Here’s a fun activity to try with common materials you may already have at home. Best for ages 5 and up

What You Need

Tools and Materials

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • String
  • Empty spools
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Rubber bands
  • Wood spoons
  • Ping pong balls or other soft balls (for launching across the room!)

Safety Note

  • Caution kids against using hard objects as projectiles

What You Do

Step 1. Lay out materials
Step 2. Print a sheet of inspirational images [link]
Step 3. Design and build simple machines

What Kids Learn

  • Creative Thinking → Making and tinkering; exploring whatever is on their mind
  • Confidence → Using real tools and materials (“I can do it!”) and tackling challenges
  • Critical Thinking → Asking questions and being experimental
  • Self-Control → Focusing, paying attention and setting their own goals – and sticking to them

Parent Tips

  • Hang back at first… let your child explore the materials
  • Allow time for trial and error
  • If your child gets stuck or a little frustrated, ask questions to guide them along (“Why do you think that happened?” or “What would happen if you tried this?”
  • If needed, guide your child without taking over entirely

Stay Informed

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St. Paul, MN 55102


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