Recommendations for Engineering Activities
There is a wide variety of engineering experiences that are appropriate and engaging for young children.
Some could be as simple as creating paper airplanes or a ramp for a toy car. Some activities require the purchase of materials beyond what can be typically found in early learning environments, but most can be completed with materials that are easy to find.
It is important to present engineering challenges with developmentally appropriateness in mind.
Keep in mind the current abilities and interests of the children in your care. Pick activities that align with children’s skills or those that stretch them just a bit, especially when you first start. Some engineering concepts require levels of understanding or abstract thinking that young children may not yet possess. You don’t want children to become so frustrated that they lose interest.
Children should be challenged to engage with engineering activities in small groups. If you recall, elements of the engineering design process require engineers to brainstorm, design, build, and test their solutions. To encourage participation, small group work is best. This mirrors how engineers interact in their workplaces. They don’t sit and listen to a colleague lead them through the project, they dive in and work through problems together.
Below are some online resources that you can explore. We are sure you will be able to find a few activities that will spark children’s interest and challenge their abilities. Keep in mind, you may need to adapt the suggested activities to make them easier or more challenging. You can do this by providing more guidance or materials for children to explore. In other cases, having fewer materials can encourage children to look around for different material options.
For the main article Early Engineering, CLICK HERE
For the article The Engineering Design Process, CLICK HERE
For the article The Engineering Design Process for Children, CLICK HERE
For the article Why is Engineering Important in Early Learning?, CLICK HERE