Thanksgiving is around the corner, and we have a fantastic Thanksgiving preschool STEM activity to add holiday cheer to your classroom or home. Our Build-a-Fence STEM challenge is a great way to engage your little learners in a fun and educational project. It’s designed to boost their fine motor skills while building simple engineering and problem-solving skills. This is one of many fun ways to explore a very preschool Thanksgiving!
Build-a-Fence STEM Challenge
The idea is to create a tray with fine motor building materials that encourage building and exploring a bit of engineering. Kids attach a popsicle stick to the back of their turkey and use the building materials to construct a fence around the turkey or flock of turkeys. This activity is perfect for preschoolers just beginning to develop problem-solving skills!
Preschool STEAM Benefits
Building a fence activity in a preschool setting can be a valuable way to incorporate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) skills into early childhood education. Here’s how such an activity can contribute to the development of these skills:
Observation: Children can observe the materials provided for building the fence, such as different types of blocks, connectors, or even natural materials like sticks or cardboard. They can explore the properties of these materials and learn about their characteristics.
Cause and Effect: As children experiment with building the fence, they can experience cause-and-effect relationships. For example, they might learn that a certain arrangement of blocks provides more stability or that using certain materials is better for creating a sturdy structure.
Tool Use: Depending on the materials used, kids may be introduced to simple tools like connectors, clips, or other fasteners. This teaches them basic technological concepts and tool use.
Note: Feel free to add your own materials to our suggested list based on the abilities of your kids or students!
Problem Solving: Building a fence requires problem-solving skills. Kids must figure out how to connect different pieces, create stability, and build a standing structure. This encourages critical thinking and creativity.
Spatial Awareness: Building a fence involves spatial awareness as kids consider the arrangement and placement of materials to construct a coherent structure.
Creativity: Kids can express their creativity by designing the fence in various ways. They might incorporate artistic elements by adding colors, patterns, or decorations to their structure.
Fine Motor Skills: Handling and connecting different building materials helps improve fine motor skills, an essential aspect of artistic expression.
Measurement: Depending on the nature of the fence-building activity, children might need to measure and compare lengths of materials. This introduces basic mathematical concepts related to measurement.
Shapes and Patterns: Building activities often involve arranging shapes and creating patterns, contributing to early math skills development.
Free Printable Preschool STEM Activity
How to Make a Build-a-Fence Activity
Note: This is a fun activity to use any time during the year just by changing up the characters you add!
- Laminating Sheets (optional)
- Laminator (optional)
- Turkey Printable
- Playdough (tons of free printable playdough mats)
- Craft Sticks (long and short)
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Foam Blocks
- Math Cubes
- Short Sticks
- Misc. Items from Your Collection
How to Prep
STEP 1: Create a tray with fine motor building materials and play dough. You can use store-bought play dough or try one of our favorite homemade playdough recipes!
>>Try our no-cook Thanksgiving playdough!
STEP 2: Attach a craft stick to the back of each turkey. This will be the fence post.
STEP 1: Use the building materials to create a fence for the turkeys.
STEP 2: Explore new ways to build a fence.
What’s the best age group for this activity?
This Thanksgiving STEM activity works best for preschoolers, mainly focusing on fine motor and sensory building skills! However, if older kids want to jump in… it’s also a fantastic STEM activity. Older kids may also enjoy these printable Thanksgiving STEM cards.
Want more preschool Thanksgiving activities? Check out our 25 Preschool Thanksgiving Activities!
How to Use This Build-a-Fence STEM Challenge
Whether a parent or teacher, you can supplement kids’ lesson plans with this fun STEM activity! Leave the materials set up on a separate table and watch the magic unfold.
What kinds of questions can you ask during the activity? Try our Questions for Reflection.
As a teacher, you can put kids in small groups and have them collaborate on this activity together. It’s a fun way to keep kids engaged while developing their fine motor and sensory skills!
Independent Work or Early finishers
Kids can work on this activity independently before they go on Thanksgiving vacation. It’s definitely an activity that kids will come back to over and over!
Kids can work on this on Thanksgiving Day to keep busy before dinner.
This preschool-level Thanksgiving pack is perfect for 3-to 6-year-olds in a preschool classroom, learning center, or home. Easy to set up and use with one kiddo or a classroom. This themed pack includes a book and supply list to help you easily set up the activities.
⭐️ Tip: Grab the Preschool Themes Growing Bundle and save money! ⭐️
- Flip Books
- Turkey STEM Challenge
- Corn Painting STEAM Activity
- Exploring Colors
- Writing Center
- Tracing Cards
- Board Game
- Cover Up Game
- Matching Game
- Playdough Mats