Preschool STEM


Exploring and building with color

As an organization, GEMS firmly believes that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experiences should be grounded in play and fun, not direct instruction. To that end, we do not encourage screen time as the primary method of STEM exploration.

Web sites recommended here are suggested for joint play with an adult and child, and screen time of any kind should be monitored and supervised at all times. 

Screen Time –Guidelines for babies and toddlers

Making a Family Media Plan from Healthy Children –take the conflict out of screen time

Research and White Papers

Early STEM Learning and the Roles of Technologies  from EDC  –how technology can help or hinder early learning

STEM Starts Early –supporting early learning in STEM from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Closing the Gender Gap  A broadcast about STEM in the preschool classroom from CBS News

Toys and Future Careers  from the New Yorker focusing on the value of the new STEM toys on the market

Attitudes of Young Girls Toward Intelligence  from the New York Times–important research on self-efficacy

Benefits of Early Science Exposure from EdSource–supporting children and curiosity

Early STEM Matters from the Erikson Institute

Family Information and Resources

Watching the eclipse

As a parent, you are your child’s first and best teacher. You do not have to be a scientist or mathematician to help your child discover the world around her. All it takes is to be open to discovery and exploration.

Do not be taken in or tempted by the latest fad of “STEM” toys. If you help your daughter keep her senses open to the wonders of the world around her, she will develop and maintain an interest in STEM on her own.

And pay close attention to the roles in your family. Let your girls take the same risks as the boys, exploring and creating on their own. That attitude builds confidence and inner strength.

I want to be the sun when I grow up.

Alina, age 4

Great inexpensive supplies:

A magnifying glass–look at rocks, leaves, bugs, fabric, etc.

Blocks of many sizes–build structures and test them.

Paper and plastic cups–build and collect.

Popsicle sticks–build, test, stir, collect specimens, etc.

Straws–blow, build, bend, glue, etc.

Web Resources

Twenty Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers–a site with activities for little ones

LEGO® Activities for STEM — Shop for LEGO® at thrift stores or ask for donations.

PBS Parent Site  The activities are endless!

Sesame Street’s Little Discoverers  So much can be done without the screen. 

PNC’s Everyday Learning  STEM is all around us.

STEM Laboratory  Many of these are for sale, but use your imagination.

Little Bins for Little Hands  Some things for sale, but lots of fun ideas

Scholastic  has many great ideas and resources.

A Mighty Girl’s list of STEM books for preschool