By: Andrea Dillon
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Tapping into your child’s creativity is an excellent way for your child to learn, explore, and build confidence. One great way to do this is by encouraging your child to invent and practice engineering or STEM. That can sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be! We have plenty of ideas, tips, and projects to help inspire your young inventor.
Creating an Engineering Makerspace
One of the best and easiest ideas for teaching engineering for preschool and elementary children is to create a makerspace. A makerspace is an area that contains a multitude of materials that students can use to experiment and invent. Your makerspace can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, and you shouldn’t feel the need to purchase a lot of materials as the best makerspace ideas are with things you probably already have around the house. For older children, you can still use a makerspace but will need to provide more advanced materials.
If you want to expand your makerspace or a more elaborate one for older students, give this book a try!
The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces
by Laura Fleming
“Anyone can create a makerspace. This is the guide to creating a GREAT makerspace. Written by makerspace pioneer Laura Fleming, The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces is filled with step-by-step, practical ideas that demystify the process of planning and creating a makerspace.”
The most important aspect to remember in creating your makerspace is to use materials that you and your children are comfortable with and to practice using them safely together while starting.
Engineering Activities for Kids
Once you have your makerspace set up, it might be difficult to get the creative juices flowing. Help spark your homeschooler’s creativity with these engineering projects for kids.
- Get Your Brain Thinking Creatively
- I love this game that is easy to play from anywhere! Try SCAMPERing in the car, while walking, or just sitting around! It’s a game for inventive kids AND their parents.
- Create An Air-Powered Machine
- Thinking Fountain helps your kids learn how air-powered machine work and give them practice being an engineer by brainstorming, drawing a picture, and planning how you can make your own pneumatic machine.
- Follow India and Jacob on Engineering Adventures
- Story loving children will have a blast with this free curriculum created especially for kids in grades 3 – 5.
- Experiment With Flight
- My kids loved trying out different ways to make their planes fly higher, longer, and smoother with this plane simulation activity. They have even more activities on DiscoveryE to keep the fun going.
- Make A Mini Catapult
- Can you create a catapult with things you find around your house? You bet you can! Explore the mechanics of this medieval weapon and learn about potential energy in the process. Find more activities on EngineerGirl.
- Find Morre STEAM Activities
- I add more STEM and engineering activities for kids on our Pinterest board monthly to help keep the kids learning and having fun.
Engineering Inspiration For Kids
Even the most creative people need inspiration at times. Inspire your homeschooler with these additional engineering and STEM sources.
|Engineering For Kids Videos||Engineering For Kids Books||Engineering For Kids Products|
Engineering For Kids Videos
Design Squad Global is a PBS KIDS show all about real-world problems and how to use engineering to solve those problems. This show is geared for later elementary and middle school children.
Doozers is the perfect show to introduce engineering for preschoolers. “Join the adventurous and innovative Pod Squad as they play, invent, design, and engineer solutions to the challenges they face in their fantastic kid lives! Team up with Pod Squad as they play, invent, design, and engineer solutions to the challenges they face in their fantastic kid lives!” Available on Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube.
Mark Rober is a former NASA engineer turned YouTuber that helps make science, inventing, and engineering fun! Check out one of our favorite videos below!
Tumble Leaf helps to encourage children to discover STEM and its connection to the world around us through play.
Engineering For Kids Books
Engineered!: Engineering Design at Work by Shannon Hunt
“How do you land a rover on Mars, resolve a perpetual traffic jam or save a herd of caribou from potential extinction? Ask an engineer! Author Shannon Hunt presents nine real-life problems for which engineers designed inventive (and even crazy!) solutions. ”
How to Be An Engineer by Carol Vorderman
“Teach kids to think like an engineer! The engaging projects in this book will encourage kids to investigate using items from around the house. Build a robot arm out of rulers; learn about jet propulsion with balloons; crush toilet-paper rolls to explore materials; and much more.”
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
“In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences.”
The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay
“Explainer-in-Chief David Macaulay updates the worldwide bestseller The New Way Things Work to capture the latest developments in the technology that most impacts our lives. Famously packed with information on the inner workings of everything from windmills to Wi-Fi, this extraordinary and humorous book both guides readers through the fundamental principles of machines, and shows how the developments of the past are building the world of tomorrow.”
Engineering For Kids Products
How To Be An Inventor As A Kid
Has your child blossomed with engineering and created something amazing? Wonderful! They are following in the footsteps of many kid inventors! Do you need help with how to help them take their invention to the next step? Learn more about the patents and trademarks you might need. Find a Camp Invention near you to help them connect with other young inventors! Encourage them to enter into our A2Z Online Homeschool STEM Fair!
Do you know of other free engineering resources for homeschoolers? Let me know in the comments below!