As a former teacher and a lifelong educator, I have always marveled at the endless curiosity and boundless imagination that preschoolers bring to the table. Their world is one of constant exploration, where every day offers a new adventure, a new question, a new discovery.

While traditional classrooms offer many opportunities for learning, there’s an entire universe of lessons waiting just outside those four walls, especially during the carefree, sun-filled days of summer.

Summer is a time for children to step out of the structure of the school year and into a world where learning intertwines seamlessly with play. It’s a time for them to dive into hands-on activities, to feel the thrill of discovery, and to see the concepts they’ve learned about come alive in real and tangible ways. It’s an opportunity for them to engage with the world around them, asking questions, seeking answers, and learning all the while.

For our youngest learners, the preschoolers, this hands-on, exploratory learning is especially crucial. This is the age where foundations are laid, where a love for learning is kindled, and where children start to understand how they fit into the world around them.

STEM activities—those that blend science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are particularly beneficial. They ignite an interest in these areas, foster problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and show children how these subjects weave into everyday life.

In my years of experience, I’ve seen the power of these activities to captivate preschoolers, challenging them just enough to keep them engaged, but not so much as to cause frustration.

And so, as the summer beckons, I’ve compiled a collection of summer projects perfect for your preschooler. From building with blocks to exploring the principles of flight with paper airplanes, these activities promise a summer filled with fun, exploration, and most importantly, learning.

[Related: Best Science Kits for Kids]

30 STEM Activities for Preschoolers

Here are some fun and engaging STEM activities that are suitable for preschool-aged children:

Building with Blocks

Building with Blocks is a classic activity that promotes motor skills, spatial reasoning, and creativity. As children experiment with different block types, they are free to express their creativity while inherently understanding the principles of balance, weight, and symmetry.

Creating Shadows

Creating Shadows with a flashlight is a simple yet effective way to explain the concept of shadows to children. This activity helps them understand how the size and shape of shadows change depending on the light source’s angle and distance, creating a basis for light and shadow understanding.

Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds is an activity that nurtures a child’s understanding of plant life cycles and patience. By planting and caring for seeds, children observe the process of growth, teaching them about nurturing life and the rewards of patience and diligence.

Ice Exploration

Ice Exploration is a thrilling and tactile way to introduce the concept of states of matter. By freezing small toys or natural objects in ice and letting children figure out how to free them, they learn about the transformation of water from solid to liquid state.

Sink or Float

Sink or Float is an exciting experiment that introduces the concept of density. By guessing and testing which objects float or sink in water, children start understanding the basic principles of density and buoyancy.

Ramp and Roll

Ramp and Roll is a fun activity that introduces physics concepts like gravity and friction. By constructing a ramp and observing how different objects roll down, children can tangibly observe and understand these fundamental principles.

Magnetic Exploration

Magnetic Exploration encourages children’s curiosity about magnetism. By providing a magnet and a collection of various items, children can discover first-hand which materials are attracted to magnets and which are not, creating a practical understanding of magnetic properties.

Sorting and Categorizing

Sorting and Categorizing is a fundamental activity that helps children understand classification and patterns. By collecting objects of different shapes, sizes, or colors, children are tasked to sort and categorize them, honing their logical thinking and observational skills.

Simple Coding Games

Simple Coding Games offer an early introduction to the world of programming. By using age-appropriate coding games or toys, preschoolers are introduced to the basics of coding and algorithms in a fun, interactive manner.

[Related: Best Chemistry Kits for Kids]

Lego Counting

Lego Counting uses popular Lego blocks as fun, tangible tools to introduce basic math concepts like counting, addition, and subtraction. As they play and build, children unknowingly practice their mathematical skills, making learning seamless and fun.

Color Mixing

Color Mixing is a vibrant and hands-on activity that teaches children about primary and secondary colors. By mixing different colors of paint or food coloring, they learn how new colors are created, nurturing their understanding of color theory.

Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt

A Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt combines outdoor adventure with learning. As children embark on a nature walk to find specific leaves, rocks, or insects, they learn about various elements of biology and ecology, fostering a love for the natural world.

DIY Lava Lamp

The DIY Lava Lamp activity is a captivating experiment that introduces children to chemical reactions. By creating a homemade lava lamp with water, oil, food coloring, and a fizzing tablet like Alka-Seltzer, children witness the fascinating interplay of substances, kindling their interest in chemistry.

