One of the best ways to get preschoolers curious about the world around them is by including STEAM in preschool. Bonus! It’s super fun and engaging at the same time! Kids love to create, make, build, and design. That’s because they are natural born engineers, artists, and designers. By exploring STEAM activities for each letter of the acronym, you will easily be able to have STEAM sprinkled through your preschool lesson plans.
To learn more about implementing STEAM in preschool, ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) offers courses for early childhood educators. CCEI is our favorite online training platform and sponsor. Their STEAM courses will help you gain a solid understanding of each of the concepts.
CCEI offers these three courses:
- CUR 128: Engineering Explorations in Early Childhood
- CUR 127: Coding in Early Childhood Education
- CUR 113: STEAM: Enhancing STEM with the Arts
ChildCare Education Institute offers these types of courses for early childhood educators so they can have the knowledge to create preschool lesson plans that are well rounded and meet your curriculum standards. Their courses are developed by experts and can be accessed anytime of day or night on any device during your busy schedule. They make training hours simple to achieve whether you do them at work or from the comfort of your home.
Why STEAM in Preschool is Important
STEAM stands for:
STEAM activities get children building, designing, exploring, creating, and analyzing. What I love about STEAM activities in preschool is that so much of it is a project based approach. STEAM encourages curiosity and experimentation and engages all children. Having STEAM activities available to preschoolers can also get them interested in a STEAM-related career.
As you will see, a lot of activities can have multiple parts of STEAM. Many engineering activities involve science and math. Art is something that can be implemented in all areas too.
Science Activities in Preschool
Preschoolers are curious, so science is something they are naturally interested in. When children are learning about animals, asking how things work, observing insects, and making their own concoctions or experiments, these are all parts of science. Doing baking soda and vinegar experiments, talking about how our bodies work and move, and even cooking are all aspects of science that preschoolers love being part of.
[Science is] about asking questions and making your own investigations – two things children are very good at.Asia Citro, author of The Curious Kid’s Science Book
Here are some great ways to implement science into your preschool lesson plans:
- Grow a plant from a seed in a clear container to see parts of the plant
- Make a color mixing sensory bottle
- Explore a prism with light and search for the rainbow
- Melt crayons into a new creation
- Do an ice cube melt experiment
- Create slime and see the chemical reaction
- Use a magnet to move another magnetic item
Technology Activities in Preschool
Technology is changing quicker than ever, and there are many tools we can bring into preschool classrooms to get young children interested in it. Some nostalgic favorites are typewriters, CD players, microphones, polaroid cameras, flashlights, and even telephones. Most preschoolers these days even have access to use programs on computers or other similar electronic devices.
Here are creative ways to bring technology into the day:
- Have a CD player available for children to play music or stories
- Let the children use an old smart phone or device to record a video or take photos
- Explore light and colors with a flashlight and colored transparency sheets or color paddles
- Have children learn about circuits with a basic snap circuit kit that you demonstrate and walk them through the process of
- Play a game similar to “Simon Says” where the leader gives “If” commands/directions and children respond with physical prompts to introduce them to coding
Engineering Activities in Preschool
Early childhood classrooms offer many natural places for engineering, especially in the block area. Adding figurines (of various people and animals), gems, and glass beads will attract children who may not normally be drawn to this area. Bring in images of famous or local buildings and structures for children to observe.
Teacher Note: When talking to children about engineering, you can tell them an engineer is anyone who builds things that solves problems.CCEI Course, CUR128: Engineering Explorations in Early Childhood
Here are other ways to incorporate engineering:
- Design a city out of magnetic tiles
- Stack cups to make a pyramid
- Build a ramp for a ball or car to travel across
- Create a catapult with materials such as craft sticks, rubber bands, or a plastic spoon
- Design a bug hotel with recycled materials
- Line up dominoes in different designs and shapes
Art Activities in STEAM
Children love using art materials to create and explore. This can range from painting, drawing, using materials like playdough, or even a maker station with various materials inviting them to create. Have an easel open each day during centers so that children can have daily access to it. An art station also encourages creativity and imagination. The arts also expand into singing, dancing, and performing. The performing arts are great to incorporate during circle time.
Art is something that is created with imagination and skill, and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Here are ways to add art to your preschool lesson plans:
- Use materials to create the life cycle of the butterfly
- Create with air dry clay and see how it changes after it has dried
- Make a musical instrument with kitchen items using cups and paper towel rolls, rubber bands, wax paper, or rice
- Create puffy paint and make a painting on canvas or posterboard with it
- Squeeze liquid watercolor in primary colors onto coffee filters with pipettes and observe the new colors that are created
- Sing a song about how the world works
This song about photosynthesis from Rachel and the Treeschoolers is a perfect way to combine the arts with science.
Math Activities in Preschool
Math is all around us, and children love spotting shapes and creating patterns. As we make math a part of the daily routine and involve it in conversations, we are helping children become mathematical thinkers who are comfortable and confident in gaining more math skills. Include counting in simple activities like lining up to go inside from recess, while doing exercises during PE, and talking about your daily schedule.
Here are more ideas to implement math intentionally:
- Practice subitizing (the ability to recognize “how many” without counting) with finger puppets
- Compare two block towers or two containers with large items (figure out which one has more and which one has less)
- Use pattern blocks or magnetic tiles to talk about shapes and to create new ones
- Make a pattern out of connecting cubes
- Have a scavenger hunt for 10 favorite items and count them
- Sort counting bears or other counting materials by color or size
- Make a number line with playing cards
Using STEAM in the early childhood classroom is a powerful tool! It transforms children into creators, thinkers, designers, and more. These skills could even spark interest to work in these career fields.
To gain professional development hours and learn in depth about STEAM, engineering, and coding, enroll in the online professional development courses offered by ChildCare Education Institute.
More about ChildCare Education Institute
ChildCare Education Institute provides high-quality, research-based online training courses and programs, relevant to those who work various early childhood settings including:
- Center-based care
- Head Start
- Home child care
- Pre-K classrooms
- After school programs and more
They have more than 200+ English and Spanish training courses that meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also offers online national certification programs for national credentials including Director, CDA, and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition approved training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
What do other ECE professionals think of ChildCare Education Institute? 99 percent of students say they would recommend CCEI to others, and nearly 9,351,000 online course hours have been completed. Join over 49,200 early childhood professionals who have earned their CDA and other certificate programs.
All your online early childhood professional development needs are in one trusted online source! Get started on an online early childhood training course (or their new ECE college program) today.