We had so much fun with this Fall Playdough Engineering challenge. The kids used the basket contents to make their own structures. It is more challenging than it looks to keep the structures upright and it was fun to see their minds at work while they tried to figure out how to make their buildings taller and more robust.
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You will need:
- Playdough (I made my own using my Stovetop Playdough recipe and red and yellow food coloring with cinnamon essential oil.)
- Paper straws cut in half (or craft sticks)
- Fresh leaves (or artificial leaves) for decorative elements
You can either roll the playdough into balls yourself or have the children do it. We did about half and half. Rolling the playdough is great find motor practice. Then, present the materials and encourage them to build. I originally intended to give them a ruler to measure their structures, but the process of building with these materials was challenging enough and they came up with structures both tall and short which were interesting. They used the leaves to make flowers, trees and roofs for their buildings. They made shapes on the table, which could be an engineering feet in of itself. Then they expanded their triangles to form pyramids. If you are doing this in a classroom setting, this activity can be presented as one basket per group. They can work together to make the balls before they begin (or they can be premade for them).
More FALL STEM Activities from the Early Childhood Education Team, #TeachECE
How Long Am I? Measuring with Leaves by Tiny Tots Adventures
Pumpkin Math and Engineering Challenge by
Learning Letters with Fall Leaves Ramp Activity by Mom Inspired Life