STEM Education for Preschoolers
STEM education is the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics via an interdisciplinary or integrated approach. For preschoolers, this usually includes hands-on and play based activities that are designed to spark their natural curiosities, while developing key cognitive skills.
The STEM subjects may seem rather complex for young children, but as it happens, toddlers and pre-schoolers naturally and spontaneously engage in all manner of STEM activities on a regular basis. In fact, children are born scientists! Their inherent desire to know how things work should inspire us all to further challenge these concepts and make the most of this age of pre-school wonderment.
Early learning centres such as the Cherry Bridge Station centres in NSW include many STEM learning outcomes as part of the fun, activity-based curriculum, which is developed to meet all the requirements of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) – and there are also plenty of exciting and educational activities you can do together at home!
Below are some of our favourite STEM-based activities.
Building 2D and 3D shapes – instructions here: In the Playroom
With nothing more needed than play dough and craft sticks (you can also use straws or save ice lolly sticks), this is a super problem-solving activity. Start with the 2D shapes like a square and then challenge your little learner to make the square into a cube. You can even move onto more complex structures like bridges!
Magic Milk Experiment – instructions here: Coffee Cups and Crayons
This captivating colour experiment uses nothing more than a dish of milk, food dye, cotton buds and washing-up liquid. This safe and simple chemical reaction will make your little boffin feel like a super scientist and with every pattern being unique you can have fun with all the family to see who can make the best swirly pattern.
Glow in the Dark Ice – instructions here: Mini Monets and Mommies
For this fascinating activity, all you need is an ice cube tray, tonic water, a black light (black lights/ultraviolet flashlights can be purchased cheaply online), dark paper and glitter. Who knew tonic water could do that!? This experiment is astonishing and there are many other glowing tonic water-related crafts online too.
DIY Squishy Window Gel Clings – instructions here: The Science Kiddo
This scientific and decorative project will need plenty of adult supervision and assistance, but the unique and imaginative results make it truly worthwhile! With gelatine and food dyes you can really get into colour blending here and googly eyes always add some extra hilarity!
Raising Raisins – instructions here: Science Sparks
This simple science experiment will amaze your little learners, and empower them to think like the scientists that they are! With nothing more than warm water, raisins, food dye and baking soda you can create a reaction that causes carbon dioxide bubbles to form on the wrinkles of the raisin. You can try the effects with other objects too, and get your little one to record their findings.
So STEM learning is all around us and with so many fun experiments to choose from we can encourage the scientists of the future, our children.