Exciting STEAM games for messy, active play

Take one tuff tray (or washing up bowl) for these hands–on ideas

Exciting STEAM ideas for messy, active play!
by Natalie Keeler

Making science and maths exciting is a surefire way to keep little ones interested. But how do teachers turn little-ones into mini-Einsteins? Do they have a cupboard full of fancy kit, or do they keep a store of play ideas that we can try at home?  

Believe it or not, it's often the latter. We speak to lots of teachers about the best way to bring STEAM subjects to life for small children, and we're huge supporters of teaching children through play.

Here's a collection of our best STEAM activities – all you need is a tuff tray, washing up bowl, or we used these colourful IKEA storage boxes.

Take your pick from sensory ideas, roarsome games and fun water play, plus arty activities that encourage little ones to express themselves.

We've included lots of learning prompts, too, so your child can ask questions, investigate, experiment and problem-solve as they play.

Giggly STEAM Magazine

You'll find lots more fun STEAM learning inside our new Giggly STEAM Magazine, which is packed with fun ways to create, design and build. Perfect for kids in reception or year 1! Pick up your copy now in most supermarkets.

Rather watch than read? Press play to see these ideas in action!

Make amazing art with shaving foam

Shaving foam art

This idea combines art and science in an exciting way – just use foam, paints and lolly sticks to create an amazing marble effect.

Learn how to make cool shaving foam art.

Brrr–illiant arctic water play

Arctic water play

Can your child balance Arctic animals on top of the icebergs? Try this engineering and science activity to find out!

Try this arctic tuff tray idea.

Messy monster mealtime

Monster tuff tray

Quick, feed the hungry mouths! This game is great for learning maths and for supporting your child's fine motor skills – just download our free monster printables to play.

Try our monster tuff tray game.

Funny foam pictures

Shaving foam sensory play

Who knew shaving foam had so many learning opportunities? Kids will love dolloping the foam onto their funny faces and animals, then wiping them clean again.

Try this shaving foam sensory play idea.

Busy fingers game

Busy fingers

This arty activity is ideal for getting little fingers moving. Create shapes with push pins, like spider's web or the first letter of your child's name.

Play our busy fingers game.

Fun fizzing colours experiment

Fizzing colours experiment

What happens when you combine food colouring, vinegar and baking soda? Try this awesome science idea to find out!

Try this fizzing colours experiment.