Creative Child

Engineer a Gumdrop Structure

by Deborah Song on Jul 6th, 2016

STEM Activities For Kids

4.  Build structure:

For younger children, guide them through the building process by asking them to build the structure first in the shape of a square, triangle and diamond. Children 8 years and up might not need any guidance.  Encourage them instead to sketch their ideas first.

The challenge can vary in level of difficulty by limiting the number of gumdrops and toothpicks or choosing a lighter or heavier book.  Since the gumdrops can be sticky, you may want to work on top of a disposable surface like a piece of paper. 

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5.  Pause and reflect:

After each attempt at a shape, take a moment to ruminate with your child.  The cube is the shape most children attempt first, but squares are weak and will not likely hold weight of a textbook.

Ask questions like ‘what can be done to strengthen it?’ The big takeaway ideas from this exercise are that triangles are strong and a larger base provides sturdier support.    

6.  Try again: 

Encourage your child to add toothpicks or gumdrops to an existing shape or make a structure using a different shape altogether. 

Check out these fun 15 Science Activities for Preschoolers afterwards! Or if you're looking for a fun summer activity, go on a Playtime Edventure!

Deborah Song is a Los Angeles-based writer and the mother of two girls. She received her master’s in journalism from New York University and writes about parenting, business and kid entrepreneurship. You can read more of her work at lemonadepost.com.

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