5 Touch and feel STEM ideas for toddlers

It’s time to engage those senses, our toddlers love STEM and getting their hands stuck in is the best way to explore.

Some children will love to dive straight in and get messy, while others will need a little more time to warm up, try to make it accessible by providing tools (like a spoon!) that they can use until they feel ready to explore with their hands.

Rice Filling station

Fill a tray with rice and a range of cups, scoops, spoons, jugs, sieves etc…let your child explore!

This is a great introduction to learning about volume and capacity, handling tools, developing fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. You could ask them what they notice about how the rice falls or encourage them to count how many scoops they need to fill a container.

Squishy bag

Fill a sealable sandwich bag with water, pom poms, googly eyes, small pieces of pipecleaner, beads. Then seal up the bag, tape it to the table and let your Explorer poke, prod and squish.

Encourage them to tell you how it feels, talk about the different objects or try some counting.


This fascinating slimy mixture of water and cornflour (1 cup water to 2 cups of cornflour) is just delightful and fun for your Explorer! Ask them to help you do the mixing, talk about the changes you see and how it feels to stir the mixture. What happens if you add too much water? Too little water? How does it feel?

Guess the object

Grab a collection of different textured materials/ objects e.g. fruit, rocks, leaves, sticks, toys etc and pop them into a canvas bag. Ask your Explorer to pop their hand inside and feel the object, ask them to imagine what it could be. Did they guess it?

Textures collage

Go outside and explore your local environment, collect and gather as many different materials as you can (leaves, sticks, feathers, stones etc), talk about how they feel, count them, talk about which is heavier or lighter. Bring them back indoors and create your own textures collage or add them to a Textures wall, created by taping sticky back plastic to a wall or window and add your materials over time.

For more STEM in the early years ideas and inspiration, join The Awe and Wonder Academy!

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