Mini Engineering Challenges

steam activities header

Well, here we are – at the second Thursday of the month, and our Mini Engineering Challenges post!  (That this time has a touch of Tech mixed in!)  Today I have three really fun activities for you, and a few affiliate links to help you (and me) out as you plan to do these activities with your kids!!

First of all, if you don’t have a wooden train set for your preschool/elementary/middle/high children and you/hubby… well, your whole family will love having a train set!  Heck, Grayson even loves the train set… (he’s head of the demolition crew after we build something!)

Here’s the set that Santa brought to the kids for Christmas this past year: KidKraft Farm Train Set  and then, of course, as we’ve played with it more and more, we’ve needed a few additional things…
Maxim Enterprise Expansion Switch and Crossing Track Pack  and the 56 Piece Wooden Train Track Expansion Pack with Tunnel by Orbrium Toys … and of course, we have a few things on our wish lists, too… Maxim Enterprise Over and Under Tunnel, Orbrium® Toys 6 Arches Viaduct Bridge for Wooden Railway Track, and of course a few more connectors… Orbrium Toys Male-Male Female-Female Wooden Train Track Adapters, Set of 8.  I think it’s safe to say that we are hooked on the wooden train set.  And I love how it’s becoming an activity our entire family can sit around and do on the floor all together.  We love to build all kinds of crazy tracks…

mar 12 creative trains

But our real engineering challenge lately has been to try to build everyone’s name!  They are sometimes more challenging than others, but we’ve really had fun making our names (and our pet’s names) in train tracks!  Here are a few of the names we have completed:

mar 12 family names

Inspired by THIS POST from No Time for Flashcards, I decided it’d be fun to come up with some little Lego Challenges for Becca.  We’ve done a few over time, and she has really enjoyed them!  It’s super fun to come up with random little challenges for your kids – and see if they can make the item the same way you did!  Here’s a couple that she has done.  Keep in mind, you could also do this with Duplos for younger kids!!  I simply set up the model(s) on a tray, and put the pieces she’ll need to build hers in front of the model.  After she’s built her own, she typically likes to take them apart and build random things.  This is a fabulous activity to keep her busy when I’m trying to cook dinner or do the dishes. 😉

mar 12 lego challenges


Another activity that we have loved recently is the “Bridge Constructor Playground (FREE)” App that I downloaded from the Apple Store onto my MacBook.  We really enjoy sitting together and trying to figure out the best materials to build a bridge that is strong and the trucks can cross.  It has valuable lessons for kids on strength of materials, strength in shapes (triangle posts are stronger than straight up and down posts), and also is a good way to start introducing the concept that everything takes money… you can’t just spend and spend and spend and expect to have enough money for whatever you want!  It’s a great game for young kids to play WITH an adult, or for older more tech savvy kids to play on their own.  We haven’t made it past the first island yet, but there are multiple levels of play once you reach certain objectives.  We haven’t made it past the first stage yet mainly because we both think it’s fun to watch the trucks/cars fall into the water when a bridge breaks… insert embarrassed Mommy grin here… 😉

mar 12 - bridge constructor


What engineering/technology activities are you enjoying with your kids?  PLEASE SHARE!  I’m always looking for new ideas to use with Becca, and I know other readers would be interested to know what you’re doing, as well!

Did you miss last month’s Mini Engineering Challenges?  Check them out here!

And, be sure to “like” my Facebook page to see more ideas shared by me and also by other bloggers!




Author: travelwchristy

I am a SPED Paraprofessional who is mom to three beautiful children, a wife to a fabulous man, and blessed beyond compare!

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