Develop STEAM skills through play

Playing with your child can be a great way to help them develop the skills they need when they reach school.

Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) concepts have many roots in early childhood play activities, such as counting, building block towers, designing activities, and spending time in the natural world.

Helping your child hone these skills early gives them more confidence when they engage in STEAM learning in school. And STEAM learning can be fun and engaging for the whole family.

Here are some activity ideas to get you started:


  • Count with your baby. Whether you use blocks, cups, or fingers, you help your child gain early math skills through counting together.
  • Build with baby! Activities like stacking toys, doing puzzles, or lining up stuffed animals can help babies engage in simple design principles. All of these activities are examples of engineering.


  • Take your child on a nature walk. Walking is a great socially-distanced way to spend time together and explore our desert community. Encourage your child to collect small items along the way, like rocks, leaves or sticks. Making observations and sorting the materials your child discovers is a great way to encourage science learning, as it builds experience with making observations, organizing like items, and decision making.
  • Play with recycled materials! Creating new uses for old things, like making boxes into drums or spaceships, can help kids build their creativity and innovation. When kids experiment and imagine new uses for old things, they gain more confidence in problem-solving, design, and resourcefulness. And they are helping the earth at the same time!


  • Engage your child in learning STEAM concepts by cooking together. Skills like measuring, counting, mixing, and creating new recipes will help preschoolers gain more confidence and familiarity with science and math concepts. What a yummy way to learn new skills!
  • Start a garden! Growing plants from seeds can help kids learn more about the world around them and can be a great way to start conversations about food, oxygen, and energy. Taking care of a plant teaches kids about responsibility, and can be just plain fun! You can check out seeds from our Seed Library to get started.

-Mandy, Children's Team, Martha Cooper Library


Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play!

Play comes so naturally to children and is an essential element to lifelong success. When children play, they are practicing and perfecting early literacy and life skills!

Read more about early literacy and how you can make a difference in your child's life.