Play Dough Circuits

Play Dough Circuits is a hands-on activity that introduces children to the basics of electric circuits. Using conductive and insulating play dough, children can create and understand simple circuits, making the complex world of electricity tangible and fun.

Bubble Science

Bubble Science is a mesmerizing activity that teaches children about surface tension and light reflection. By making and observing homemade bubbles, kids can understand why bubbles form spheres and why they exhibit colorful surfaces.

Paper Airplanes

Paper Airplanes is a creative and engaging way for children to explore principles of aerodynamics and flight. As they design, build, and fly their paper airplanes, they gain a basic understanding of forces like lift, drag, and gravity.

Water Cycle in a Bag

Water Cycle in a Bag allows children to create a mini version of the water cycle within a zip-lock bag. This vivid, visual demonstration of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation brings the natural water cycle process to life, promoting understanding of this key environmental concept.

Animal Tracks

Animal Tracks is an activity that combines arts and biology. By using clay to make imprints of different animal tracks, children learn about various animal species and their unique characteristics, fostering an appreciation for biodiversity.

Paper Bridges

Paper Bridges is a challenging activity that introduces basic engineering concepts. By tasking children to build a paper bridge that can support a certain weight, they are encouraged to brainstorm, design, and test their own engineering solutions, fostering problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Pasta Geometry

Pasta Geometry is a clever and engaging activity where different types of pasta serve as tangible representations of geometric shapes. By assembling various pasta types, preschoolers can explore and familiarize themselves with basic geometric concepts.

Homemade Telescope

The Homemade Telescope activity encourages children to delve into the wonders of space. By crafting a simple telescope from paper tubes, children get an introductory understanding of magnification and the basics of astronomy.

Pattern Blocks

Pattern Blocks is a colorful activity that introduces preschoolers to shapes and patterns. Using wooden or foam blocks of various shapes, children get to build, compare, and recognize different patterns, fostering their spatial reasoning skills.

Measuring Nature

Measuring Nature is a wonderful activity that combines outdoor exploration with math. Armed with rulers or measuring tapes, children are encouraged to measure natural objects like leaves, sticks, or rocks, offering a practical introduction to measurement concepts.

Sound Wave Experiment

The Sound Wave Experiment uses a DIY telephone made from a spoon and string to help children explore how sound travels. This fun experiment demonstrates how sound waves can travel through different mediums, introducing the fundamental principles of acoustics.

Balloon Rocket

The Balloon Rocket activity introduces the concept of action and reaction forces. By propelling a balloon along a string, children can physically see and understand Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.

Rainbow Jar

Rainbow Jar is a vibrant, visual activity that introduces children to the concept of density. By layering different colored liquids according to their densities, children create a beautiful rainbow jar while learning about the properties of different fluids.

Marshmallow Structures

Marshmallow Structures is a creative activity where toothpicks and marshmallows become basic engineering materials. By building different structures, children explore the principles of design and engineering, encouraging their problem-solving skills and creativity.

Egg Drop Challenge

The Egg Drop Challenge is an exciting activity that combines creativity, problem-solving, and basic principles of physics and materials science. In this challenge, preschoolers are tasked with designing and building a container that can safeguard an egg from a significant fall.

The aim is to absorb or deflect the force of the impact, preventing the egg from cracking. As they experiment with different materials and designs, children grasp concepts such as gravity, inertia, and impact forces. This playful challenge not only fuels their creativity but also introduces them to the fascinating world of physics in a relatable and fun way.

Kitchen Chemistry

Kitchen Chemistry is a delightful, hands-on activity that makes the magic of chemistry accessible right from your kitchen. By using everyday ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, preschoolers can witness a basic chemical reaction in action.

When baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) are mixed, they react to produce carbon dioxide gas, resulting in a fun, fizzy effect. This activity not only brings science to life but also sparks curiosity, encouraging young learners to question, experiment, and understand the world around them.

Wind Experiment

The Wind Experiment is a fun, engaging activity that introduces preschoolers to the concept of wind and its direction. In this hands-on project, children get to build a simple wind vane. The process not only stirs their engineering skills but also provides a practical tool for observing which way the wind blows.

As they witness the wind vane respond to the breeze, it becomes a perfect moment to explain how wind is formed—by the air’s movement from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas. This experiment transforms an abstract concept into a tangible learning experience, making science fun and accessible to young learners.

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