Friday, June 9, 2017

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Preschool STEM Camp Day 1: Engineering & Building

This week we hosted the first day of our Preschool STEM Creation Camp! The theme was all about engineering and building, and I am sharing the lesson plan here for you so you can host your own too!

To see the rest of the themes, supply list, and lesson plans (5 days, with one and a half hours of STEM activities planned each day), click HERE!

Today is 

Preschool STEM Camp

DAY 1: Engineering & Building

Supplies: building blocks, cardboard square (cut out to about a 7" square) sugar cubes, paper plates, glue, apples, toothpicks, crackers, and (Amazon affiliate link): Iggy Peck, Architect. Optional: butcher paper

Gathering Activity: As children arrive, direct them to a building block station. We often build on the floor, but today I put the blocks on a table for everybody since we have a child in a wheelchair. This also gives everyone a chance to get to know each other while they build next to one another and, if they choose, together.

Group Circle Time: Gather everyone in a circle. I introduced myself and told the kids that I love space--stars, planets, rockets--everything in space! Then we moved around the circle and let each child tell their name and something they love. Then I announced that we were going to begin today by reading a book.

Story Time: I had everyone stand up and form a new semi-circle in another room for the story, mostly because I wanted everyone to have a chance to move and stretch between introductions and a story that takes at least five minutes to read. I chose Iggy Peck, Architect for today's book because it is all about a kid who builds all. the. time. He builds out of a huge assortment of supplies too, from actual blocks to food! Unfortunately, he meets a teacher who does not allow building...until little Iggy finds a way to save the entire class from certain doom with his unique skills! Sidenote: As I read, I skipped about 2 pages of "backstory" about why the teacher doesn't like class's average age is 4 and they just don't care. ;)   (Image is an Amazon Affiliate Link:)

As you read, pause occasionally to talk about your kiddos' reactions to some of Iggy's creations...and supplies!

Engineering Project #1: Ice Castles & More. Give each child a cardboard square, a box of sugar cubes, and a squirt of glue. I also covered our work area with butcher paper and set out a paper plate to hold the kids' glue.  Show them how to dip their sugar cube in glue and set it on the cardboard. This is a pretty simple process...occasionally, someone soaked their sugar in the glue and it dissolved too much to work with, but that was okay because there were *so* many in each box.

We had a huge range of projects! The girls all thought the sugar cubes looked like sparkly snow, so there were a lot of ice palaces. There were a couple bridges, and a couple cities. There may have been a skyscraper or two that toppled, but that is part of the STEM learn things about balance, support, physics, and gravity as they experiment with their designs. It is wonderful to watch!

Engineering Project #2 & Snack: A couple years ago I came up with this apple toothpick building activity to replace the popular marshmallow and toothpick building project because I had a child who couldn't eat marshmallows. I totally fell in love with it, and thought it fit this engineering & building theme perfectly! I share a hint for chopping the apples here. Then just serve the apples, toothpicks, and crackers to the kids on a paper plate. They can build, eat, and play!

Free Play & Wrap-Up: Regroup, thank everyone for coming, and let them play with the blocks again before they leave! Free play is important for kids because it gives their brains a chance to process what they've learned. It also lets them create their own environment (to a degree!) for interacting and socializing with other children. I still supervise young children closely! 

We only had about 15 minutes left at this point, which is long enough to let kids play, but not so long that they get into trouble!

 If you need more than 90 minutes of activities, try some of these engineering & building projects for preschoolers:

And if you want to see a huge collection of STEM projects we've done with preschoolers, click on over HERE!

I'm so glad you're joining us for this Preschool STEM Camp, and I hope to see you again next week!! I would be delighted if you shared this post on Pinterest or Facebook! Be sure to see the whole camp layout HERE!!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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