S.T.E.A.M. Materials & Tool List

This week I led a STEAM workshop for the regional Head Start teachers. S.T.E.A.M. activities can be offered throughout the classroom. Often we think of just the block, math, or science center but the focus of this training was STEAM at the Writing Center or Art Center. Our objective was explore how to stock the classroom writing center & art center for deep engaged play. I thought I would share here on the blog the list of materials and tools that we felt could foster STEAM learning for preschoolers!

STEAM ~ why add the A to STEM?

  • Art – putting creativity back into the curriculum for ALL children
  • Art = process oriented, not product focused (limit craft projects)
  • Open ended, child-led, no specific goal in mind
  • Self-expression and Communication are both fostered when children get to tinker and explore with materials
  • Tools build fine motor skills, children gain confidence, and become more independent when they learn how to use tools

Consider printing these lists out and keeping them on a clipboard in your storage area. Write notes about the materials that work best in your classroom, and consider which materials to add to rotation to get more buy in…especially for the students who might not often go to the Writing Center or Art Center.

 

Materials – Recycled:

Remember to ask for donation from parents / staff / community

  • Bottle caps (might be sharp?)
  • Boxes
  • Brown paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard cereal and cracker boxes (cut out alphabet letters and use at writing center)
  • Cards, envelopes, mail, letterhead
  • CDs and cases
  • CLEAR STORAGE BINS – shoe box sized or sweater box (important you can see into storage bins, and the bin limits the amount you will store)
  • corrugated cardboard cut into shapes – add slits so you can build with them
  • Dryer lint
  • Egg cartons
  • Envelopes – find a card store willing to donate?
  • Fabric swatches
  • Floor scraps
  • Food containers with lids – well cleaned
  • Milk cartons – well washed
  • Milk jug lids
  • Newspaper
  • Packing materials
  • Packing materials – biodegradable packing peanuts
  • Paint sticks
  • Paint swatches
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Picture frames
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Scrap paper
  • Shoe boxes
  • Smaller pieces of fabric
  • Spools from thread
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Wool (the colored kind used for felting)
  • Yarn – small balls are often given away by those who knit
  • Yarn in a Box – shoe box, put small yarn balls inside, string the yarn through hole
  • Yogurt containers, lids

  

Materials – Nature Art:

  • Acorns
  • Tree bark
  • Rocks
  • Leaves
  • Sticks and twigs
  • Pine cones
  • Tree cookies
  • Bark

 Materials – Purchased:

Traditional Writing Center Materials – general materials to start the year with:

Wooden tape dispenser with colorful tape = Top Pick!

Colored masking tape or painters tape

Clear Scotch tape on a dispenser

Paper of various sizes and colors – keep it organized and tidy

Pre-folded blank cards (made from card stock or construction paper)

Mini books – made by folding paper and stapling like a book

Envelopes that fit the size of cards available

Hole Punch

Kid scissors

Markers or crayons

Glue stick

White glue

Name cards (on index cards write the names of family and friends for the children to copy)

Stickers – themed or alphabet or high interest topics

Googly eyes

Eye ball stickers – Discount School Supply – Top Pick! J

Word wall (write down holiday words that children might like to copy: Merry Christmas/ To:  From:  / Love)

 

Writing tools – keep rotating your offerings to keep it interesting!

  • Crayons – large fat crayons peeled for doing rubbings
  • Crayola – worth the investment to get the best, try offering different kinds of crayons to keep it interested – various sizes, shapes, sparkly, neon, etc.
  • Used crayons – save up the scraps and melt to make crayon cakes
  • Markers – Crayola washable in both thin and thick, short
  • Permanent Sharpie Markers (adult supervision and clear directions)
  • Pencils – thick to begin, then traditional. Avoid cheap pencils with plastic wrap that jams pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Twistable crayons

 

Materials or tools to add to keep the Writing Center interesting:

 Card Stock – heavy weight paper that is more durable for collage and book making, I don’t leave this out at the writing center but offer it for certain projects

Collage Materials

Colored copy paper or construction paper – in seasonal colors

Craft sticks – show how to make stick puppets, picture frames

Curling ribbon

Cutting tray – cut paper strips from easel paper for kids to snip, then save for inexpensive collage filler

Decorative paper punches

Decorative scissors (“Crazy Scissors” is what my students call them)

Do-a-Dot markers (careful since these can stain)

Foam shapes (to glue on)

Gel pens on black paper

Gem stickers – Discount School Supply – adds bling to ornaments, cards

Gift tag stickers or Paper gift tags and string

Glitter (if you’re brave)

Glitter glue

Holiday scrap booking paper or wrapping paper

Holiday stickers

Paper lunch bags – make puppets, make ‘gift bags’

Photographs

Recycled cards from last year – cut out interesting pictures and collage

Recycled cards with hole punches on the edges & yarn to lace

Ribbon

Rubber stamps and ink pads

Stamp markers

Tissue paper (pre-cut into squares for younger children)

White crayons on dark blue or black paper

Materials for Art Center, Maker Space, Creation Station, etc.

  • Aleene’s or similar thick glue
  • Beads
  • beads that are connected together in lengths
  • Buttons
  • clean socks (for sock puppets)
  • decorative chain
  • fabric
  • fake flowers
  • fake fur
  • feathers
  • felt
  • foamies
  • Fuzzy stickes, formally called pipe cleaners – great for 3D creations in ECERS
  • gimp
  • glitter glue (or loose glitter for those brave teachers)
  • googly eyes
  • multi pack foam colored sponges (not scrubber sponges)
  • Multi temp glue sticks (large or mini) and glue guns {Adult use}
  • permanent markers
  • pom poms
  • popsicle sticks in various sizes – mini, regular, tongue depressor sized
  • rhinestones
  • ribbon/trim
  • sequins
  • sticky notes
  • Upholstery foam
  • upholstery foam
  • water based markers
  • wooden craft dowels, chop sticks, round rods
  • wooden pieces

 

Tools to foster STEAM:

  • Trays
  • Drying rack
  • Storage bin – like chip and dip container with lid
  • Scissors – kid safety, loop scissors, decorative design scrapbook type
  • Stapler (with supervision)
  • Tweezers
  • Stencils- store bought, made from large yogurt lids, cookie cutters for tracing
  • Cookie cutters – play dough, tracing, dip into paint and stamp
  • Rulers – get with easy to read numbers, inches only
  • Paper punches – check scrapbook section of Joann’s or Michael’s for deals
  • Hole punches
  • Rubber stamps and stamp pads
  • Sponges
  • Yarn in a Box (see above description)
  • Mirrors
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Magnets
  • Pippettes, turkey baster
  • Spin Art – salad spinner
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint scrapers of various styles

 

Thanks for visiting April’s Teaching Tree blog! 

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