Children absolutely love a challenge. Just using the word “challenge” can get them super excited to dive into whatever learning experience you set up for them! This activity—from the Kindergarten at Home curriculum’s Dinosaur unit—is no different.
Your child will have an absolute blast with this STEM bridge-building challenge for kindergarten!
Children build all the time using traditional tools like blocks or LEGO. With this STEM challenge, we push your little one a little bit beyond just building what they would like or following simple instructions, and instead, encourage them to use their knowledge of building to create something new.
As usual, we love to keep things simple and super easy. So, for this activity, all you need are some popsicle sticks, clothespins, at least 3 little toy dinosaurs (or any toy!) and some toilet paper rolls. That’s it! You don’t need to invest in anything expensive for this STEM activity.
This STEM challenge for kindergarten allows your little one to get creative before the challenge even starts! Start this activity by decorating the popsicle sticks and clothespins. You could colour them with markers as we did, or use paint or paint sticks. Let your child have fun and enjoy decorating their materials for as long as they would like.
Once they are satisfied with their works of art, it is time to put them to the challenge. Have fun setting the stage and letting your child know that you need their help. Getting children to see that you appreciate their help and need them does a great deal for a child’s self-esteem and helps to boost their self-confidence.
Lay out the toilet paper rolls, clothespins and popsicle sticks, and have your little one embark on their STEM challenge: Can you build a bridge that will hold 3 dinosaurs?
This is a wonderful exercise in problem-solving as your child discovers different ways to build a bridge (and which ones are sturdy enough to support the toy dinosaurs!). Will they need more popsicle sticks? How many? Will they use toilet paper rolls? Or the clothespins? Should they be spread out or placed tightly together?
Have your child test out each creation they engineer before declaring a winning bridge design. If the three toy dinosaurs can stand on the bridge without falling, then they have successfully completed the challenge! If not, they can try out some new bridge designs. There is so much excitement and learning that comes from discovering what works and what doesn’t. I just love this bridge-building challenge for kids!
As your little one builds their bridge, there are so many opportunities for learning. This STEM challenge promotes problem-solving, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and also helps to prepare those little hands for future writing.
As an extension, have your child experiment with what other toys their bridge will support, or try using different items to create a new bridge. You will be amazed at what they discover (and for how long your little one is engaged and entertained!).
If you like this activity, you will love Kindergarten at Home! See how ONE HOUR, 3 days a week, can cover all core skills and give your child a rock-solid foundation in numeracy, literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, and emotional health.
Check it out right here: Kindergarten at Home