Preschool STEAM

StechEAM: Building Computational Thinking Skills in Preschool

For a recent preschool STEAM program, I focused on activities that build the computational thinking skills that form the foundations of future technological and digital literacy. This is a technology program that requires… absolutely NO “real” technology!!

Station #1 : Code Cooties Game

Supplies Needed

  • Painter’s Tape
  • “Cooties” (printed large on paper works fine)
  • Instructions (I posted mine on the board
  • A treasure box, flag, or other goal point
  • Directional stickers

Prep and Set-Up

  1. Make a grid on the floor using the painter’s tape. Mine was a 6 x 6 grid.
  2. Set the treasure box or goal point in one of the squares. You will probably move it a few times throughout the game.
  3. Set the cooties in different squares around the grid. Use more cooties to make it harder, or less to make it easier.
  4. Print directional stickers, or use mine, printed on Avery 5160 address labels.
  5. Print code worksheets or use mine (contact me!).

How to Play


The goal of the game is use your directions (back, forward, left, and right) to get, one square at a time, to the goal point. But…

  • You can’t touch the cooties.
  • The staff member gets to put you at your start point.
  • You can’t turn around or otherwise change the direction you are facing at your start point.
  • As you go along, put your stickers on your code sheet for every direction you take. How many directions (code lines) did it take you?

Station #2: Map Making

We are lucky enough to have a children’s garden in our library with lots of fun things in it. Map making is a great activity for spatial awareness and critical thinking. For our second, more passive, activity, we made maps of the children’s garden.

There are many ways you could do this activity, the simplest using crayons and paper. I decided to make mine a little more involved, by making “landmark” magnets of certain items in the garden and putting them on a cookie sheet with a blank piece of paper. This way, children could organize and adjust the landmarks, while drawing the paths.

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