by Tiffany Kwong, Operations Manager
With the end of the school year fast-approaching, you may find yourself looking for things to do with your child that are fun, engaging, and educational. As some of you know, I’m a huge fan of tinkering and believe it’s important to incorporate opportunities for tinkering in children’s daily routines. I’ve culled the internet and found a number of fantastic activities, challenges, and experiments that may interest (you and) your child. They are all relatively affordable and can be conducted in the comfort of your own home. Please keep in mind that some of these activities require the help and/or supervision of an adult. So break out the cardboard, popsicle sticks, and tape and get ready for some fun!
This website provides ideas for building several gadgets including pyramid catapults, propeller cars, slingshot rockets, and more!
This blog offers four different engineering challenges that require only popsicle sticks, plastic cups and wooden blocks. Test your child to build the tallest structure; build a structure on top of a single wooden block or cup; or balance a number of cups against several blocks. The possibilities are endless!
Learn about ecosystems and aquaponics by creating a mini ecosystem using a soda bottle or mason jar!
Using household items only, challenge your child to package a raw egg so that it would survive–unscathed and unbroken–when dropped from a great distance.
Learn about inertia, mass, equilibrium and Newton’s First Law by building inertia towers with blocks, index cards, and string. Challenge your child to pull the index cards from the tower without toppling the structure!
This activity is a DIY version of the classic wooden labyrinth game where the object is to use to move a single marble through the maze without it falling through the holes. Help your child construct their own labyrinth made of popsicle sticks and cardboard.
In this fun experiment, your child will learn about DNA and how to extract it from the inside of their cheek with the help of just a few kitchen ingredients!
Learn about buoyancy and put your engineering skills to the test by constructing a boat using solely cardboard and tape! Here’s the catch: make the boat large enough for you and your child to row across a pool. Don’t have a pool? Construct a mini version and see how many pennies, wooden blocks, or objects of your choice it takes to sink the boat.
Do you have any favorite activities in your household? Feel free to share ideas and resources below!
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Tiffany Kwong graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received B.A.s in Sociology and Asian American Studies. She then pursued an M.A. in the Social and Cultural Analysis of Education at California State University, Long Beach. She enjoys working behind the scenes and playing a role in all of the programs and services IEA has to offer and loves the incredibly warm and inclusive spaces IEA has a way of creating. In her free time, she really enjoys cooking and sewing, especially in the company of family – the experience of spending time with her loved ones makes these activities particularly special to her.