Art Infused with STEM Learning Activities Makes for a Colorful Time
By Rachel Ward
Oooh…what’s that? I wonder if I can make anything with it. What happens if I bend it? How does it move? What does it smell like?
Kids are, by nature, inquisitive little humans who are seeking answers in their quest to figure out and define the world they live in. Here at KinderCare, we love their curiosity and we want to encourage its growth! That’s why we include a hefty helping of STEM learning activities (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in our curriculum for all of our age groups.
“STEM activities are open-ended, which allows children to build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills as they ask questions, think about possible outcomes, and experiment with different ways to accomplish a goal,” says Sue-Ann Lively from KinderCare’s Education team.
But don’t assume all STEM activities are completely math- or science-based! STEM learning can extend across all areas of learning, and that’s just what our Pre-K kids are doing this month.
Open-Ended Art Activities Can Open Young Minds
Kids in our Pre-K classrooms get into some basic experimentation by squeezing drops of colored water onto coffee filters to find out what happens (and create some pretty cool designs in all kinds of patterns and shapes, depending on how they fold the filter first).
“Exploratory activities encourage children to ask their own questions and think of ways to find the answers,” explains Lively. “By including such activities in our curriculum, we’re helping children to take charge of their own education and follow their interests—which helps them build confidence in their own abilities and develop the skills they need to become lifelong learners.”
We’re encouraging curiosity, confidence, and problem-solving skills each and every day here at KinderCare, and you can do the same at home! Try some of our fun and simple ideas below.
Get Thinking and Experimenting! 4 Quick and Easy STEM Activities to Do at Home
1. Craft some shapes (and maybe even some structures)
Dive into engineering basics by handing your child some toothpicks and small balls of play dough. What kind of shapes can they make? If they’re breezing their way through it, up the challenge factor by encouraging them to see if they can create different structures, too.
2. Hunt for magnetic items
What does your child think will be magnetic? Have them make some guesses before grabbing a magnet and moving around your house to search for anything with a magnetic charge. They might be surprised by what they find!
3. Think about shadows
Go outside on a sunny morning and ask your child to think about their shadow. Right now, is it short or tall? Is it directly in front of them or off to one side? Do they think that will change throughout the day? Head outside periodically throughout the day to take a look at how their shadow is changing and see if their guess was correct!
4. Above all—give your child freedom to explore
When your child has free rein to learn and discover what they’re really interested in, they’ll keep doing just that throughout their life. So encourage that spirit of curiosity, whether they want to get a closer look at bugs in the soil or experiment with basic computer coding.