Over the last decade, a lot of research has gone into proving the importance of developing educational curriculums based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
STEM does not just focus on these disciplines individually, it encourages curriculums that focus on these areas of study holistically. Teaching STEM in an integrated, cohesive way helps children develop cognitive skills from early childhood to adolescence and even adulthood.
Introducing your preschooler to STEM can seem difficult, but learning can be fun! The change of season is always exciting for young children. Here we take a look at two fun and creative fall STEM-based science exercises that your preschooler will enjoy.
Salt Crystal Leaves Experiment
With fall fast approaching, now is the perfect time to prepare a fun activity inspired by the beautifully colored, fallen leaves. It will help your child engage with scientific concepts. This salt crystal leaves experiment achieves just that as it teaches children about the crystallization process while creating crafty snow-like leaves.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup of water
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of salt
- 1 pot or microwave bowl
- 1 – 2 sheets of construction paper for tracing
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 baking tray
- Real of fake leaves of any size
- Start by asking your preschooler to trace the collected leaves onto the construction paper. Once traced, help your child to cut out the leaf shape from the paper using the pair of scissors.
- After the leaves have been cut, prepare the saltwater solution.
- The salt solution can be prepared using the microwave or the stove. When using the microwave, fill the microwave bowl with the water and heat for two minutes and stir in one tablespoon of salt. Repeat until all the salt has been stirred in.
- When using the stove, fill the pot with water and salt and bring to boil.
- Ask your preschooler to place their cutout leaves onto the tray, making sure that the leaves are well spaced out. Place the tray in a quiet place that is accessible to the preschoolers without being in the way.
- Once placed, carefully pour the saltwater solution over the cutout leaves and wait.
- As the water evaporates, encourage preschoolers to examine the leaves regularly so that they can watch the salt crystals grow. Once all the water has evaporated, place the cutouts on a paper towel to dry.
- When the leaves have dried completely, they should be covered in salt.
Young children often associate science with eruptions and fizzy experiments! This pumpkin experiment is a fun way to confirm your preschooler’s fun ideas about science as it has all the eruptions and color needed to keep them intrigued.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 small pumpkin
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of baking soda
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- 4 – 5 drops of dish soap
- 1– 2 cups of warm water
- 1 deep baking dish or plate
- Start by preparing the pumpkin. Cut the top of the pumpkin and have your preschooler hollow out the pumpkin. The removal of the seeds and the different textures of the pumpkin are great for sensory play.
- Once the pumpkin is hollow, place it in the deep baking dish and pour the warm water into it until the pumpkin is approximately three-quarters full.
- Next, add the dishwashing soap and water to the pumpkin and stir lightly.
- When you are ready for an eruption, add the vinegar and watch the Pumpkin-cano erupt!
At Stone Brook Academy we understand the importance of early childhood development and incorporate fun STEM exercises into our preschool curriculum. Contact us today to find out more about how we can support your child through their educational development.