STEM activities for the 15-Month-Old

Block Play/Construction

STEM Concepts: Engineering (building, problem-solving), Math (counting, measuring, one-to-one correspondence)

Materials: Foam blocks, wooden blocks, alphabet blocks. Any kind of building block or something that stacks will work!

What to do: Dump out the blocks on the floor next to your child. Begin to build a tower, showing him that putting one block on top of the other makes the tower taller. Count each block as you add it to the tower, encouraging him to count with you. Place a block in his hand and encourage him to place it on top of your tower. Let him build on his own.

Suggest building a tower as tall as she is. If she can not stand on her own, have her build the tower while sitting. Help guide her by placing the blocks in front of her and getting the tower started.

If the tower falls down at any point, make sure to reassure your child and tell them that it is okay. Encourage him to try again by handing him a new block.

Language and Communication: Counting the blocks helps to teach early counting skills and introduce the idea of one-to-one correspondence. One to one correspondence is the understanding that each item represents a number and this can be reinforced by touching each block as you count it. Encourage him to count along to improve memorization and articulation.

Expand the activity: Collect recyclable materials such as bottles or cartons and have your child stack these instead of blocks. What kind of interesting structures can you make together?

When your child gets a little bit older, try to build a simple structure, such as a tower out of three blocks or a pyramid, then give your child the same blocks and see if he can replicate it. Try knocking yours down next and see if you child can replicate if from memory.

Try to describe a structure and see if you child can build it following your spoken directions. Such as, start with a blue block, then put a red block on top of that. This builds language, spatial skills, the ability to follow directions.

After building a tower, help your child build a house for a stuffed animal, action figure, or other toy.