Our preschool year began two weeks ago, and this year I’m trying to incorporate more STEM preschool activities into my class’ day. The age of my class is around two and a half years old, so some of them have never been left with a “stranger” in a new place. Because of all the unfamiliar surroundings and people, the first weeks of preschool are usually full of tears and tantrums as the toddlers try to adjust. When I started thinking of STEM preschool activities my co-teacher and I could add to the class, we both knew we needed to make them easy to put together (for us), and easy to understand (for the kids). The following STEM ideas are what we used for the past two weeks that really seemed to work!
STEM Preschool Ideas for the First Weeks of School
STEM Preschool Idea 1: Car ramps
Making ramps is THE EASIEST STEM preschool activity. For our ramps, I removed the puzzle pieces of some of our wooden puzzles, then turned them over. To create height, I used the cardboard blocks we usually use for building towers. Next I place one end of the puzzle at the top of the blocks, and the other end touched the floor. Then I laid out some small toy cars, and just let the kids play!
While this activity seems really simple, its perfect for preschoolers to learn a lot of science and math ideas. When then watch a car go down the ramp, they are playing with potential and kinetic energy. If they add a block to the ramp, then they are increasing the potential energy of their car, and can watch the car go farther once it hits the floor. They’re playing with difference in friction factors between the wood puzzle back and the material on the floor. They learned to count down backwards from 3 to let the cars go. I loved that through play, our preschoolers were learning physics all on their own!
Post contains affiliates. Please see disclosure for more information.
STEM Preschool Idea 2: Apple Science Experiment
Another great STEM preschool activity we did this past week is an experiment I’m sure you’ve seen before. I took an apple and cut it into 6 slices. I put each slice into a mason jar with different substances in them. One had nothing but air in it, and we called this our control apple slice. The other 5 jars were filled with coffee, water, seltzer water, apple cider vinegar, and almond milk (because its what I had at home). I sealed each jar, then left them over night.
Free Toy Car Preschool Math Activity!
Looking for a fun way to teach your preschooler numbers? Subscribe and receive a free guide on how to use toy cars to teach numbers!
The next day during circle time, I removed each apple from their jar one at a time. I started with the control, and passed it around the circle. When I took each apple out, I compared the apple slice to the control, and let each kid feel and smell it as well. I made sure to use phrases like “How does this apple compare to our control? Is it softer? Does it smell different? Is it the same color?” Since we are still at the beginning of the year, I didn’t expect answers from my kids, but I am introducing new vocabulary. Now our simple little experiment is not only a science lesson, but also helps their verbal development!
Planting a Seed
Another really simple STEM activity is to introduce young children to gardening. Not only will children learn what a plant needs to grow, but planting is also a great sensory activity! My coteacher had bought some sunflower seed this past summer, and I picked up some soil and biodegradable pots. We took the children outside to plant our seeds. Then we called each child one by one to fill their pot with dirt and add the seed. The activity was also a great way for our class to practice waiting for our turn!
After each child planted their seed, I put all the pots in a large plastic crate to take them all home to care for the seed. Every day, I will take them home to make sure they are safe, and bring them back the next morning so the kids can watch their seeds grow!
All three of these STEM preschool activities were perfect for the first week of school, and our group of two and half year-olds were able to follow the instructions and experience STEM in simple ways. Stay tuned to find out what we do in our class for the next two weeks!
Interested in other STEM preschool activities? Here are a few my other posts!
One to One Correspondence Preschool Counting Thanksgiving Activity
My Preschooler’s Favorite Building STEM Toy
9 Easy Preschool Math Activities You Can Do Everyday
Easy and Fun Garden Preschool Science Experiment
Making Snow at Home when its Hot Outside
7 Great Construction Engineering Books for Preschoolers!
Preschool Math with Magnetic Numbers