We partnered with Play-Well TEKnologies to host a LEGO®-inspired Engineering Workshop.
I consider myself a life-long learner. My love for learning began when I was a little kid and hasn't stopped. I can get extremely passionate about certain subjects, craving to learn everything I can about something. This is one of my favorite things about little kids, because they are naturally curious about the world around them.
My daughter likes to know how things work. Her mind is constantly churning, as evidenced by randomly asking how planets or robots are made. Wanting to know why this works but that doesn't. Sometimes she stumps me, but we do our best to answer her questions, conduct experiments, let her test things, and look up information.
How to Inspire Kids to Pursue Engineering Activities
Both my daughter and son enjoy building with DUPLO and LEGO® bricks at home. My daughter's creations are moving beyond simple towers, but I want to help encourage her to get even more creative with building. The opportunity to work with Play-Well TEKnologies to host a 90 minute workshop at our local library was perfect.
Provide Hands-On Learning Opportunities
Rissa invited several of her friends and we also left it open for other children at the library to walk-in and join the class. About half of the kids that attended walked in, curious about the program in the community room.
The kids began by free building with whatever LEGO® pieces they wanted until it was time to start the project of the day: a pull back car made out of LEGO® bricks.
The kids eagerly gathered in a circle around the Play-Well Instructor. Before class started, she told me she attends a local engineering college. Considering about half of the kids attending the workshop were girls and women are underrepresented in STEM fields, I thought it was an added bonus for them to learn from a woman.
While sitting in a circle, she identified all the parts they would be using to build their cars and quickly assembled one. Initially, I thought the instruction was too quick because the children didn't have their parts to build along with her.
It didn't take long before realizing I hadn't given the children enough credit.
After the instructor was done showing them how to make a pull back car, most of the kids gathered their pieces and assembled their own versions with little help. The instructor assisted kids as needed, but it was amazing how well they retained the multi-step instructions.
Once everyone made their car, they had fun racing them. I was shocked how far those cars drove!
At the end of the workshop, all of the kids helped put everything away. They gathered in a circle one more time to discuss what they built and how it worked. It was an incredibly fun workshop that encouraged creativity while teaching physics and engineering. Those 90 minutes flew by!
Provide Building Materials
Leading up to the workshop, my daughter couldn't wait to attend and kept asking what they would make. Now, she wants to make a pull back car at home. We don't have the parts we need yet, but it's clear we need to offer a wider variety of building materials for her and her brother!
Here are a few items we're thinking about ordering from Amazon (affiliate links):
- LEGO® Technic Power Function Accessory Box
- The LEGO® Technic Idea Book: Fantastic Contraptions
- The LEGO® Technic Idea Book: Wheeled Wonders
Encourage Creativity and Continued Learning
If you have the opportunity for your child to attend a Play-Well TEKnologies summer camp or after-school program, we highly recommend it! My daughter keeps asking when we can do another workshop. Maybe we'll look into having them for her birthday party.
Continue the fun with even more LEGO-inspired learning activities!
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