Inside: If you are a preschool teacher we want to help you think outside of the box and share our favorite resources we’ve found for Preschool STEAM early education. These crazy cool STEAM Resources for Teachers are sure to help you teach outside of the box!
As a teacher, I’m here to share with you all of our favorite STEAM Resources for teachers. We’ll be thinking outside of the box and not your typical “run-to” resources. If you want to skip to the end and just see our recommendations feel free too…we just wanted to cover our bases first…
Behind every teacher there is a life long learner.
At the same time…
Behind every life long learner there is a teacher.
As a teacher, this is where your roll and influence as a teacher are vital and important….before we jump into a vast list of Preschool STEAM Activities and resources for you to check out, I’d like chat for a minute with you about my philosophy in teaching STEAM to my students.
Table of Contents
My philosophy as a STEAM teacher is to guide my students to thought, creativity and using their imaginations. In doing that, my job as a teacher, is to do my part with research and finding compelling resources. I’d love to guide you through my thought process here in the beginning .
1- Think Outside of the Box: When you are searching for resources or information don’t go directly to your topic of choice. For example in my engineering class we are designing a vintage based go-kart and when I am looking for resources to teach my students the concept of gear ratios within this said go-kart. I didn’t run to a book all about gears nor did I look for a youtube video around gear ratios. Rather the resource I used was a hands on project of taking apart the gear box of a riding lawnmower that had been donated to our class!
The students then were able to…
- visually see the gear types
- discuss the ratios
- identify levers
Now as a teacher, I felt we had a successful learning process through hands on, visual aids and discussion. That’s what I consider a WIN!
2- Connect Various Topics: For instance, pull in other ways you can teach your students around the idea of your big topic of choice. The other day I had my preschooler, little Miss E, with me and we were trying to teach her out to use scissors. So our topic was motor skills with using scissors…I wanted to incorporate more into this and make it fun. The conversation came up about different shapes as we were cutting on her construction paper – so we talked a little about “math using shapes”. I wanted to connect this in her mind with something she could relate to so with learning to use scissors, talking about shapes and cutting out diamonds, circles, triangles, squares etc…that led us into making paper snowflakes.
I know this seems easy but in the preschool realm you need to think simple to connect it in their minds and to connect various topics for the big picture. Steam in early education is so vital and it’s baby steps to enhance their cognitive skills…to one day lead to being able to build a go-kart and learn about gear ratios and levers.
3- Collaborating: Are there other classes/teachers you can collaborate with? Again this is taking us back to step #1. Think outside of the box. No you may not collaborate with another preschool teacher incorporating STEAM into their curriculum, but what about fifth graders that are learning about the water cycle? How could you use this class to help your young learners? Could your preschoolers make a rain gauge…all while having the fifth graders come to your classroom, help design and build then to demonstrate how they work to collect information.
Collaborating is an important element in the learning process because it involves more than one subject, more than one teacher, more than one student and more than one project – creating an ultimate WIN for a STEAM activity and adventure with your preschoolers.
The STEAM Process:
This is such a key to truly teaching STEAM….it’s the process and cycle of your whole activity.
What is the process of STEAM?
It’s all about the 5 steps…
So here is an example broken down for you…I am teaching our preschooler a simple boat challenge, in the context of constructing something that floats and holds toy animals. Here is the process.
- Investigate: Take a look at your materials, ask questions and test. Does this Float? Yes or no? which leads to
- Discover: At this stage you have a list of items that float and items that do not, based upon their material properties (Science connection). Not that you need to explain the connection at this point, but that you are guiding them to observe the differences in the material world around them.
- Connect: Can be made in a number of ways, but try to relate it to some memory that they may have, a day at the lake, Papa’s fishing boat, or in our case a Sunday School story of Noah’s Ark.
- Create: This is sometimes the hardest step to watch as a teacher, because we want to see success on the first try, but remember, building something that floats is not the end goal. Let them try and create on their own. You may have to help with some construction steps, but encourage the result to be their plan or idea.
- Reflect: Here is were you get to discuss your observations. This worked Why? or what caused a leak? Always try to give time to see if they could try again and do it better.
If you can break down these five areas for every activity in your mind as the teacher to help your child or student do each of these steps your process for STEAM will be much more successful.
Why is STEAM so important in Early Education?
