Whether your child is a preschooler or school age, STEAM activities are an ideal way to help them build their development in critical thinking and problem solving. Building and constructing activities are a fun way to spend some time together while forming a foundation for future learning.
Here are some examples of fun engineering activities for preschoolers and school-age children. Encourage your child to ask questions and form theories about what will happen during these engineering activities.
Read books about engineering for children
Children love reading, and there are many engaging books about engineering, including:
- Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids: 50+ Exciting STEAM Projects to Design and Build by Christina Schul
- Cardboard Box Engineering: Cool, Inventive Projects for Tinkerers, Makers & Future Scientists by Jonathan Adolph
- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
- How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons
Build with blocks
Building with blocks has been a favorite activity for generations of preschoolers and school-age children. Not only is it a classic demonstration of engineering concepts, but it also helps to develop cooperation motor skills. Look for ways to diversify your child’s playtime with blocks, whether it’s blocks designed for specific purposes, or thinking of creative new structures to build. Your child can carry these concepts over onto bigger projects such as building pillow and blanket forts.
Design paper airplanes
Another classic childhood engineering activity, paper airplanes are a great way to inspire creativity while solving design problems. Investigate different paper airplane designs, and do experiments to see which ones fly further or fastest, and discuss why. Build upon your findings to create new paper airplanes.
Have your child brainstorm design projects
The imagination of a young child makes it fun to come up with creative solutions to engineering and design problems or needs. You could start out with a problem, such as a rain shelter for their tricycle; or you could come up with an engineering idea that speaks to your child’s existing interests, such as asking them to design a home for their favorite animal. Your child can draw their design, or even construct a smaller version with small, simple household objects.