Engineering, while a seemingly foreign field that takes
years of higher education to master, truly revolves around the basics of
building and construction that can be understood at an early age. And while your
children may not be ready to make plans for bridges or construct their own
computers, you can provide them with small engineering activities to help
strengthen their skills and develop their knowledge of this useful field. If
you want to give your child a head start today, try these six activities to dive
into the fun and mysterious world of engineering at home:
1. Fun with Friction
Friction is a phenomenal force that we understand as adults,
but is an incredibly difficult concept to explain to little ones in the house.
Instead of trying to find the right words though, turn the lesson into a fun
activity. Grab a few quarters, and sit down on a hardwood floor together. Have
your children slide the coins across the surface, and note the difficulty.
Then, using the same coins, try the same activity on asphalt or concrete, ice,
and even carpet. Afterwards, talk to your children about what they noticed, and
explain to them how a force called “friction” is responsible for the
2. Build a Flashlight
If your children are interested in the idea of circuits and
electricity, making your own flashlight can be a great activity. All you truly
need is a bulb, a pair of batteries, some wire, and some tape. Here
is a great link to instructions for this fun and interactive engineering
3. Construct a Marble
One of the most important skills in any engineer is that of
construction, and there is no better way to introduce your child to this
ability than with the Wall Coaster Super Starter Kit. This great marble
construction toy gives your child the ability to build their own wall coaster
in a variety of designs, and let marbles soar down them towards the floor. This
fun marble construction toy is a simple way to have your children understand
the simple physics of motion.
4. Stargazing Fun
While your children may love to look at the stars at night,
they may not truly understand the wonders of space without a quick science
lesson. If you have a miniature telescope or binoculars, use those – if not,
simply use your eyes to gaze. Point out to your child the moving objects, the
stationary stars, and anything else above, and explain to them the relation and
distance the stars and moon have to Earth. This may incite in your little one a
desire to reach for the sky.
5. Build a Miniature
If you have some extra time on your hands, and want to
introduce your children to the world of miniature automobiles, consider
spending an afternoon (or even whole week) helping your child construct a miniature
wooden race car. You can find an easy plan here (this
is for a specific race, but will work well for you and your child), and gather
the necessary supplies to build a racecar of your own!
6. Make a Ping Pong
Catapults aren’t only meant for destruction, and when built
correctly, can actually be used with ping pong balls as a brilliant construction
toy. A catapult demonstrates the concepts of wind resistance, basic resistance,
force, and other in depth physical ideas that your child can slowly grasp onto.
Because it may take some effort to create this construction toy, try using this
and have fun with this engineering adventure!
Time to Teach About
Engineering and constructing are some of the most fun and
useful skills that your child can develop at an early age. And to help make the
process exciting, try using these six great activities and spend some quality
time together with science.