STEAM for Families with Young Children

Posted on June 8, 2020

by Kaitlin Weiss

What is STEAM?

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. STEAM includes problem-solving, questioning, exploring the world around us, and the way things work. It can refer to the subjects individually or one or more working together.


How can STEAM be developed in children at an early age?

Children are naturally curious and you can build on that by developing their interest in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. You can help develop their STEAM skills through play and exploration and by talking, reading, singing, playing, writing, and drawing. STEAM can build lifelong creativity and you can incorporate it just about anytime, anywhere. We become better problem-solvers, learners, and develop real-life skills when learning through STEAM.


Tips for including STEAM with infants:

  • Observation is important in science. Talk about what you see and describe what your baby is looking at or pointing to. You can do this everywhere you go! For example, you could say: “Oh my, I see that red bike too! Look at the wheels going around! How many wheels does it have? 1, 2 wheels. Two wheels all together.”
  • Count, rhyme and sing together throughout your day. Use numbers as you go about your day together like in the example above. “One, two, buckle your shoe” is a simple song that you can sing. A repetitive song like “The Wheels on the Bus” helps babies learn patterns too!
  • Link words with actions. When you move your baby from one position or place to another say, “up, up, up” as you lift your baby from the changing table, crib or floor.


Tips for including STEAM with toddlers:

  • Explore sizes. Ask your child to compare the sizes of measuring cups when you are cooking. To describe each measuring cup use words like smallest, small, medium, big, bigger, and biggest.
  • What rolls? Spheres are round, three-dimensional shapes. Have your toddler look for a sphere and have them predict what would happen if it was dropped on the ground. Would it roll? Bounce? Spin? Break? If the sphere is not breakable, drop it, and check your prediction to see if it is correct.
  • Whole and half. Show your child a whole piece of fruit and cut it in half. Then say, “These two pieces are the same size. They’re called halves.”


Tips for including STEAM with preschoolers:

  • The eternal question, why? I’m sure you hear it all of the time from your child. When they ask “why?” questions, they are being scientists. You don’t always have to have the right answer to help your child learn about STEAM. You can say, “That’s a good question. How can we find out together?” This way you can discover new things and have fun.
  • Go on a shape hunt. There are shapes all around. The clock on your wall is round. How many circles can you find? “The window is a rectangle. Look, it has four sides and four corners. Let’s see how many rectangles we can find.” You can also draw a shape in the sand or dirt with a stick and see if your child would like to draw one too. You can practice making big circles and little ones, big triangles, and little ones.
  • Let’s build! Cardboard tubes, string, fabric, tape, and scissors are just a few everyday materials that your child could use to make/invent something. Let them get creative and work together to build, engineer, and problem solve! After you have finished, talk about why they built it the way they did and what tools made the build easier.


These are just a few ways that you can incorporate STEAM into your child’s life. If you would like more STEAM activities to do with your child check out the libraries events page:

We will be adding STEAM events to our calendar throughout the summer!

Kaitlin Weiss

Kaitlin Weiss

Kaitlin (Kaiti) worked as a K-5 Media Specialist at two elementary schools in Hammond for 13 years before she became a member of the Community Engagement Team. She enjoys storytimes with the babies, going out into the classroom to teach lessons, and creating fun programs for the community. When not reading a book you can find her spending time with her two nephews, family, and friends, traveling to new places, crafting, and binge watching TV shows.
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