Whether the long, cold winter days keep you cozied up indoors or the promise of snowy fun draws you outside, there’s no better time than winter to explore STEAM!

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities are perfect for engaging the minds of little ones whether indoors or outdoors. Kiddos are question-asking machines. Those what, how and why questions are a natural launching pad for scientific inquiry and the beginnings of lifelong critical thinking, exploration and creative problem-solving. It’s not just for the future astrophysicists in the family—STEAM for little ones brings together a menagerie of early learning essentials: motor skills, literacy, rhythm & patterns, colors, numbers, vocabulary… the list goes on.

So in the interest of sparking some inquiry in your home this winter, I have a few activity ideas paired with books you can check out from your local library. Enjoy!

Stack the Cats
Gear up for some good ol’ fashioned counting activities. Look for cats, dogs or other animals around your neighborhood and count how many you see. Guess how many you will find while you’re out and about. You could even keep a tally each day as you run errands, walk the dog or just spend time together.

Activity: A great game to pair with this book is Animal Upon Animal, a stacking game that promotes fine motor skills and coordination.

Balance the Birds
Weigh different items around your house. Talk about heavy and light, more and less. Sneak in other opposites vocabulary if you want.

Activity: You can make your own scale using a clothing hanger or make a more elaborate model with older kids.

Raindrops Roll
A lovely rhyming picture book filled with detailed observations and stunning photographs—all about raindrops! Use this book to take an up-close look at the way water sticks to flora and fauna. 

Activity: Then start looking at the water near you. Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at drops outside or on the window. Talk about the way snow piles up on your roof or about how icicles form. Grab ice cubes out of the freezer to observe water in its solid form then watch as they melt into a liquid. Maybe boil some water next to watch the water evaporate and become a gas.

I See a Pattern Here
This book is a great introduction to the wide world of patterns. After reading, it’s hard not to find patterns everywhere around you. Look for natural patterns on pets or plants, or see if you can find man-made patterns in your own home. 

Activity: Make some patterns yourself with a simple beading activity. Try using fruity cereal and pipe cleaners for an extra-easy, extra-tasty bracelet.

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird
Birds are all-around us, and there’s so much to see! Snow on the ground is a great opportunity to search for bird footprints (or any animal prints, for that matter.) Listen for birdcalls and try to imitate them. What makes one bird call different from another bird?

Activity: Check out a JCPL Birding Backpack to explore even more.

Have some grade-A STEAM suggestions for us? Stop by! We LOVE to hear about your latest favorites! You can always surprise our librarians on chat with a recommendation too.