During our webinar a few weeks ago, we have received quite a few questions from pre-primary teachers looking for STEM activities to organize with their toddlers.
In this age, children’s curiosity and willingness to put their hands on pretty much everything (some of you are smiling while reading this, I am sure), are your biggest advantages when looking for activities!
There are two main aims when you are creating activities for this age group:
– Create a safe environment for children to explore using their senses.
– Create natural learning experiences that lead to discovery and inquiry.
Below I am providing two easy to set up activities and some additional ideas that will help you get started:
Disappearing Egg activity
This egg experiment is great for preschoolers and older kids! If you are using this with older kids then you need to know that the egg dissolves because eggshells contain calcium carbonate, the main ingredient in many antacid tablets. This dissolves in the acidic vinegar to produce calcium ions (which stay dissolved in the vinegar) and carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide produces the bubbles that you will see while the egg is dissolving. Now that you know the science behind this cool activity, here is everything your kids need to give it a try!
Materials needed: a glass jar with lid (from jam, tomato sauce etc.), white vinegar, egg
– Gently place the egg into the mason jar.
– Fill with vinegar leaving 3-4cm space at the top. It is important to leave room at the top of the jar or it might burst from the carbon dioxide gas produced by the reaction.
– Cover the jar with the lid and ring. Again, make sure it is not too tight so that the gas can escape the jar.
– Leave for 2 days, remove the remaining pieces of shell (if any) and then enjoy your shell-less egg!
– You can add some food coloring in the vinegar. It will dye the membrane (just for fun!)
– You can tell kids that what they are holding is literally one giant cell. You can explain to them that cells are microscopic little things that make up all living things but eggs are very large cells in general.
This very simple construction will provide you with a great opportunity to introduce kids to magnets, their properties and show them which materials are magnetic and which not. Toddlers can spend loads of time fishing out magnetic objects so make sure to allow them enough time to explore and reflect on their findings.
Materials needed: A large plastic container, various small magnetic materials (i.e. paper clips, coins, scissors) and non-magnetic materials (i.e. Lego blocks, small pencils, erasers, small plastic figures), rice or lentils, magnets
– Fill the container with rice or lentils (red ones to add some color)
– Place all your magnetic and non-magnetic objects in the rice/lentils and stir well in order to hide them
– Give the magnets to the kids and ask them to pull out as many objects as possible
-Explain and show them in advance what magnets are and the main difference between magnetic and non-magnetic materials
– Prepare for each box a grid with pictures of the items you have hidden in it. Ask kids to fish out using the magnets all magnetic objects and add a smiley face next to them.
Looking forward to hearing all about your experiences and any other STEM activities you have tried with your pre-schoolers!
* Both images are from http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.be