Blog Archive

Blocks, Balance and Investigations

  “I think we need another cylinder on this side. Can you put that on for me? I will keep it balanced.”   Rowan and Parker are deeply engrossed in block play. Their investigations into balance, gravity, force, and cause and effect have led these four-year-old friends deep into the STEM zone!  “Do you want […]

Can You Measure Fun?

  “Saaliha, can you hold this side down for me?  I am trying to measure the sidewalk!  I have the longest tape measure!” We brought out the tape measures this week. There is nothing like a tool in the hands of young friends to get the juices flowing and the neurons firing. When children are […]

Tinkering with Nuts and Bolts

  “Hey Trey! Want to play hardware store?” asks Jamie. The hardware store that Jamie is referring to? It’s not really a store at all, but an area that we set up at our center to give children an opportunity to play with nuts, washers and bolts. The activity turned out to be a surprise […]

Investigating Inclines

  On an extremely cold morning, an extremely curious three-year-old named Jamison embarked on an impromptu investigation of math and science concepts in our block room. Jamison started the investigation with a small ramp and a single car. The fever caught on with Jamison’s fellow early STEM explorers, who began setting up ramps and obstacles […]

Fix-It Fun!

  “Miss Diann, I need a hammer! Look! Look! See? I need a hammer!” Three-year-old Jonathan—our “fix-it man”—is pointing to a loose wagon screw that needs his immediate attention. We turn the wagon on its side to take a closer look at the wheel. Yes! We definitely have a loose screw. “Do you need a hammer […]

Playground Physics

  “Noa, what are you doing?” questions Jose. “I’m giving this rock a swing!” giggles Noa as she embarks on her latest investigation into force and motion. “Are you sure that will work?” James asks. “I think the rock will fall off!” We all stop what we are doing to observe as Noa cautiously pulls […]

Finding STEM in a Ball of Clay

Two-year-old Eleanor squeals with delight: “I did it! I made a ball! Look, I made a ball!” Whether they are using homemade play dough, modeling clay or Play-Doh from a can, children can spend hours learning, playing and collaborating with that little ball of STEM magic.STEM play integrates science, technology, engineering and math learning while encouraging […]

Finding STEM in Piles of Dirt

  On a recent walk around the neighborhood, we stumble into a scientific gold mine: piles of sand, silt and clay that have not yet been graded and groomed into a baseball diamond.   “Look! What is that?” asks one child whose curiosity is clearly piqued.  “Can we play on those piles of dirt?” another […]

STEM Dolls for Character Play

We recently learned about Surprise Powerz STEM dolls, which can be used in early childhood settings to encourage young children—especially young girls—to engage in STEM play.   Research shows that preschool teachers often lack confidence in their ability to teach STEM topics—and some harbor gender-based assumptions about STEM learning. These attitudes and biases can be […]

Root Beer Float Investigations

“Can we make a concoction today?” asks Malhar, one of our budding scientists. It’s a hot Thursday afternoon and everyone is a little shagged from the heat—including me. A concoction sounds like a messy, energy-sapping endeavor, but Malhar is insistent. “Do you have any root beer?” he whispers to me after looking around to make […]