STEM is a term that’s used to group together the closely connected disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. But it’s so much more than messing around with gadgets or having an affinity for numbers: STEM activities for kids are all about using creativity, collaboration and critical thinking to solve real-world problems. In Australian schools, STEM learning is an important focus as we continue to rely on technology for work and play. Through teaching STEM skills to kids, we hope to better equip them for the future and the challenges they’ll face in the 21st century.

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How to Play the Sticky Note Number Match Game

This fun activity is designed to help young kids develop their number sense. It’s beneficial for preschoolers to learn to recognise numbers instantly, and not just the written digits. In primary school, students spend a great deal of time playing with dice and dominoes to familiarise themselves with dot patterns and how numbers can be represented visually. 

This STEM activity for kids is brilliant because it’s physical and engaging while also being a learning experience. Mastering a number match activity can also help kids with their addition and subtraction skills later on. Developing number fluency – i.e. being able to solve problems quickly and manipulate numbers mentally – is crucial as kids progress in their maths learning.

STEM Activities for Kids: this fun STEM activity for preschoolers uses paper, post it notes and dot stickers.

What You'll Need

STEM Activities for Kids: Make a chart of sticker dots to represent numbers.

What To Do

Step 1: Draw 10 boxes, roughly the same size as your sticky notes, on a large sheet of paper, making sure to leave a gap between each one. Within each box, use the dot stickers to represent numbers 1-10 on the paper (you might like to copy the dot patterns you see on dice or dominoes). To make things extra challenging, don’t put the numbers in sequential order. You can also represent some numbers more than once if you like. 

Step 2: Using your scissors, cut strips of masking tape to attach the sheet of marked-up paper to your wall. Make sure the paper is hung at a height suitable for your child.

Step 3: For each number represented on your piece of paper, write a matching sticky note with the corresponding numeral on it. So, for example, write a ‘5’ on a sticky note to match with where you’ve placed five dot stickers.

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STEM Activities for Kids: create a fun scavenger hunt for kids to find the post it notes. 

Step 4: Hide these numbered sticky notes all over your house. Some good ideas for hiding places: inside shoes, stuck to books or favourite toys, inside drawers, or on the fridge.

STEM Activities for Kids: get your preschoolers to match the dots to the numbers on the post it notes.

Step 5: It’s time to play! Show your kids the sheet of paper covered in dot stickers and ask them to find the matching number sticky notes. Kids have to search the house, find the correct sticky note and stick it on top of the corresponding box of dot stickers.

Hot Tip:  You can modify this activity to suit older children in many ways. For an extra challenge, try switching to numbers 10-20. Or follow the steps above but swap the dot stickers and written numbers, so kids are hunting for sticky notes with dot stickers and matching them to a chart with numbers on instead. 

You could also try writing simple sums on your piece of paper – e.g. ‘2 + 3’ or ‘4 - 1’ – and get kids to hunt for the answer, written as a number on a sticky note. In fact, you can make it as age-appropriate as you like, how about some sticky note fun with algebra?

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