Child painting on a paper plate

Fun with STEAM

| Burlington County Library

We often associate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) with cardboard tubes and glitter. While that makes sense, we think it’s far too limiting. STEAM can be applied to so much more!

The STEAM movement began with a push to bring back some of the basics that kids were missing. It was a chance to spark interest in the various STEAM fields, and research has shown that, often, children introduced to these concepts early choose related career paths in high school or college. Done well, STEAM incorporates families into the activity, and not just the children but the adults too.

Interested in exploring some fun STEAM family activities at home? You may want to follow some basic guidelines, such as keeping your activity open-ended. There isn’t a right or wrong way to complete your activity, nor does there have to be a specific objective. Choose your goal, but you may find that it changes as your activity develops. Be flexible enough to let your child guide you in the direction they feel the project is headed. Another option is to incorporate STEAM into everyday activities.  Are you making a grocery list? Work in a math example of how much money you will need or the change you anticipate. When walking, estimate the number of steps you might need to get to the next corner and then see how close you are. Engineering-based concepts can be as easy as collecting sticks to make shapes on the ground.  Find out who can come up with the most accurate or most original shape.

Remember, lots of daily activities can be turned into a few minutes of STEAM fun.  The key is to think outside the box. Like so many things in life, sometimes the best memories are found in the strangest of places.

Activity Ideas for Different Ages


  • Pattern necklaces with beads or pasta and yarn
  • Paper chains
  • Playdough (You can find homemade recipes that use basic ingredients all over the internet.)
  • Rulers and tape measures (Kids love to measure things.)
  • Building a tower with cups or blocks
  • Technology (Appropriate sites can be found here.)

School age:

  • Paper airplanes
  • Marshmallow towers with toothpicks. (You can also use gummies.)
  • Designs using Q-tips (See who can create the most elaborate snowflake.)
  • Board game (Let the child be the banker.)
  • Card houses
  • Card games
  • Technology (try some of these sites)

Any age:

  • Using magnifying glasses
  • Coloring
  • Baking
Audience: Kids Family Babies & Toddlers