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Magnetic Tile STEM CHALLENGE | A Play-based Activity for Preschoolers and Early Childhood Classrooms

Updated: Feb 27

Grab those magnetic tiles and try this fun, play-based STEM / STEAM activity for Preschool, Pre-K and Kindergarten!

Today, I want to share a creative STEM activity that kept my kids busy for hours! Set up was as simple as could be... I grabbed our bin of magnetic tiles and a ping-pong ball. I challenged them to create a "marble run" down our stairs. The goal was for them to build a path that their ping pong ball could travel down, navigating turns, twists, and drops, all the way to the bottom.

I loved watching my kids tackle this challenge. They were so into it! They continuously problem-solved and adjusted their path as they progressed through the activity.

It took persistence to accomplish, but their excited shouts and beaming smiles were awesome to see as the ball finally dropped into their homemade trap at the bottom of the stairs.

Why this STEAM activity is awesome for little ones...

  • Encourages Problem-Solving: As they work to get the ping pong ball down the stairs, they strategize and develop ideas as they go. This hands-on trial and error is a fantastic way to develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

  • Boosts Persistence: It’s unlikely this will work on the first try, and that's a good thing! It teaches them to keep at it. Perseverance is a skill!

  • Fosters Creativity: From designing the path to figuring out how to incorporate twists and turns, this activity encourages all kinds of creative thinking!

  • Enhances Fine Motor Skills: Handling and connecting the magnetic tiles helps improve fine motor skills. As they manipulate the tiles to create their marble run, they're honing hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

  • Teaches Critical Thinking: This one is a crucial building block for developing young minds! As they explore cause-and-effect relationships, they are boosting their critical thinking skills!

  • Encourages Collaboration: When multiple children join in, they are sharing their ideas and developing solutions together. This builds cooperation and communication skills.

And while this adventure started in our home, I'm excited to see how my preschoolers will embrace this challenge next week. It'll be the perfect STEM / STEAM activity for my little ones in Pre-K. They'll share ideas, problem solve solutions, and think creatively. I can't wait to see what my little engineers come up with!


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