Exercise Those Engineering Skills This Winter
Hooray! The holidays are here! Time for snuggly sweaters, snowy sleigh rides, hot apple cider, and… STEM? Yes! Winter break is a great time to slip in some STEM learning and the Learning Resources Playground Engineering & Design Building Set is a great way to do it!
First, a quick refresher on STEM. STEM is simply a nation-wide push to put more emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math in schools, to better prepare our kids for careers in these fields in the future. By exploring these subjects at home, in a playful, low-stress way, you’ll ignite your kids’ curiosity, fuel creative thinking and problem solving, and inspire confidence that will carry through to school and support what your kids are learning there.
So, what are you waiting for? Pour a cup of cocoa, call the kids to the table, and get ready to build your own polar playground!
Open the box and you’ll find lots of packaged parts and pieces as well as a set of double sided instruction cards and a little workbook. Start by unpacking all the pieces in groups and checking out the different playground equipment you and your kids can engineer! You’ll find posts, platforms, gears, connectors, and more – everything you’ll need to design your own simple machines!
Next, choose a card and review the pieces you’ll need to build that structure. Work together to gather them and set them aside. Then follow the photos on the cards to assemble the structure, piece by piece. Once it’s finished, test it out by placing one of the included figures inside.
Now, flip the card to find a building challenge related to that structure. This is a great time to introduce the engineering design process – you know, ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. Let your little one take the lead on solving the problems on the back of each card – you’ll be impressed with their creative solutions!
Take your time building the different playground pieces. Talk about the process and share some of the science behind the fun. Gravity draws the figure down the inclined slide. Momentum keeps the merry go round spinning. You get the idea.
When you’re done with building fun, it’s time to get creative, with some playground pretend play! Your kids will love walking the included figures through the playground and helping them try out each piece of equipment.
Building sets like the Playground Engineering & Design Building Set are a great way to engineer some serious STEM skills and to spend a snowy afternoon together. In fact, there are lots playful ways to help your kids love learning and develop the skills they need for success. Work a holiday-themed puzzle, dissolve a candy cane, freeze and melt colored ice cubes… There are always ways to learn where you play – especially during the holidays!