Engineering is all about creative problem solving and helping people. Kids are natural engineers as they explore their world, building and designing things as they play and learn. To celebrate all things engineering we have teamed up with STEPS Engineers Ireland to bring you some easy family-friendly engineering activities to do at home that showcase how much fun engineering can be.
Don’t miss the chance to have your say! We’re looking for parents to get involved and give their feedback on all aspects of family life. Find out more here.
STEPS Engineers Week will take place from Saturday 4th to Friday 10th March 2023. The aim is to help inspire the next generation of engineers and excite students about the possibilities a career in engineering can offer.
There will be lots of great FREE events online for families to explore the fun world of engineering. The aim is to generate interest and enthusiasm for engineering in children’s everyday lives.
There are many ways that engineering can be seen and used in our everyday lives. Here are some easy and fun, family-friendly engineering activities that you can do at home with the kids to inspire the next generation of young engineers.
Fun Engineering Activities To Do At Home
#1. Egg Drop Challenge
Always a fun thing to do, play with eggs!
Try out the Egg Drop Challenge for yourself, to see if you can design a system to prevent an egg from cracking or breaking from a high fall!
Embark on this fun, but messy challenge with the Engineers Ireland Egg Drop Activity Sheet.
#2. Make Your Own Pinwheel
Learn all about wind energy when you create your own pinwheel. The pinwheel mimics a wind turbine, which you can see on high ground around the country.
This fun activity only requires a piece of card, pencil with an eraser and a drawing pin. Find out how to make your own pinwheel here.
Older children and teens may also enjoy creating this more complex version of a wind turbine.
#3. Design A Bridge
Have you ever wondered how a bridge works? How does it stand up, what happens when you add extra weight to it? Find out the answers to this when you design your very own bridge at home using blocks or books, card and some coins.
Download the worksheet here and see how adding extra support and design elements changes the strength of your bridge.
#4. Build A Family Obstacle Course
Have fun in the garden as the days get longer with our fun family obstacle course ideas. Use your engineering skills to create more difficult tasks for the family to complete!
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#5. Design And Make A Clinometer And Measure The Height Of A Tree
A clinometer or Astrolabe is a piece of equipment used to measure angles and calculate approximate heights. It has been used for over a thousand years and you can make your very own version using some card, a straw, plasticine/blu tack, a length of thread and tape.
Once you have measured a tree, see what other objects you can measure both inside and outside your home.
#6. Make Your Own Marble Run
Watch our fun video on how to make your own marble run using some cardboard tubes, wrapping paper and scissors. Guaranteed fun for all ages!
You can also be innovative and use construction toys you have at home to create elaborate or more modest marble runs or produce an out door run using pipes and blocks and you could even look at adding water!
#7. Create Your Own Water Fountain
This is a fun activity to do together with your child. It requires hot water, a straw, a small plastic bottle, food colouring, large heatproof jug or bowl and some plasticine or blu tack to act as a seal.
Set up your ‘fountain‘ pour in hot water and watch it come to life!
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#8. Build A Bug Hotel
Using old bits of wood, pallets, bricks, hollow pipes and stone you can create a beautiful bug and insect hotel. It will not only teach your children about engineering but it will be a feature for your garden that offers protection to bugs and insects when the weather is cooler.
Once it is built, be sure to have a notebook to keep track of all the bugs and insects that visit your hotel.
#9. Make A Catapult With Marshmallows
Kids + Catapults = Fun! And what better fun than to actually make your own catapult, from some yummy edible materials like marshmallows?! Once constructed, you can use them straight away too and fine-tune your target practice. Here’s how to make a catapult for kids using marshmallows.
#10. Build Your Own Camp/Den
Let your kids make a camp/den indoors or outdoors, using cardboard or old blankets/duvets, cushions and the garden chairs for props. You could even decorate it and add some extras to personalise it.
For a more sturdy den in the garden, gather some sticks and branches and use a tarpaulin as a roof.
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