Whether you’re looking to keep brains busy on a school break, or for simple ways to learn at home, this collection of STEAM activities for kids is full of ideas! There are hours of easy to set up screen-free activities for kids!
Easy STEAM and STEM Activities
I originally published this post back in September 2016 as a resource for other stay at home moms. At the time I had two kids — the oldest in elementary school and the youngest was a toddler who was at home all day with me.
I put together a collection of indoor toddler activities to try ourselves and share with other moms looking to keep busy without relying on screen time.
Fast-forward to March 2020 and we now have three kids! And we’re also stuck at home while schools are closed.
Like many of you, I’m scrambling to figure out life as a new homeschool mom — or at least keep the kids busy while they are home from school!
I updated this list to include a wider range of STEAM activities and STEM activities for kids of many ages, from toddlers to early elementary. The activities are divided into categories, for easy navigating. If you see an activity you like, simply click on the link for the full tutorial!
Keep checking back, as I’ll update when I find new activities!
What is STEAM?
STEAM stands for:
The focus is encouraging kids to learn through their environment and build critical thinking skills. There is a big emphasis on learning through play, so these type of activities are perfect to do at home or a non-traditional school setting!
Encourage kids to explore the world around them, without leaving the house! These STEM activities for kids can be used for a variety of ages and are simple to set up!
Snowstorm in a Jar — A simple to set up science experiment to illustrate immiscible liquids and pressure.
Glowing Ice Cubes from Go Science Kids – An edible sensory science activity…and yes, the ice cubes really do glow! Cool!
Skittles Color Science — Explore colors with this exciting STEM activity that’s great for all ages! See it in action here:
Tree Activities from Every Star is Different – A nature-themed Montessori unit for tots along with free printables!
Felt Scrap Color Sorting from AppleGreen Cottage – A simple activity for learning colors and the perfect way to use leftover felt scraps.
Rainbow Color Wheel Matching — All you need is a paper plate and some clothespins and you can put together this clever game for exploring colors!
Play Dough Fossils — Learn how fossils work with this easy STEM activity that’s perfect for Pre-K and elementary aged kids!
Technology & Engineering
Easy Upcycled Catapult from Go Science Kids – Get outside and get stomping! A great way to burn energy!
Pool Noodle Engineering from Left Brain Craft Brain — Practice with pulleys and build fun contraptions with simple supplies!
Easy Set-Up Arts & Crafts Activities
These are some of our favorite simple crafts for kids from toddler age through early elementary. We looked for activities that used simple supplies so you can make them with what you have on hand.
Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets — A simple craft idea with supplies you probably already have at home! Kids will love to make AND play with their creature creations!
See how we made them here:
Sensory Puffy Paint from Play Based Parenting – This is an experience for all the senses! Mild kitchen spices provide a range of colors, fragrances, and textures.
Q-Tip Painting from Buggy & Buddy – No fancy or expensive art supplies needed!
Easy Fish Craft from the Natural Homeschool – This craft couldn’t be easier, and is so much fun to decorate!
Colorful Leaf Wreath from Mommy’s Bundle – Painting the leaves makes it a lovely Fall craft!
Homemade Glow in the Dark Paint — Learn how to create your own glow in the dark paint with this easy recipe!
Tape Resist Painting — Paper, paint sticks, and tape are all you need to create beautiful works of art!
Watch the step-by-step video here:
Felt Monster Craft — Click for the free pattern!
Telling Time & Time Management Skills — Our tried and true tricks for learning time management!
Add to 10 (from Busy Toddler) — Math is way more fun when it’s on the wall!
Math Building Card Game — Get the tutorial from Left Brain Craft Brain!
Ladybug Playdough Counting Mats — Get the printable from our friends at Fun with Mama!
BONUS 1: Language Activities
These language activities are tailored towards preschool and kindergarten aged children, with a focus on letter recognition and basic sight words.
Plus, they’re fun! When you make learning a game, kids want to do it!
Alphabet Maze from The Soccer Mom Blog – This is actually how I helped teach my younger brother his letters!
Foam Alphabet Letters from the Natural Homeschool – Soft and inviting to play with, these foam letters are great for a variety of activities for young learners!
Letter Hunt from Busy Toddler – This game incorporates letter recognition, a sensory experience, and early literacy awareness. Plus, it’s lots of fun!
Sight Words Egg Matching Game — Mix and match sight words with colorful eggs! Grab the free printable checklist too!
Watch our video demo here:
Slime Writing — Everything is more fun with slime! Kids can practice tracing letters on real slime, then fold it up to “erase” and practice again and again!
Watch how it’s done here:
BONUS 2: Fine Motor & Sensory Activities
Kids can learn through play too! These are also great activities for toddlers to keep them busy while older kids do more advanced activities.
Card Slot Drop from Busy Toddler – Kids seem to love getting out playing cards, but this activity will have them picking up the cards instead…and having a blast!
Scooping Pom Poms from Buggy & Buddy – So simple, but such a hit! My daughter loves playing measuring spoons!
Sticker Line Up from Busy Toddler – Let’s be real…kids love stickers…and they love sticking them everywhere! This activity gives them a GOOD place to put all their stickers!
Imaginative Play with Felt from Buggy & Buddy – Use felt to create play mats for your child’s favorite toys. The possibilities are endless!
Bubble Wrap Road from Sunny Day Family – Driving toy cars over noisy bubbly wrap…need I say more? A guaranteed hit!
Plastic Cup Towers from Apple Green Cottage – Another one of my toddler’s favorite toys and one that we have plenty of around the house!
BIG Collections of STEAM Activities for Kids
These links will take you to some awesome round-ups of themed activities:
10 Edible Sensory Play Recipes from the Natural Homeschool – Toddlers still tend to stick almost everything in their mouths, but these recipes are worry-free! And they provide hours of entertainment!
30 Nature Crafts from Like a Bubbling Brook – THIRTY Stunning crafts that incorporate natural and found materials.
25 Activities to get Your Kids Moving from the Soccer Mom Blog – Lots of physical games and things to do to encourage your little ones to be active.
Don’t forget, it’s hard to learn on an empty tummy!
I don’t know about you, but my kids are hungry alllll day long (at least they say they are!)
Making time for a snack keeps tummies full and their brains working at full capacity! Here are some of our favorite nutritious snacks for kids that you can make at home:
- Honey Nut Cheerio Balls
- 2-Ingredient homemade fruit roll-ups
- Green juice gummy bears
- Strawberry ladybugs
- Chocolate coconut protein balls
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Under the Sea Fruit & Raisin Snacks
We also like to keep organic applesauce (like Sprout pouches) on hand for a quick no-prep snack! These are especially a hit with our toddler!
While I was in Target last time, I did a little comparison shopping. Here’s what was listed on another popular brand:
- Mango Puree (Mango Puree Concentrate, Water)
- Strawberry Puree
- Ascorbic Acid
- Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate
If I can’t pronounce it, I’m skeptical. Plus, there were a lot of fillers and concentrates in some of the other pouches too. I love that the flavor listed on the front of Sprout pouches are the same as the ingredients on the back…no surprises!
Have you tried the new Sprout Organic Pouches yet? What is your toddler’s favorite flavor?
You might also like: