice and sprinkle ½ cup of rock salt over the ice.
Now place the quart size ziplock inside the gallon ziplock right on top of the ice and close tight.
Now shake quickly until the ice cream has formed! SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE, BABY!
Super simple but super neat way to make your own ice cream.
20. Popsicle Stick Catapult
Experiment with the number of popsicle sticks, the angle of the catapult, to see which one can throw the pompom the farthest.
And let your child try with different small objects to throw.
One, two, three, FIRE!
Wants some more activity ideas for your preschoolers and toddlers? Check out these posts:
- Easy Low-Prep Art and Games Activities for Preschoolers
- Simple at home activities to entertain toddlers
- Easy toddler activities using household items
There you have it, 20 easy STEM activities for preschoolers at home.
Which one are you most excited to try with your child?