This simple STEM building activity came from necessity. It’s getting to that time of the year when our time outside is limited by bad weather ( we still go out, just don’t stay out as long), and I am looking for new and frugal ways to engage my kids on long days. This idea came from nothing other than staring at my supplies and thinking ” I wonder if this will work?” and it did. Using corks and buttons to build with is fun, but add in some Velcro dots, and it’s even more fun. After playing, I realized how multi-sensory this STEM building activity really is with the texture of the Velcro both soft and spiky, the sound of it pulling apart, the hard buttons, and the softer corks. Did I mention we had a blast with them too? This was a fun way to work on STEM skills at the same time as being creative and engaged.
- Gather your materials. You will need a board or shoe box lid, some self-adhesive Velcro dots, big craft buttons, and corks.
- Start by putting Velcro dots on the shoe box lid; I only gave her hook dots. I like using a lid like this so that any corks that fall don’t roll too far away and create frustration. Peeling the stickers off and placing them on the lid is fantastic for fine motor development.
- Press them on well.
- While she did that I put them on buttons and corks. I put one hook and one loop dot on each cork and some buttons got one of each , some just got loop dots. Ideally try to give it 24 hours before playing after putting the dots on. If your child is insistent as mine was ( what 2 year old wouldn’t be?) you can give them only a few and then return to the rest after 24 hours when the adhesive is at it’s strongest. In my experience none of the dots came off the buttons at all even right after popping it on. The natural corks didn’t fare as well, they stuck fine but when we went to reposition a handful came off.
- Play ( now or later).
- Don’t they look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book?
- She loved the buttons! This is such a fun STEM building activity and children of all ages love it.
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If you aren’t a DIY type, check out this hammering set from Haba. Kids love it, and it’s great for developing all kinds of STEM and spatial skills. Find it here.
Books About Building
Building a House by Byron Barton is a no-frills look at how homes are built. The bright colors and concise wording is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers. I love that there is writing on one page and illustrations on the other, makes it super easy to show children the pictures as well as for them to see you follow the text with your finger! My son started enjoying this book well before age 2 and still grabs it for me to read at three and a half, although seems to yearn for more details than this simple book provides.
Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant, at 2 he enjoyed reading it, as well as counting the workers and trucks on each page. Now at almost 4, he will still grab it and read it to his imaginary friend Sammy who “can’t read yet.” All in all, it’s been well-loved over the years!
Want more preschool STEM activities?
Check out these simple outdoor STEM activities you can do today! They are perfect for preschoolers.