22 Apr, 2024

Simple STEAM Activities for Your Preschooler

5 mins read

Science: Shadow Puppets

  • Trace and cut out shapes, then glue them onto a craft stick. Place your puppet in front of a flashlight to cast a shadow on the wall.  
  • Encourage your child to retell a favorite story using puppets. This helps with reading comprehension. As you play puppets together, ask questions to help your child elaborate their story. 
  • Playing with puppets encourages your child’s imagination. Making puppets together encourages creativity and is a great bonding activity. 
  • Explore what kind of shadows different things around the house make. Experiment moving objects closer or father from the light source to see what happens to the shadow. 

Science: Buoyancy  

  • Gather various water-resistant objects and a bowl of water-you can also do this during bath time too! 
  • Drop things into the water one by one to see if they sink or float. Before you drop each item, encourage your child to guess if the object is going to sink or float.  

Science: Nature Walk with Binoculars 

  • Glue or tape two toilet paper tubes together to create binoculars.  
  • Take a nature walk together and talk about what you see. This is a great way to build your child’s vocabulary. 
  • Play I Spy together. Look for things that are different colors and encourage your child to look for them. Color is one of the first ways your child will make distinctions among the things that they see. Knowing their colors helps your child to define and organize the world they see around them. 
  • Pick a tree and watch it together. Count how many animals you see.   

Art/Music: Make your own instruments 

See our Library Make: Instruments blog post about making your own musical instruments! Video and instructions included.

  • Explore the sense of sound with these easy-to-make sound shakers (noise makers). Find some plastic film containers, plastic yogurt or cottage cheese cups, or other plastic juice bottles. Make sure that the containers have covers for the tops.  
  • Fill the containers 1/2 or 1/4 full with dry seeds, uncooked beans or rice, pebbles or sand. Seal the top of the container with glue or tape (you don’t want the seeds, beans, rice, etc. all over the floor).  
  • Decorate the container with glue and magazine cutouts, stickers or colored paper, then shake, shake, shake. 
  • Compare the sounds made by the different materials.  

Can you close your eyes and guess which sound shaker is making noise while someone else shakes it? 

Can you use your sound shakers to follow the rhythm to “Itsy Bitsy Spider”? 


Math: Play ‘How many are hiding?’ 

  • You will need small objects (like small dinosaur toys, beans or pieces of cereal) and something to hide them under (like a towel or a cup) 
  • Start with three to five objects and lay them all out in front of you and count them together with your child.   
  • Tell them that you are going to hide some of the objects. Have your child close their eyes and hide one of the objects from view.  
  • Have your child open their eyes and asked them how many objects they see now.  
  • It might take some time for your child to figure out what you mean when you ask “how many do you see now?”. They may be a little confused-are you asking them how many do they see now or how many there were before they closed their eyes? This uncertainty is okay-its important that children learn to respond flexibly to different situations.  
  • If they are ready for it, try asking your child how many they think are hiding. 
  • If your child becomes proficient with combinations of 5, you can go on to numbers 6 to 10. 

Math: A Feel for Shapes 

See our FIRST Library Make episode, Green Square, Green Square, for a shape flannel activity you can do at home.

  • Cut out different shapes from thick paper in different colors 
  • Ask you child to identify each shape. As they name each shape, ask them why they named the shape as they did. This encourages them to recognize a shape by its features.  
  • For example, when they identify a triangle, ask them why they think it is a triangle. Your child should mention that it has three sides, or three corners. If it is a circle, they should mention that it is round, or curvy.  
  • Play “I-Spy” with the shapes. You can say to your child “I spy a yellow triangle”. Once they locate it, ask them what makes a triangle a triangle. As they become comfortable with the shapes, let them play I-Spy and have you find the shapes.  
  • As you look for the shape, verbalize your thoughts. For example, when looking for a square say “I am looking for a shape that has four corners, and four sides that are all the same length.”
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