When families have pre-school age children they are often looking for good activities that involve learning through meaningful, play-filled activities that draw the children in and hopefully allow them to discover some interesting concepts in the process.  This is an age where I have often found myself quite selective with resources as I like things that are hands-on, creative and generate curiosity.  This is one of those resources!  

STEAM: PLAY & LEARN is written by Ana Dziengel who you may know from the popular Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math site https://babbledabbledo.com/.  I quite like Ana as she is friendly, approachable, has great, colour-filled videos and does amazing projects both with her own three children and in the camps that she runs.  Whether it be giant marble runs, potions of all sorts, how to make a dancer that rotates from a battery or that idea that will rock the Science Fair, Ana has all sorts of projects that will get your kids into STEM in creative ways!  We were going to try out one of the ideas in her book, but my pre-schooler was hooked and got into three and can’t wait to dig into the book again once school ends- so when a four year old can’t put it down, you know you have a winner!  

*Disclaimer:  I was THRILLED to receive a copy of the book for review as I have read Ana’s site for years.  This is not a sponsored post and nor do we use affiliate links.*


Where to get the book:


Chapters/ Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/steam-play-learn-20-fun/9781633225268-item.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/STEAM-Play-Learn-step-step/dp/1633225267/


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/STEAM-Play-Learn-step-step/dp/1633225267/

Activities That We Tried

1) Frozen Goop 

This was a HUGE hit!  I can’t wait to try this again in the summer holidays with a large group of kids!  I already went to Costco and bought 2 containers of corn starch.  This clever frozen twist on the classic corn starch water combination makes a non-newtonian goo that is absolutely fascinating for both adults and children alike to play with, particularly in the summer!  We popped the 3 primary colours in with a bit of food colouring as suggested in the book in muffin tins to explore colour mixing and the shape was great for stacking!  Add a few figurines (such a dragons) to extend the play (bulldozers, mermaids etc. would be great too) and this was a fabulous sensory experience!

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Frozen Goop!

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Frozen Goop!

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Frozen Goop!

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Frozen Goop!

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Frozen Goop!

2)  Pattern Projectors 

My youngest saw Ana’s live video of this and immediately wanted to make it!  My niece who lives 4 hours away in the mountains was watching the video simultaneously by chance and saw us comment and her mind was blown by the technology and coincidence!  This project combines both colour mixing and projection when you use it in a dark room with a flashlight or iPhone light.  Great beginner science project exploring light!  (P.S. She’s going to make one when she comes to visit!)

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Pattern Projector!

3)  Marble Race 

Our preschooler loves marble races of various types and there are two of them in the book.  We created this one and have already bought the supplies for the second one once school is done- I kid you not, he is so jazzed about this book!  This one takes a box lid and modelling clay to create an obstacle course of sorts for you maneuver your marble around in!

STEAM PLAY AND LEARN by Ana Dziengel: Marble Run!

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