Planning Steam Stations
In my continuing efforts to be more organized in our pre-schooling approach, I’ve started setting up our STEAM stations at the beginning of the week.
I am fortunate to have a house with enough space to set up some stations at the beginning of the week without tripping over them. If I was in a smaller space, I would probably have a bin where I would gather the materials and set them out each morning.
Obviously there are some elements that we need to wait to add until we are actually enjoying the activity. Things like ice and water for example, or any fresh fruits, etc.
A Week’s Worth of STEAM Learning
When I organized this on a daily basis Miss M was very engaged with each activity as she, like most toddlers I’m sure, is a very hands on learner. However, it’s been very eye opening for me as a mom to see what she gravitates towards when these stations are out all week for her to continue to interact with.
Also, when we moved on the next day to a new activity, she didn’t have the opportunity to interact with the previous day’s station. I know that there are many times that I find activities easier on the 2nd or 3rd try. Allowing me to grow not only more competent, but more confident.
I didn’t realize at the time that I wasn’t giving her that option to grow.
Striving for a Flexible Routine
While these are always available for her to play with throughout the day, I do have a structured STEAM play time built into our schedule. This is the time that I fill any water containers, put out ice and fresh fruit, etc.
During this time I always specifically introduce and talk about the STEAM station that directly relates to our day and we try it together. After that though, she is welcome to drift through the different stations at her own pace and interest regardless of what day they are on the schedule.
While there are many great resources for STEAM learning nowadays, this is still one of my favorite aspects of Mother Goose Time. Not only do I get concise directions on set up and guiding a wide variety of STEAM activities, but they are all tied into the learning theme.
Supporting the Weekly Theme
As we have gotten more structured in what learning activities I’m presenting, I definitely see her retention and understanding growing by leaps and bounds. When I was organizing on my own, we were all over the place.
One day we’d be talking about the letter C and Cats and Cookies and Cheetah’s, the next day about Rain Forests and Rabbits.
Now, I watch as I introduce polar bears and penguins one day. The next day we built igloos and watched Ice melt at the STEAM stations. Suddenly she was like hey, this is where the polar bears and penguins live.
Weekly Steam Stations Example
Here is an example week of STEAM stations from our Life in the Arctic Module.
We explored Ice. The way it melts, how fast it melts and how it feels. She even went and got a glass of water to see if it all changed the way it melted in water.
We played arctic dress up with our bear and dog. Talking about what kind of clothes you need in the winter and how people that live in the arctic dress to stay warm.
Later we built igloo’s with our marshmallow’s. Granted, her igloo was not too stable, but apparently good enough to eat.
Then we created our dog sled. We tried to get our dog to pull it, but she wasn’t really into that.
I have saved all of my Teacher’s Guides. When we are between curriculum’s, or having a rainy day with no school, I’ll look at the STEAM stations and set up a weeks worth for her. That always engages her and keeps her occupied for quite some time.
We’ve also been known to set out STEAM stations for friends when they come over to play.
If you are considering a Preschool Curriculum, I can’t recommend Mother Goose Time enough. We love it here at our house.
Looking for some example days? Check out our day in the Rainforest Theme learning about hummingbirds.
How do you support STEAM learning? Are you using a guidebook, or creating on your own?