STEM activities are the key to my heart. It all started when I was doing my student teaching and I had to teach a unit on electricity. I had no idea how electricity works by the way, but I knew that I was going to include some awesome hands-on activities so that I could super impressed my supervisor. So, I did my research and sure enough I did do some awesome hands-on activities and then I completely fell in love with hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, and math. My final student teaching experience completely changed who I am as a teacher.
So today with all that said we’re bringing in some more STEM activities and this activity will have your preschoolers focus on engineering and measuring the weight of a material. We will be creating a balance or a DIY scale to measure the weight of our animals.

Lil’ Explorers Focus Skills


  • Describe and compare objects using general measurements such as heavy, light, big, small, short, tall, long, always, never


  • Construct models to represent their imagination and objects in the world
  • Build using a variety of materials in both conventional and unconventional ways
  • Use tools with appropriate safety and purpose
  • Engage in problem solving activities


  • Pose “what” and “why” questions about their surroundings
  • Make predictions and perform experiments

Required Materials

*Affiliate Link


*Paper Cups

*Farm Animals



*Hole Punch

Step #1
Use your hole punch to punch two holes across from one another in the top of a paper cup.
Step #2
Thread a piece of yarn through the holes of one cup and tie the yarn shut.
Do this for both cups.
Step #3
Hang the cups from the sides of the hanger.
Step #4

Hang the hanger from a doorknob.

Step #5

Experiment with your Lil’:

  • Ask, “which animal do you think is heavier, the pig or the cow?”
  • Place the pig in one cup and the cow in the other cup
  • Note that the cup that hangs lower is heavier.

Continue this process by comparing various animals.

Teacher Tip

Some of our animals were not noticeably different in weight, so I changed my questioning to, “Can you make the right side heavier than the left,” and she would add 3 or 4 animals to the right side.

Also, allow your preschooler some free play with the DIY scale so that they can manipulate it. This is great problem solving!

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