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Best 7 at-home STEM design challenges kids love 2023

challenges kids love

Winter break is coming up, and youngsters will undoubtedly suffer cabin fever while spending the extended break at home. These interactive design challenges kids love because these are a fantastic way for them to start moving and switch their minds at home, especially since the cold weather may make it difficult to get outside!

These six design challenges give students a task to complete using basic resources, promoting critical thinking, cooperation, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) competencies. They’re also entertaining and interesting, which makes kids of all ages love them! See our list of design challenges kids love for Pre-K through 8th grade by continuing to read.

Grades Pre-K – 1st

1. Build a tower out of cups

This simple game will help you teach your child design thinking concepts. Design thinking is the process of creating a product from start to finish. Paper cups are all that are required! Your young learner will take pleasure in building a tower out of the cups, and they’ll have to use their critical thinking abilities to figure out how to increase the structure’s height without the cups falling out.

Would a larger base aid in the structure’s stabilization? Perhaps the distance between the cups might be changed? They must use trial and error to refine their innovation!

2. Make a catapult

Youngsters enjoy shooting objects into the air, and this DIY catapult activity helps them accomplish precisely that! With its open-ended design, this activity highlights that there are multiple approaches to solving the problem and challenges kids love and to think critically about how to construct the mechanism. The exciting part is when they test it out after building their prototype! Students can then make multiple iterations of their ideas to get it just right.

challenges kids love Grades 2nd – 4th

3. Engineer gumdrop structures

With this fun game, budding architects may construct structures out of toothpicks. Gumdrops are tasty candies that serve as vibrant structural glue. As an alternative, they may use play dough, marshmallows, or clay. This task will assist your child in refining their structure until it works by guiding them through the ideation and prototyping phases of the design process!

4. Design a parachute

This design-thinking activity is a hit with kids! In this exercise, they will make a parachute for a tiny toy out of common household items. Toys in the air for as long as possible is their aim. Kids can use imaginative tools like tissues, plastic bags, and dental floss to try to defy gravity and keep their small companions in the air!

Grades 5th – 8th

5. Assemble a Rube Goldberg machine

A device known as a Rube Goldberg (or chain reaction) machine takes several stages to accomplish a straightforward operation. Kids will design their own machine challenge for the purposes of this activity.

This could consist of:

  • Changing a light switch’s status
  • burst a balloon
  • toothpaste squeezed onto a toothbrush
  • Disabling an alarm clock
  • launching an application on your phone
  • Activating a faucet
    With this experiment, older students will gain practical experience with engineering and physics concepts. To build their custom machine, they will utilize materials found around the house, such as legos, marbles, popsicle sticks, and dominoes.

6. Use chemistry to inflate a balloon

We all know that baking soda and vinegar can be used to create an exploding volcano, but what if you could use the same mixture to inflate a balloon? This chemistry design challenge will add some spice to your typical scientific experiments by having children create mixtures using the following materials:

Baking soda, sugar, and vinegar
Lemon juice, salt, and nachos
Any more beverages or household goods
Youngsters will enjoy experimenting with different setups until they figure out what works best!
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