STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities compel preschoolers to use cross-disciplinary tools and critical thinking skills to solve a basic problem. By integrating STEM activities into normal daily routines, preschoolers can gain new knowledge that they can take with them beyond the classroom or home environment and apply to problems found in their everyday world. Come explore the FUN of Winter STEM with an Evergreen Tree Building Challenge designed just for preschoolers!
WINTER STEM ACTIVITY FOR PRESCHOOL: Evergreen Tree Building Challenge
Objective: To encourage preschoolers to use critical thinking skills and cross-disciplinary tools to gain new problem solving knowledge that can be applied to the everyday world.
STEM Skills Presented:
Science: Preschoolers will use skills within the scientific method to solve a basic challenge inquiry.
Technology: Preschoolers will watch a video of the life cycle of an evergreen tree.
Engineering: Preschoolers will engineer a basic Evergreen tree (Christmas tree) using simple supplies.
Math: Preschoolers will use mathematical skills (estimation, same/different, lines, patterns) to build the Evergreen tree and gain knowledge of mathematical relationships in the challenge.
Background Information for Parents and Teachers:
Christmas trees are conifers. A conifer is a needle-leaved tree that produces cones. Conifers are called EVERGREENS because when the needled leaves fall off, they are always being replaced with new green needles. The usual 6-8 foot Christmas tree can take 10 years or more to grow.
STEM INQUIRY: Preschoolers are asked to build a simple Evergreen tree using only the simple supplies below.
- Green Playdough
- Craft Sticks
- Stars or other decorations (optional)
The kids will ask HOW to build a tree. Try to answer their questions with open-ended feedback to allow them to use critical thinking tools to solve the problem independently. It is truly amazing to watch young kids creating, thinking, and learning through play.
Some of our own preschool designs:
Building Challenge Wrap-Up: Have the kids come together to share their creations. Invite the kids to explain why they decided to construct the tree in the manner they chose. If any of the kids made improvements to their initial designs, ask them to share why the improvements were necessary. In the photo above, one 4 year old decided to “stabilize” the tree with another outside craft stick. The reinforcement was a necessary improvement to allow the tree to stand independently. Show the kids the video below on the Life Cycle of an Evergreen tree and discuss the stages from seed to adult tree.
For playful learning with preschoolers this winter, see all the activity suggestions in the Christmas or Winter Thematic Units here on the blog. All units come with literacy, math, science, art and craft activities, foods/food crafts, pretend play, and large motor suggestions for FUN and learning all winter long!
For more STEM activities for WINTER with kids, please visit other great suggestions from the #TeachECE team below:
Snowball Catapult Alphabet Activity by Mom Inspired Life
Winter STEM Activity – Build a Snowflake by Fun-A-Day
Winter Inspired Tinker Tray by Still Playing School
Make a Peppermint Stick Straw (and Sip Fresh Orange Juice!)by Capri + 3
Gingerbread House Construction Ideas by The Educators’ Spin On IT