STEM Activities for the 21-Month-Old


Pom Poms!

STEM Concepts: Science (physical science), Math (patterns, spatial relationships, number sense)

Materials: Empty plastic wipes container and craft pom-poms of different shapes, sizes and colors. (You can add different material pom-poms for a bonus feature.)

What to do: Have your child place a specific shape, color, or size of pom-pom into the container at a time. Either have your child or you count the number of pom-poms as they place them into the container.

Language and Communication: Talk to your child about the colors, sizes, or textures.

Expand the Activity: Have your child open and close the container. When they open it they can dump the pom-poms back out. If you have a wipe container that doesn’t have rubber flaps to help the wipes stay fresh, then the child can shake the pom-poms out.


Counting Chain

STEM Concepts: Math (number sense and operations, patterns and classification, mathematical reasoning), Engineering (engineering)

Materials: Strips of different color construction paper, stapler, or tape.

What to do: This activity can be completed in one sitting or over the course of several days. Make a loop with a color of construction paper. Your child will then go find an item in your home of the same color as the paper. This could be a toy, pillow, container, or blanket. You can continue this by adding another chain link of a different color. Do one a day or do several in one day. If there is two chain pieces, then the child would find two things of that color.

Language and Communication: When adding chain links say things like: “That is 1 and the color blue. Can you find 1 blue thing in the room? That is 4 and the color is red. Can you find 4 red things in the house?”

Expand the Activity: Make a pattern with your color choices. Encourage your child to determine what color comes next. Help them by giving them two choices and they can pick one. For example, “Red, blue, green, red, blue and which one comes next? Blue or green?”


Find It Bag

STEM Concepts: Science (physical science), technology (simple tools), math (number sense and operation)

Materials: Large sealable bag, white (washable) paint, little flat shape gems (you can make shapes out of foam paper if desired) or trinkets (that won’t puncture the bag.)

What to do: Put the white paint into the bag and add the shape gems or trinkets. Seal the bag. Add tape for reinforcement if desired. Have your child slide the objects around the bag. They can squeeze the bag and explore. Have your child slide the different items around the bag and sorting them to different corners of the bag.

Language and Communication: You can say things like, “Move all of the red pieces to this corner. Move all of the circles to this corner.”

Expand the Activity: Count the number of a specific thing. For example, how many red shapes are there? How many red and blue things are there? Although your child won’t be adding for a few more years, this is a good introduction to the concept without actually needing to know