Your little engineers will really enjoy these 12 creative engineering activities.
On a recent trip to Sydney, Australia, I spent a lot of time admiring (and photographing) the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge which is the widest and one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world. Quite the engineering feat! Between that and the world famous Sydney Opera House, I came back buzzing from my little getaway with lots of thoughts about engineering and just how important it is for our children to have opportunities to experience it and to learn more about it.
What is engineering?Engineering is the application of science, technology and maths to develop solutions to problems. Put simply, engineers are creators! They take the above disciplines and combine these with creativity and ingenuity to make something new. Engineers see a problem and solve it. They create and re-create products, infrastructure and solutions that make our everyday life easier.
Architectural engineers play a huge role in the construction of buildings like the Sydney Opera House (pictured above) and civil engineers work on things like roads and bridges like the Sydney Harbour Bridge (see pictures below). There are also many other types of engineers that are heavily involved in so many different projects and areas of production. From technology and the engineering of the mobile phones we use, to robots, computer games, chemical engineering, medicine, renewable energy, aircraft and much more. There are so many different avenues that engineers can put their skills and passions towards in this modern day and age.
Why is it important for children to learn engineering?Allowing children to experience different forms of engineering helps them to understand more about the processes that go into making up so much of the world around us. Engineering encourages creativity, problem solving and cooperation. It allows children to think outside the box and to come up with solutions to problems through experimentation and trial and error, whilst putting into practice so many of the skills they are acquiring as they grow.
Check out this fabulous video from the 2012 Young Australian of the year, Marita Cheng as she talks at TEDx Sydney about why we need to teach our children to be makers and the fabulous work they're doing, encouraging girls in particular, to take an interest in engineering.
Engineering Activity ideas for kids
Here are 12 fabulous activities that allow children to experience a number of different types of engineering. These activities encourage creativity, problem solving, trial-and-error, maths, science, technology and more.
Build Blinking Bugs by Inner Child Fun
Toothpick and Mini-marshmallow challenge by Learn with Play at Home
Four Engineering challenges with Craft Sticks, Cups and Cubes by Frugal Fun for Boys
Spaghetti Tower Challenge by Tinkerlab
Make Soda Rockets by Lemon Lime Adventures
Make a Tinkering Station by Left Brain Craft Brain on A Mom With a Lesson Plan
Make a Catapult by Fun-A-Day
Paper Building Blocks by Babble Dabble Do
Test the Stability of Structures by Science Sparks
Design a Cardboard Tube Marble Run by Learn with Play at Home
Design and Build a Rollercoaster by Planet Smarty Pants
Highlights from Sydney
Well, isn't that a lot of fun? All inspired by a little bridge. Ok, not so little! Here are some pictures from my weekend in Sydney.
|My fabulous kid blogger buddies and I at Nuffnang's Sydney Office Launch Party. L-R: Me (Learn with Play at Home), Kelly from Be A Fun Mum, Danya from Danya Banya, Chelsea from Moments a Day and Rachel from Racheous- Lovable Learning.|
|Even with the dark clouds rolling in, the harbour was a spectacular sight. See the bridge?|
|I got to drive a yacht around Sydney Harbour! Very cool! (Thanks for the pic, Kelly- Be A Fun Mum!)|
|Sailing underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge gave a whole different perspective and you got an even great feel for the gigantic scale of it all. Engineers are incredible!|
|The food! Oh the food. My favourite was Spice Temple and meeting the owner and celebrity chef Neil Perry. Amazing! Definitely some food engineering going on there! Yes, food engineering is a real thing. Why didn't anyone tell me that when I was at school? Yum!|
|A comfy bed, good food and a good location. Couldn't ask for more from our accommodation at Rydges Sydney Central|
|And I can't resist just a few final shots of the bridge! Sydney Harbour bridge. Spectacular by day and by night.|
If you get a chance to go to Sydney, you really must. Such a vibrant place to visit with tons to see and do for all the family! (Even in winter.) A huge thanks to the major trip sponsor, Destination NSW for an amazing launch party at ECQ Bar and an incredible sailing adventure around the bay with East Sail; Qantas for getting me there and back as well as hosting a mouth watering lunch at The Burger Project and an unforgettable dinner at Spice Temple (you really must go!);; and of course my comfy and well positioned accommodation for the weekend, Rydges Sydney Central Hotel! Also thanks to Spotlight (check out their awesome range in-store or online) for sponsoring our conference in the Macquarie Room at the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney on the final day (location, location!).
Sydney, thanks for having me and I can't wait to come back. Next time with my whole family!
Here is a fabulous article on 10 ways to support an interest in Engineering! A good read with lots of other engineering activity ideas.
Have you been to Sydney? Do you have little future engineers at your house?
Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
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