With such a huge focus on STEM education these days, today I want to focus on the engineering aspect of STEM and give you some ideas for teaching STEM engineering to kids.
Why Teach Engineering at a Young Age?
Kids love building things and are natural-born builders! You have probably noticed that already in your own kids. They love blocks, tinker toys and LEGO bricks. The great thing about this is they are already excited and ready to learn more about it! Engineering brings together math and science in a hands-on way and lets them apply this knowledge. You use visual math in building by comparing sizes, shapes and materials of building supplies. You use the science of gravity, simple machines, strength and stability in building structures. Plus getting kids comfortable with engineering at a young age increases their confidence and abilities as they grow and decide on a future career.
Fun Ways to Teach Engineering to Kids:
There are so many fun projects you can do with kids to help them learn to think like an engineer! Build a bridge or a catapult, a tower, building models, a wind-up car, geometric shapes or any other fun project you can dream up.
There are two ways you can approach engineering projects with kids: Give them a pile of supplies and let them figure out how to build it on their own. Or, you can give more detailed instructions for them to follow. There are benefits to both methods and both teach valuable skills. There are also some amazing building toys that can guide kids in learning engineering. (We love Zometools!)
The most important thing is to lets kids experiment and try things for themselves. That i what really gets them thinking. Give them an idea and supplies and let them run with it. It is a great thing to try and fail because that teaches them perseverance! It is also a great thing if they veer off in their own direction and get creative. That’s what I love most about doing projects like these with my own kids. Their minds are amazing and can come up with some fabulous ideas.
Here are 10 Fun Engineering Projects to get you started:
- Marshmallow & Toothpick Geometry, with printable cards
- Magnet Pendulum
- Popsicle Stick Raft
- Popsicle Stick Bridge
- Lego City Earthquake
- Homemade Water Clock
- Pantograph Drawing Machine
- Holding Up Books with Paper
- Easy Engineering Experiment
- Insect Hotel
Don’t be afraid to jump in and try some engineering projects with your kids. You will have a memorable and educational experience together.