Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead: At-Home Activities to Engage Your Young Child

Little girl in the woods taking a picture with a camera

The world is a classroom with our Reggio Emilia approach and S.T.E.A.M. lessons are real-life experiments that can be an enriching for the whole family. Expanded from traditional STEM curriculum, these exercises seamlessly weave science, technology, engineering, art and math into everyday play to provide endless opportunities for learning and growth. 

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead

As a child’s first and most important teacher, you play a pivotal role in shaping their love of learning. These at-home S.T.E.A.M. activities can help you captivate and engage your child’s innate curiosity while promoting crucial skills and development.

Science | Color-Changing Flowers

Explore plant science with this color-changing-flowers activity. Using white flowers and colored water, children witness the captivating process of capillary action as the petals transform hues. This hands-on experiment not only introduces them to plant physiology but also encourages predictions and scientific curiosity, fostering a deeper understanding of nature’s wonders.

Materials Needed: 

  • White flowers (such as carnations or daisies)
  • Clear cups or vases
  • Water
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Paper to record changes

Technology | Nature Photo Scavenger Hunt

Combine technology with the great outdoors in a tech-savvy scavenger hunt. Create a list of natural objects like leaves, rocks or flowers. Armed with a smartphone or disposable camera, your child can snap pictures of each discovery to create a field guide of fun memories. Encourage them to notice details, colors and patterns. This activity not only cultivates observation skills but also fosters a connection with the environment and introduces basic photography concepts.

Materials Needed:

  • Smartphone or tablet with a camera
  • Paper and pen or pencil
  • Nature scavenger hunt list

Engineering | Egg Drop Challenge

This thrilling engineering challenge can introduce your family to a friendly competition. Using various household materials, your child will need to think creatively to design a contraption that will prevent the egg from cracking when dropped from a certain height. After they’ve designed their egg carrier, head to a safe outdoor space and let them test their creation. This hands-on experiment fosters critical thinking, problem-solving and an understanding of basic physics concepts.

Materials Needed:

  • Eggs
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Bubble wrap and cotton balls
  • Straws, tape and rubber bands

Art | Nature Printmaking

This printmaking activity combines art and nature! To begin, gather different types of leaves from your backyard or on a nature walk. Next, dip a paintbrush into your paint and gently brush it onto the underside of a leaf. Finally, press the painted leaf onto a piece of paper and, voila! You’ve created a beautiful nature-inspired work of art. This artistic endeavor enhances fine motor skills, introduces patterns and connects your child to the beauty of the natural world.

Materials Needed:

  • Various leaves
  • Non-toxic or natural paint
  • Paper
  • Paintbrush

Math | Counting and Measuring Nature’s Treasures

Explore the mathematical wonders of nature with a counting and measuring activity. Begin by heading outdoors to collect leaves, stones, pinecones and more. At home, invite your child to sort the items based on attributes like size, shape or color. Have them record their findings on a piece of paper, creating a mini-measurement chart. This activity helps strengthens mathematics while connecting math to the real world and fostering an appreciation for nature.

Materials Needed: 

  • Leaves, stones, pinecones, etc.
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Paper
  • Markers

Childhood Discovery Begins at Children’s Discovery Center

For more than 40 years, Children’s Discovery Center has helped guide and expand the minds of Toledo’s youngest explorers. Our dedicated staff nurtures children into lifelong learners by providing an innovative environment promoting self-led discovery. Contact us today to learn more about our Reggio Emilia approach to learning, register your child and tour our discovery centers.