Kids are natural-born engineers – their heightened curiosity leads to exploration and wonder, which results in learning. Engineering is an integral part of STEM education, but it can be difficult to find STEM activities for kids that are fun, easy to implement and reinforce key engineering concepts.
Engineering activities for kids are designed to build science and math skills, strengthen important 21st century skills and prepare students for success in any career field.
Here are a few of our favorite engineering activities!
20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti
One yard of tape
One yard of string
One large marshmallow
Discuss the importance of engineering and its role in today’s society.
Divide students into groups (3-4 students per group).
Allot one set of materials to each group.
Challenge students to use the provided materials to build a freestanding tower with the marshmallow supported at the top. (No extra materials will be provided.)
Set the timer for 18 minutes. Optional: provide time checks throughout the duration of the project.
Observe students’ teamwork, organizational skills, risk-taking abilities and creativity.
Once time is up, measure each group’s tower. (The tower must be able to stand on its own.)
Discuss the challenges faced and the solutions created while building the towers.
Low temp hot glue gun (with adult supervision)
Sketch the marble run design on a blank sheet of paper. The design can be as simple or complicated as students want!
Cut a hole in the top of the box to drop the marble into the run.
Glue the craft sticks onto the shoebox lid based on the design. Cut the sticks to create varying lengths.
Drop a marble into the run and watch it roll!
Six feet of yarn
Tie one end of the yarn to the back of a chair.
Slide a drinking straw through the other end of the yarn, and tie that end to the second chair.
Attach two 2-inch pieces of tape to the center of the straw.
Inflate a balloon without tying the end.
Attach the balloon to the straw using the tape while holding onto the opening of the balloon (to keep the air from escaping).
Slide the balloon to one end of the string (the opening of the balloon should touch one of the chairs).
Release the balloon and watch what happens!
Pavement (basketball court, sidewalk, etc.)
Black masking tape
Create a variety of structures using the building blocks (such as bridges, houses, shopping mall and tunnel entries) and space them across the pavement.
Encourage students to tap into their inner civil engineer to build their own roads.
Use black masking tape to create straight roads that cross over bridges, run through tunnels and circle around buildings.
Encourage students to take the cars out on the road and venture around town. This part of the engineering project promotes imaginative play.