Blog author: Dr. Ann Marie Ginsberg
Preschoolers love STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. They love a class that is hands-on and discovery-based where they can count figures, look for patterns, build towers and watch what happens when ice cubes are dropped into hot water. Why? Because preschoolers are naturally curious. By helping to develop their curiosity, problem-solving and inquiry skills, you are partnering in your child’s growth and development in a meaningful way.
4 Activities to Support Your Child’s STEAM at Home
There are countless STEAM activities to choose from, and here are our picks:
- Counting things. Get small containers or baskets and start collecting things. Seasonal objects like pinecones, acorns, leaves, shells, rocks and/or household items like buttons, bottle caps and paperclips are all welcome. Once collected, help your child sort them by size, shape, or color. Ask them which is bigger or smaller and count the entire collection. You might want to have number cards or a counting line to assist them. You can also teach your children addition by counting one set of items and “adding it” to the next group. Kids love counting and you will be amazed how high they can count to!
- Measuring things. Preschoolers enjoy measuring almost everything. They can use a measuring tape, ruler, a piece of string, or even the growth chart that you use to measure their growth. Through their exploration they will understand the concept of measurement better. Ask questions like: Who is taller? Whose bed is wider? How big is the carpet measuring with your shoe? Create a chart so you can compare and contrast the information found over time.
- Analyze things. Get a magnifying glass and compare how things look with the nature eye versus looking through a magnifying glass or under a microscope. It is obvious to us that things are getting bigger and distorted, but to our young learners, it is a mystery waiting to be uncovered! Some kids are interested in the stars, a telescope helps to bring those far away stars closer. How does it happen? Guide your child through the inquiry process and then explore the answers on search engines.
- Taking care of a pet or a plant is a great way to build responsibility and explore STEAM. Young learners can observe how seeds sprout and tell fruits from vegetables by looking at the seed. The possibilities are endless as you watch that seed become a plant. Then we learn the parts of a plant! Web links and videos help to enhance the learning.
Online STEAM Resources – New York Public Library
The New York Public Library (NYPL) offers STEAM Storytimes with activities on demand. Each Online STEAM Storytime features a story, songs, rhymes, and an activity. NYPL also offers one-page guide that explains how to do the activity alongside with some thoughtful questions to extend learning and explore STEAM concepts at home. In addition to Online STEAM Storytime, NYPL also offers Early Literacy, Online Storytime and NYPL Sings for Early Learners, and resources for Caregivers.
Moreover, NYPL also has an education section with reading resources, academic support and activity for fun divided into three age groups – Pre-K-2nd Grade, 3rd Grade-5th Grade and Middle School.
Real-Life STEAM Resources – Museums and Exhibitions
Timeout NY featured an article at the end of July listing the best kid museums in NYC. This page picked out 11 most interesting exhibitions and activities in NYC for our young learners.
Learning is fun. If it is encouraged at a young age, it shapes a learner into having a thirst for knowledge for life. Thomas Edison once said, “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Another famous saying from him goes "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
Have fun and help your child explore! Who knows if your child is the next great inventor and a household name!