7 Awesome Engineering Activities to do with Kids

Awesome Engineering Activities: Bottle Rocket

Started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, National Engineers Week is celebrated every President’s Day in honor of President George Washington’s birthday. Did you know that in addition to being the first president of the United States, George Washington was considered to be one of the nation’s first engineers? As a kid, George loved to build things. Later, he famously designed his own house and the tools to maintain it (including a huge plow!)

From the houses we live in to the bridges we cross, engineering touches every aspect of modern life. Specifically, engineering is the branch of science and technology that deals with the design, construction, and use of engines, machines, and structures!  Engineering skills are essential for all aspects of building. This week, engineers and educators will honor the people who create wonders in the fields of engineering. And there is so much to celebrate!

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, there are so many ways you can encourage your kids to get excited about engineering. It’s important not just because engineering fields offer awesome job opportunities, but because engineering skills and problem-solving abilities are valuable wherever kids go next in life.

The most important thing is to encourage kids to have fun while learning about engineering. Here at KiwiCo we encourage a combination of hands-on activities and conversations with your kids. Since engineering happens in all fields, it is easy to begin the conversations based on your child’s interests.  Exploring these things together is the best encouragement you can give.

Many of our STEM crates map to NGSS standards. To order crates for your classroom, check out these classroom packs.

1. For kids who love music

Acoustical engineers work with sound (and sound producting vibrations) in real-world situations such as concert halls. Many acoustical engineers collaborate with architects to help ensure that a building is designed for sound clarity. To learn more about accoustical engineering, check out our headphone kit which includes lessons and activities on the science of sound.

Engineering Activities for Kids: Build Your Own Headphones

2. For kids who love rockets

Aerospace engineers design and test aircraft,  spacecraft and satellites and other flying things. From the Beluga transporter to supersonic jets, moon landings to the Mars shuttle, the feats of aerospace engineers are awe-inspiring.  For a real life connection, take the kids to an airport! Kids who are into rockets will love our bottle rocket project.  

Engineering Activities for Kids: Rocket Science

3. For kids who love cars (and other vehicles)

Automotive engineers design and test passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles or off-road vehicles. To engineer your own vehicle consider this wind-powered vehicle project or this balloon cars project.

Engineering Activities for Kids: Rubberband Race Car

4. For kids who like construction

Civil engineers design structures and infrastructures from roads and railways to airports to bridges and harbours and buildings. Civil engineers plan, design and maintain the environments in which we live. Build your own bridge with the bridge-building activity below.

5. For kids who love computers

Computer engineers personalize and customize applications to solve problems! For a fun computer engineering project, this Robots and Coding project teaches kids how to write programs and solve puzzles.

Engineering Activities for Kids: Robots and Coding

6. For kids who love robots

Robotics engineers design, test and building robots! If your kid loves robots, check out this Robot Crawler project to construct motor-powered robots that walk (and race!). Kids will explore linkages, friction, and mechanical energy.

Robotics for Kids

7. For kids who meddle with machines

Mechanical engineers design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain machinery systems. Mechanical engineering is the oldest and broadest type of engineering so it overlaps with many other types of engineers. For a fun activity consider making the Mechanical Claw — a project that was inspired by the biomechanics of the hand.

Mechanical Engineering for Kids

To learn more about National Engineers Week, visit www.discovere.org. To order high quantities of our crates for schools and groups check out our bulk ordering page. To learn more about how you can spark scientific curiousity and learning, visit us at Kiwico.

5 Awesome Science Facts About the Heart

When we speak about hearts, we often think about love! But scientifically, the heart is a complex organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies supplying oxygen and nutrients to all of our organs and tissues. The heart is essential to the existence of most animals on the planet. How much do you know about your heart? Here are five awesome heartful facts:

Scientific Facts about the Heart
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How to Help Your Kids Write Awesome Valentine’s Day Cards

5 Simple Tips for Creating Meaningful Messages for Friends and Family

Valentine's Day Card writing tips

Recently, I found a beautiful Valentine’s Day card created by my daughter when she was five years old. In it, she wrote a story about strawberries (my favorite fruit) with illustrations of heart-shaped berries scrawled in crayon. Seeing that card filled me with tenderness and made me laugh out loud.

Creating cards with kids can be a meaningful way to spend time together. In addition to the joy that comes with crafting, the process of writing to a friend or family member encourages kids to have empathy and consideration for others.

But sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we wrote up these five simple tips for creating awesome Valentine’s Day cards with your kids:

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3 Creative Ways to Reuse Your Crate

Awesome Cardboard Crafts for all Ages

Cardboard is an awesome building material that is recyclable and biodegradable. It’s durable and protective, but it is also easy to bend and cut. It’s about half air, making it a useful lightweight material for building projects. As kids (and cats!) know, sometimes a cardboard box is as fun as the toy that came in it! Ever since it was invented, cardboard has inspired construction and creativity! 

At a time when many toys are becoming complex and reliant on technology, it’s reassuring to return to creative possibilities of the box, seeing it not as trash but as an opportunity for artistic play.  Here at KiwiCo, we have deep respect for the value and versatility of cardboard. In addition to being committed to recycling and sustainability,  we are always looking for awesome uses for our crates. 

From extra storage containers to crafty DIY activities, the ideas are endless. Here are four easy cardboard projects to make with your kids.

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5 Creative Valentine’s Day Projects to Make with Kids

Valentine’s Day is a love-ly holiday for making heartfelt gifts! All over the world, people send candy, flowers, and cards to express affection and appreciation. At KiwiCo, we encourage kids to make their own awesome projects to share with family and friends! From magnetic hearts to light-up pencils, here are five STEM craft activities to make with your kids!

Need some help making handmade Valentines for classmates? That’s why we created our Valentine’s Day Card kit that comes complete with everything you need to make 27 craftastic cards.

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Easy Science Fair Projects for Kids | 13 Experiments

Easy Science Fair Projects for Kids

Science can explain many of the world’s magical mysteries in surprisingly simple ways. These easy science experiments reveal the cause behind some phenomena, but also let kids explore the frontiers of science. With these quick projects, they’ll use chemistry, electricity, and biology, to feed their creativity and make scientific magic!

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8 Lucky Lunar New Year Traditions to Celebrate with Kids

Lunar New Year Traditions: Parade Dragon

Lunar New Year has been observed in China for more than four thousand years, starting from ancient celebrations of the end of the long winter season. Because it marks  the earth coming back to life and the beginning of the growing cycle, the Lunar New Year is also called the Spring Festival.

Although modern-day China uses the solar Gregorian calendar, the traditional Chinese calendar follows both the sun AND the moon. Every lunar year begins with the moon cycle that starts  between January and February and ends on the full moon 15 days later. So the Lunar New Year in China falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar, somewhere between January 21 and February 20. 

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3 Inspiring Young Creators: Kid Inventors’ Day

Kid Inventors' Day: Fionn
via Atlantic Mirror

Kid Inventors’ day is on January 17th, the birthday of Benjamin Franklin! You might already know that Benjamin Franklin was a founding father of the United States and that he was famous for his experiments with electricity (most notably the kite experiment) What you might not know is that he is also credited with inventing the first swim flippers almost 300 years ago at age 12!  Kid Inventors’ Day was created to acknowledge past and present accomplishments of kid inventors; To encourage the creativity of future young creators. This year, to celebrate National Kid Inventors’ Day, we want to feature some awesome young innovators around the world.

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How Trebuchets Work | The Science Behind Trebuchets

How Trebuchets Work: Trebuchet Crate Example
Buildable trebuchet from our Tinker Crate

A trebuchet is a type of catapult that uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile. They were created for a terrible purpose, but they’re also an amazing example of human ingenuity. For centuries, the trebuchet was the most powerful war machine in the world. They stood as tall as 60 feet (18m) and could fling 80 pound (36kg) objects up to 980 feet (300m). They were so powerful as siege engines that they even changed the way that castles were built, with walls becoming increasingly thicker to protect against trebuchet barrages. 

After the invention of the first trebuchet in China during the fourth century B.C.E, the concept spread quickly and was further developed by engineers in the Middle East and Europe. Innovators across three continents and many different cultures contributed to their design, displaying incredible mechanical skill and scientific vigor.

But how do trebuchets work? How did they manage to be so powerful, lift so much weight, and make such a large impact on the world around them? What can we learn from the trebuchet designs of the past?

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How Shadows are Formed: The Science of Shadows

February 2nd is Groundhog Day! Groundhogs (also called woodchucks) are a member of the squirrel family (they are not hogs at all!)  As the tradition goes, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, spring is still 6 weeks off;  if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, it means warmer weather is on its way.

Have you ever wondered what causes shadows? Or how a shadow might change shape depending on the time of day or time of year? Look around you now;  If you are in a lighted space, chances are you will see a shadow because shadows are all around us.

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