If you are asking yourself why STEAM is so important in early education or….what is STEM or STEAM Activities- hop over to this recommended read first (Everything You Need to Know About STEAM) so you can get a better feel for the buzz word that’s happening our education circles. It’s a quick read but I highly recommend it so you’ll be on the same page as we continue through these ideas.
STEAM and Sensory Skills Together:
One very interesting conversation I just had recently with my sister (who by the way home schools her children and is far ahead of me in this game) was all about sensory skills and the connection with STEM education or STEAM education. An interesting article that I highly recommend glancing at is an article over at Toy Room. Here they really break down each area of sensory and how developing these in a young child will ultimately create better STEM or STEAM learners down the road.
Sensory Skills are the areas of seeing, smelling, touching, tasting and hearing…through research showing that sensory play builds nerve connection in the brain which leads to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning. Understanding the enrichment of your preschool curriculum with STEAM for preschoolers is vital and this is a good quick read –> here.
You have sensory play that encourages:
Gross Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skills
Memory and Cognitive Skills
STEM Skills – Stem or Steam activities will engage students and equip them with critical thinking, problem solving, creative and collaborative skills, which ultimately establishes connections between the the everyday life which leads into skills to further their careers down the road.
STEAM Resources for Teachers
Now lets get into the fun stuff, right?
These are resources we have come across that are amazing and we really feel will help you in create a learning environment centered around the idea of STEM or STEAM.
STEAM Activities for Preschoolers:
You can see all of our resources for Preschool STEAM Activities we’ve done by clicking on the picture below. We have Science Experiments for preschoolers all the way to Engineering Marshmallow shapes and towers to building snowflakes.
STEAM Toys for Preschoolers:
Your little toddler is becoming more independent (I know that’s shocking news, right?) and wants to do a lot on his/her own. They are super inquisitive and want to know what is happening at the same time their creativity and imaginative play may astound you at times! As your toddler grows into a more of a 4 year old preschooler their social forms of behavior are developed which the child’s previous two years have already prepared it for. Now agreements are being made and conflicts are being solved. They love to figure out things, tinker might you say and let them go!
These toys are great for at home learning or in a classroom environment:
STEM or STEAM Apps for Preschoolers:
20 Teacher Approved Stem Apps – The Stem Laboratory
60 of the Best Steam Apps – We Are Teachers
Steam Apps for Kids – Sunshine and Hurricanes
STEAM Books for teachers of preschoolers:
Some of these activities/resources you see or read about you may have to adapt according to your age group. Keeping in mind we are going back to the top of here with thinking outside of the box. Keep these at arms reach in your library so you’ll always have resources at your fingertips to help you as teacher.
STEAM Classroom Must Haves
Every class room needs to be packed with inviting and engaging learning tools. Notice I said tools not toys (my husbands favorite quote in his classroom!). I’ll be continually adding to this list as my research and learning evolves, so if you have suggestions to add leave me a comment below and we’ll add it to the list! We’re all about helping one another to better our communities and enrich lives! Community over competition!
STEAM Games for Preschoolers
Our little 2 year olds, 3 year olds, 4 year olds and 5 year olds LOVE games. Even if they don’t quite catch the concepts or they are still learning to take turns…lets face it what better way to engage our little preschoolers in learning than an amazing and unique game. I’m not talking about Candy Land and that’s one of my favorite games, don’t get me wrong, but lets get something new into our curriculums and have fun!
Watch out for a few amazing coding games below…as well as the Puppy Up with balance skills! Awesome additions to any home or classroom.
STEAM Puzzles for Preschoolers
I know my little preschooler loves loves loves puzzles. Do you realize the depth of education in puzzles? Fine motor Skills, memory, colors, matching, using their minds to figure out a problem- problem solving skills when pieces don’t fit together, eye- hand coordination, visual-perceptual skills, develops attention, sorting and even listening skills if you are on the floor or at the table working with them and directing them!
Do you have any resources we can add? We’d love to mention your ideas and thoughts, just leave a comment below!
We are a husband and wife team, pairing our strengths together to teach our preschooler in the most fun and engaging way we possibly can. The mister is a high school educator at Northlake Christian school in Covington Louisiana and over the Innovation Center, which is all things STEAM. I am a SAHM that blogs pretty much everything we do in our little paradise, from what we eat, to where we travel to how we teach our little one. We hope you are inspired to incorporate STEAM into learning with your children.