Engineering Workshop

Building at Home

Paper Airplanes

What you need:

Marshmallows, gum drops or small balls of playdough Toothpicks, coffee straws or regular straws 

What to do:

Cut materials into smaller segments and build towers and bridges.

What you do:

Children often enjoy the decorating and flying more than the precise folding, so build a couple different models or two of the same and let your child decorate. Then, you can experiment with how far they fly. You can test adding paper clips to the nose of the plane or trying out flying with your favorite small toy taped on board. 

Plan, Do, Review!

We like to use a component of the Tools of the Mind curriculum in our engineering workshop. Tools of the Mind is a preschool curriculum that improves executive function, emotional regulation and helps kids manage transitions. The part that we incorporate into the engineering workshop is a plan, do review activity. Asking children to “plan” their play can help them to take a different perspective and it gives us an opportunity to support and encourage them to get deeper into the imaginary play. The review phase is also important to help them process what they did and discuss why. It is not as important that what they planned and what they ended with are the same as it is for them to step back and think about how they got there. 

I have recorded a video that you can watch along with your little engineer. Then take whatever materials you want to use for building (blocks, boxes, plastic cups, sticks and rocks, cans, etc) and ask them to draw a plan. I love to give them graphing paper if available and a pencil because it feels very adult and “engineer” like but if all you have is crayons and plan paper that will work just fine. 

See it in Action

Books for your Engineer

Iggy Peck Architect

The Bridge Will Not be Gray

Rosie Revere Engineer

The Most Magnificent Thing