My kids love hands-on projects and engineering activities are always a hit! Here are some quick activities you could suggest to the kids with materials you probably have on hand.
Last January we started our Earth Science Unit off with some engineering activities. We talked a lot about building structure, stability, and things like that. These activities were so fun, they really don’t need to be connected to a study of earthquakes (though that was certainly a bonus!). In fact, we first did some of these activities when the kids were in preschool and early elementary.
Engineering Challenge with Index Cards:
Tall Tower Engineering Challenge:
Using marshmallows and straws, make a tower as tall as you can in just 20 minutes.
Try this same activity providing the kids just with plastic silverware.
Make a Marble Run:
Give the kids a sturdy piece of poster board or a large, flat piece of cardboard.
Other Supplies: tin foil, cotton balls, tape, Popsicle sticks
Have the kids create their own marble run (or marble maze). This was DD’s marble run:
Build a Catapult:
Using supplies around the house, try to make a catapult that will launch pennies or small marshmallows!
Engineering Challenge: Egg Drop, Egg Parachute
We’ve all heard of the egg drop, right? The challenge for kids is to come up with something that will allow an egg to be dropped from a distance. This is one that the kids did last winter.
Then we tossed them off of the deck:
Test is with home made “houses.” You’ll find instructions (and a video of how it works) at our earthquake engineering post.
You might be interested in this related post:
Do you all know about the Free Engineering Units? Our family has used a number of these and they are truly wonderful. They might be really fun for summertime… there are units on bubbles, rockets, and much more! They have free units for Grades 3-5 and for Grades 6-8.