I love to research and try out STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities that are applicable for toddlers. And at the same time, I like to use these ideas as learning materials for my little boy. Recognizing colors, numbers, and letters are always included in my weekly checklist for my little one’s playtime. His attention span is a little bit longer as compared to when he just turned 2 years old, though not long enough to formally teach him. Therefore, these STEAM learning activities, using cardboard tube rolls, are incorporated daily little by little. This also depends in his interest on a particular activity. Cardboard tube rolls can be a toilet paper roll, gift wrap roll or a paper towel roll. Alright, so here are some simple yet fun DIY toys that both moms and toddlers will enjoy!

6-IN-1 STEAM Activities with Cardboard Rolls

All these six STEAM activities (plus bonus idea) were super easy to do since only 10 small tube rolls are needed. These small tubes are cut from paper towel roll and were covered with construction papers.  Activities were done in order as presented below to use the same set of tissue paper rolls.

1. Color matching plus balancing (science)

First, form the tube rolls into an oval shape. Then help toddlers to look for the proper positioning of the crayons in the tube rolls. Crayons are heavier than the tube rolls, therefore, if it is not placed sideways, both will fall down together. Let your child also identify the colors before or while he is matching the crayons to the rolls.

2. Color recognition plus pyramid (engineering)

Building a tower or pyramid is the most classical engineering activity for kids. Commerical toys such as wooden blocks, legos, duplo and bristle blocks are often used. But there are also a lot of non-conventional materials that can utilized such as tissue paper rolls. This idea also supports kids to improve their color recognition skill.

3. Color matching plus parking garage (engineering)

Same as in # 2, this is a great engineering activity but without using a paper in between the rolls. Just turn these tube rolls sideways and build a pyramid. Kids can do color matching game as well with their toys such as small trains or cars.

Bonus: Fine Motor Skills

Before writing any numbers or letters in the tube rolls, try to let your kids insert these cardboards into a kitchen paper holder. This activity can help support your toddler’s development of fine motor skills.

4. Counting plus pyramid (engineering)

Use a marker to write the numbers in front of the tissue paper rolls and use them for counting or number recognition. Additionally, a pyramid can be engineered once again.

5. Letter recognition plus pyramid (engineering)

At the back of the tissue paper roll, write some  letters for letter recognition game and again… built a pyramid.

6. Bowling time! (technology)

And lastly, after all the pyramid building, bring out a small ball and play a bowling!

And that wraps up the super simple and easy to set up STEAM ideas! Please leave a comment or pictures and share some more learning activities with the use of carboard tube rolls!

If you would like to better understand STEAM more, please subscribe below and I will send you a PDF of simplified definition of STEAM!

Till next time,



If you would love to get more information about STEAM or Montessori Ideas, please leave us a message. We would love to hear some comments as well. Thank you!


Toddler steam


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