Saturday, February 4, 2017

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Rainbow Preschool STEAM / STEM Activities for Kids

Today I'm joining some friends to bring you St. Patrick's Day themed STEAM & STEM activities for kids! One of our favorite St. Patrick's Day themes is Rainbows, so we did a Preschool Rainbow STEAM Project! Here are all the details:



I think every "school day" should start with a book, so I'm including a couple of my favorite rainbow themed picture books at the bottom of this post. To start our project, I told the kids that we were going to "make rainbows," but first we needed to make clouds.

I wanted white play dough for the clouds, so I used this recipe and doubled it...that made about 8 slightly-smaller-than-tennis ball-sized balls of playdough for the kids. They love watching the texture change from sticky like mashed potatoes to smooth and silky ready-for-play.


Then I put out the "clouds," colored craft sticks, foam stars, and colored pony beads. I had one kiddo ask "How are we supposed to make the rainbows?" and I answered,

"It's up to you."



That's my favorite part of STEAM and STEM activities -- the kids get to decide how to investigate, explore, or create. Some of them went and gathered extra tools and supplies, and that was just fine. 



And they did a marvelous job! They finished on their own and each had a unique, incredible looking rainbow.






My son even decided that he wanted a dark raincloud, so he kneaded a handful of chocolate chips into his playdough to make a (delicious smelling!) raincloud!




How does a simple activity like this qualify as a STEAM or STEM project? It integrates science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art:

SCIENCE: problem solving & experimenting
TECHNOLOGY: tools they used to shape their playdough, microwave and measuring spoons and cups used to make the playdough
ENGINEERING: designing and creating the rainbows
ART: designing and creating the rainbows
MATHEMATICS: measuring the ingredients for the playdough, counting the supplies (This was NOT something I planned, actually, but every child counted their craft sticks and beads after they picked them out but before they used them. Fascinating.)


We even had one 4-year old make a "star rainbow bracelet!"



Also, a fun extension we're going to try today (a couple days after we did this project, but before the Saturday this post is scheduled to go live) is letting them "light up" their rainbows with our Squishy Circuits set! I'm hoping this works out as brilliantly in real life as it is in my mind--if so, I'll post pictures (and if not, I'll delete this paragraph, lol)!



A Few Rainbow Books I Love:
(Each image is an Amazon affiliate link.)




The Cat in the Hat book teaches a lot about rainbows; What Makes a Rainbow emphasizes colors and different items that are each color; and My Color is Rainbow is all about being your own kind of beautiful.

I'm sharing this post as part of a new monthly STEAM / STEM Activities for Kids series that we will host the first Saturday of every month! I would LOVE to have you join us in a monthly STEAM or STEM project!



This month's cohosts are all sharing STEAM / STEM activities and challenges that relate to a St. Patrick's theme! Check them out at:

Magic Milk Rainbow Science | Schooling a Monkey 


Also, I have a small STEM Activities & Projects for Kids group on Facebook where I share STEM inspiration, ideas, and challenges for you every week. I'd love to have you join me HERE!!

Happy Educating,
Carla





I may share at any of these parties!




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