When planning activities, we love to find those that can be adapted depending on the child’s level. If you have a mixed-aged classroom, or if you are a parent with children of different ages, you are probably nodding your head. So, when we came up with our STEM playdough building challenge, we wanted it to work with both our toddlers and our preschoolers.
My co-teacher put together a super simple playdough activity that both age groups enjoyed, but in different ways. The best part is that all we needed were 3 materials that we already had on hand.
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STEM Playdough Building Challenge
Before I start this, I just have to get it out there that for quite awhile I was a bit timid about adding STEM to our preschool classroom. And for toddlers? Yep, it sort of intimidated me. And then I discovered that I was not alone.
When should we start STEM activities with children?
Students are incredibly active learners at 1, 2 and 3 years old, and we can start building their foundation in STEM as soon as they enter this world. (naturalstart.org)
What we used with this STEM playdough activity:
- Lego Duplo bricks
Setting up this activity:
Our playdough table seats 6, so we set out 6 balls of playdough, along with the straws and Duplos. We teachers wondered out loud how we could construct buildings with these materials.
We observed both the toddlers and preschoolers first poking straws into the playdough.
They also pressed the Duplos into the playdough, making prints.
Then, they noticed the straws fit into the holes on the bottoms of the Duplos. This fascinated them!
They then stuck them back into the playdough. They continued doing this until they had quite a few of what they called “towers”.
Our older preschoolers figured out to make balls out of the playdough and use these to connect the straws. Sometimes it worked, sometimes they needed more support.
We successfully found a STEM activity that could be adapted depending on the child’s level. It worked in our mixed-age setting.
AND it only required 3 items.
Let us know if you try this, and how it worked with the different ages!
Make sure to check out these ideas, too!