Recently I attended a workshop at the UNL extension office in Lincoln titled STEAM* in Early Childhood. STEAM stands for *Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math.
The training included several hands-on activities including taking an ice ball formed in a balloon and adding salt and food coloring to it. The food coloring showed the patterns made by the salt melting the ice. This activity was really fun! Here’s a photo:
We also built structures out of newspaper and made a birdseed feeder with cookie cutters.
The training informed us about the inquiry process and how to facilitate it for preschooolers by encouraging inquiry, giving them time, fostering questions and helping them to reflect.
I included this process in my boat themed storytime. I had the children make rafts of popsicle sticks and colored duct tape. We took the rafts down to the courtyard to a small wading pool with a couple of inches of water. The children were able to see if the rafts actually floated. We provided small plastic animals for them to experiment with as well. Incorporating STEAM activities is easy and fun!
Here is a link to water themed activities. http://handsonaswegrow.com/water-experiments-for-kids/
Here are some titles for encouraging water experimentation for children.
Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon
Ned’s New Home by Kevin Tseng
Yucky Worms by Vivian French
Worms for Lunch by Leonid Gore
Look under science activities on this link:
Find more worm science here:
Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na
I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
Tweak Tweak by Eve Bunting
Find some great elephant facts and some more helpful ideas at:
Wee Little Bunny/ Lamb/ Chick by Lauren Thompson
A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na
Find some preschool science activities for the baby animal theme below:
Twelve Hats for Lena by Karen Katz
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
A general discussion could be held about how hats keep heat in our bodies or how hats provide shade.
Look under Early Science in the link below for an activity idea:
Note 1: Twelve Hats for Lena lends itself to a discussion of seasons and the calendar year.
Note 2: This Is Not My Hat easily sparks a discussion of predators, prey and the food chain.