Children are full of curiosity—they’re naturally observing, questioning, testing, and collecting information. These are the important critical thinking and problem-solving skills of engineers. Explain that engineering is the process of planning, building, or constructing something. Add these facts:

  • Engineers work to find a solution to a problem (such as how build a bridge to get people across a river).
  • Engineers draw a plan or design before they begin building.
  • Engineers also think about which materials they use (such as the strongest material for a bridge).
  • Engineers test their design and then redesign, or make changes, as they go.

Try these activities:

Design a Fort. Help set up a problem to solve by asking, “What materials could we use to build an indoor fort we can crawl into?” Encourage children to design and build a fort using pillows, chairs, and blankets.

Build a City. Collect materials such as empty plastic bottles, egg cartons, popsicle sticks, and empty cereal boxes to engineer a “city” on top of a flattened cardboard box. Draw on the box to make roads, and glue or tape the materials on to create buildings, houses, and parks.