STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, is an educational approach that encourages creative and critical thinking skills to problem solve. With so much development taking place in the first five years, early childhood is the optimal time to introduce STEAM concepts.
Our teachers utilize hands-on learning experiences to reinforce STEAM concepts all year long; this hands-on learning doesn’t stop when summer rolls around. In fact, our Summer Safari program includes weekly STEAM investigations and hands-on sensory exploration to keep children learning throughout summer.
Many of the activities we do at Summer Safari are easy to recreate at home. Check out some of our favorite summer STEAM activities, all of which are budget-friendly and include materials you already have!
Unpoppable Bubble Fun!
This activity only requires homemade bubble solution, wands, and a bowl, making it a fun, spontaneous activity to try. As you’re blowing bubbles, ask your toddler or preschooler guiding questions, such as, “Are the bubbles popping? Why do you think they are not popping?”
To incorporate engineering concepts, use different household materials to design and build bubble wands! Try different supplies like pipe cleaners to see which works best.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of corn syrup
- 2 cups of regular strength dish soap
- Bubble wands
- Create the bubble solution in the bowl.
- Have a variety of bubble wands for you and your child to use.
- Begin blowing the bubbles.
Homemade Colored Bubbles
This bubble activity utilizes science, art, and math concepts. Allow your child to choose different colors for the bubbles. It’s a fun way to teach color mixing.
When you’re blowing bubbles, encourage your child to attempt to count how many bubbles there are or how long they last. Many toddlers will attempt to count at this age. They may also notice that some bubbles are bigger than others.
- 6 cups of water
- ¾ cup of corn syrup
- 2 cups of clear dish soap
- Food coloring of your choice
- Bubble wands
- In a large mixing bowl, pour 6 cups of hot water. (Keep hot water out of your child’s reach.)
- Add 2 cups of your clear soap to the bowl of water and stir well.
- Add ¾ cup of corn syrup to the soapy water and stir well. You will notice bubbles forming.
- If you plan on making multiple colors of bubbles, separate the mixture into small cups (see below). If you are doing one color, you can place food coloring directly into the large bowl.
- Add 3-5 drops of food coloring and stir well.
- Dip bubble wands into the solution and practice blowing to create bubbles.
Ball Art for Toddlers or Preschoolers
This activity works well for toddlers and preschoolers. Encourage children to shake the bin side to side, tilt, and have lots of fun creating a beautiful ball art picture. What colors do they see? What does the picture look like?
- Plastic bin
- Paper that will fit into the plastic bin
- A variety of textured balls
- Place the paper into the bottom of the plastic bin.
- Encourage children to pick the paint color that they would like to have on their paper.
- Place droplets of their color choice on the paper.
- Have children pick up a ball and drop it in the bin.
Slime is great for sensory play. You and your preschooler can use this as a science experiment. Try different variations of this recipe to achieve the right consistency. We call this activity “Ocean Slime” because of the blue and turquoise, but it’s easy to swap out different colors.
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of liquid glue
- ½ cup of liquid starch
- Liquid watercolors or food coloring
- Glitter (optional)
- Start by pouring the water and liquid glue into the bowl. Mix until combined.
- Add your liquid watercolor or food coloring to the glue-water mixture. (You can make a few batches and color one blue and one turquoise as an idea.)
- Add the glitter. (optional)
- Add the liquid starch and stir.
- Once the mixture begins to thicken you can knead it by hand.
- Check the consistency. It should be stretchy!
This is a great art activity to do with multiple preschoolers over a playdate. The more bubbles, the better! You can also find space in your home for the mural and make it a project that you add to over time.
- Black paper
- Circled objects
- Oil pastels
- Have your preschooler begin to trace the circled objects that you gathered on their paper. These will represent bubbles.
- Then provide the oil pastels to color. Encourage them to leave at least part of the bubble black to make it look transparent.
- Have your child write their name on the back of their paper.
- Begin to tape each child’s “bubble art” together to create a bubble mural at home. Have your child come up with a name for the art project!
Summer is the perfect time to keep learning, regardless of whether or not your child is enrolled in his or her early learning program over summer. There are lots of activities that are educational and fun! Try one of the STEAM activities above to keep your toddler or preschooler engaged throughout the summer. Don’t forget to tag us in your summer adventures on Instagram! We can’t wait to see what you and your child create!