These Engineering Activities Will “Save the Day”!
Is your child doing virtual school? Do you find your child wondering around the house in between zoom meetings and interrupting your zoom meetings too? If yes, you are not alone and I feel your pain as well. And if this is your situation, I have some activities that will “save the day” with little effort on your part.
In this blog post, I share nine engineering activities that are fun, engaging, and a great STEM booster. These activities are also inexpensive, perfect for busy families, and full of potential to contra rest the ‘zoomed out’ effect.
If you don’t have at home the materials I suggest, get creative and substitute it for something similar or for a similar idea.
Activity 1: The Hole Puncher
Since you are doing work from home it is more likely you have office supplies laying around. So lets use them to entertain our children! For this activity, all you need is a hole puncher and a piece of paper to write the question. If possible, allow your child to dismantle the hole puncher, punch paper, and even explore how strong is the hole puncher by testing other materials.
Activity 2: The Mechanics of a Pen
Pens are a simple yet fascinating invention. Have you ever found yourself fidgeting with them? I have and it’s fun, so why not turn it into a lesson for our children. There are so many types of pens, so just pick one that your child can dismantle and write the question on a piece of paper.
Activity 3: Which Cup is Best for my Iced Drink?
This activity is all about YOU! Yes, you read right. Have your child figure out which cup will keep your iced drink colder the longest. Prefer to have a hot drink at your desk? Switch the question to which cup keeps coffee (or tea) warm the longest. And if you have snow outside, send them outside to collect some snow.
Activity 4: The Mechanics of Scissors
I suggest judgement deciding if your child is ready for this activity but if they are, it will be a hit. Have them figure out the mechanics of scissors and even perhaps identify what type of simple machine group scissors belong to.
Activity 5: The “Insides” of a Flashlight
Have a broken flashlight laying around the house? After this activity your child may be able to fix it! Invite them to figure out the circuitry of a simple flashlight. Most flashlights are simple enough for children to figure out and you can encourage them to even draw what they observe. Of course, start with a flashlight that works.
Activity 6: Testing the Quality of Breakfast
This activity is one of my favorites. If your family is a cereal eater like mine you are likely to have a variety of those in your pantry. Place a little bit of each cereal in a resealable bag, give them a magnet and have them test which of the cereals have the most iron. For best results encourage your child to crush as much as possible the cereal. How would your child know the answer? The cereal with the most iron will stick to the magnet. Cool, right?
Activity 7: Less Work with Simple Pulleys
This might be an activity that might require a quick trip to the hardware store but it is worth it. Purchase a handful of pulleys. Then, invite your child to figure out how they work. You will thank me later.
Activity 8: Lift Away
If you are trying to encourage your child to be creative, pulleys is the way to go. A shoe lace, tape, and toys in hand and a pulley will do most of the work.
Activity 9: Two Pulleys Better Than One
Lastly, because we scientists like to test further. Why not test with two or three pulleys. Want a more challenging activity for your child? Add a basket or suggest increasing the distance to transport an object; it will do it.
How To Invite Your Children to Play
Remember, the goal of these activities is to invite your child to play, counter the zoomed out effect, and buy us some time while we do our work too. Hence, call these as such-play. Keep it simple and informal and allow your child to explore freely within reasonable boundaries that fit your family.
Hope your children enjoy these activities and you have some uninterrupted time of work.