Get Kids Into Engineering With The Holidaymakers!

This week we’re getting involved with The Year of Engineering and enjoying their summer challenges and fun activities to keep their minds active.

Engineers are what makes our modern world go round, without engineers there would be no bridges, mobile phones, clean water, computer games or power stations of any sort!  So it’s important that our children can understand how engineering works and be given the opportunity to take it as a career path if they choose to.

I know my eldest has a particular interest in how things work and can definitely see him being one of the engineers of the future.  Building bridges and constructing various tunnels and obstacles for his train tracks is a popular hobby of his at the moment.  Perhaps he will be involved in building real bridges in the future!

The Holidaymakers

As part of the year of engineering, the UK government have set up a summer section to the website called The Holidaymakers with lots of activities, videos and weekly challenges to complete.  There are also a variety of different events throughout the UK to attend.

I really love the look of the RAF100 Tour at Glasgow Science Centre, open from 31st August to 2nd September 2018.  They will have an interactive STEM and Techno zone as well as several aircraft on display.  It sounds like a great way to get into engineering, plus there are loads of other fantastic STEM exhibits at the science centre.

events website page

You can print out your own holiday journal from the website to keep track of your child’s progress through the activities.  You can try the activities listed on the site at any time, we love the look of the water wheel and have added that to our list of activities to try out later this week.  However, today we are going to be showing you how we got on with the weekly challenge.

Each week a new challenge is revealed and this week it is the turn of the Chain Reaction.  We headed over to the challenge section of the website to download the challenge sheet and get started.

setting up a chain reaction with books, ball and glitter

The idea of this challenge is to use a variety of household items to create a chain reaction, a domino effect that makes 1 thing happen after another.  The suggestion on the challenge worksheet is of domino’s knocking a toy car forward that bursts a balloon withe the needle attached to it’s roof.

creating a chain reaction

We chose to create a chain reaction using books, a ball, little people and glitter!  First we lined up the books on edge, then balanced a ball on top of a taller book with the hope it would fall off, roll and hit the game box.  The little cake case on top of the game box is full of glitter and as to tip on top of the knight.  Unfortunately I could only find red glitter, so it does look a bit like the knight has died a sparkly death.

knight lying in red glitter

chain reaction smiling boy

After this attempt, which didn’t always work 100%, with the ball falling the wrong direction and not knocking the glitter over, we went outside.

rolling a ball toward a gutter to make a toy car fall in the water

Outside we took a large red ball, lined it up with some guttering, placed a car at the top of the gutter and a bucket of water at the bottom.  When my son rolled the ball toward the gutter it bumped the car, which slid down and splashed into the bucket of water.  It worked every time, probably because this particular chain reaction was a lot simpler.

chain reaction outside

It was great fun setting up the chain reactions and seeing my son come up with new ideas of what to do and how to solve the problems.  This type of activity is always brilliant for innovation.

Once you have completed the challenge share on social media or email the address on the challenge sheet to enter the prize draw to win a sleepover at the Science Museum.  Fingers crossed!

Don’t forget to go back to the website every week for the new challenges!

Why Engineering?

If you are still wondering why we want to get kids interested in engineering then click here to watch some of these great videos from the Year Of Engineering.  I particularly love the Engine Ears video, it’s great for getting younger kids to understand how much engineering is involved in our everyday lives.

engineering video

It’s amazing just how many things that we use that involve engineering!  I do wonder if our eldest will become an engineer, he certainly has a love of building and inventing.

So what are you waiting for?  Lets get engineering!

* I’m working with BritMums promoting #TheHolidayMakers campaign, sponsored by The Year of Engineering. It’s all about getting children excited about engineering with fun and stimulating activities that will keep them engaged all summer long. Check out https://www.yearofengineering.gov.uk/theholidaymakers to find activities for your child, including challenges in which they could win cool prizes!

10 Comments

  1. July 27, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    I love the sparkly-glitter end for that knight. Also love the idea of being able to print out your own holiday journal with activities. Such great ways to learn about possibilities for engineering for kids!

  2. July 29, 2018 / 10:56 am

    This sounds like a fantastic initiative! My son is really interested in science and how things work, he loves taking things apart. We’ll definitely have to check this out to get some good ideas of things to do over the holidays. Sleepover at a science museum is also such a great incentive. Do you think you will visit the tour at the Glasgow museum of science? I would love to see a review if you do! ☺️

  3. July 29, 2018 / 4:58 pm

    Ohh this looks fab! I am always trying to encourage my girls’ interest in engineering because females are so underrepresented in STEM roles. I’m going to have a look at the holiday makers campaign, it looks ideal for us.
    Nat.x

  4. July 30, 2018 / 8:16 pm

    Sounds like an incredible initiative and I love that the knight ended up covered in glitter, what a fun activity!

  5. July 31, 2018 / 4:32 pm

    Lovely to see great fun and learning both inside and outdoors. Perfect all year round but especially during the holidays when children can get bored a bit so easily. Superb for home educators too.Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.

  6. August 6, 2018 / 8:48 am

    What an amazing idea. Looks like I need to see what I can do with my daughter’s near here. I see a couple of pin a on the map that might be near enough. The home activities look great too.

  7. August 6, 2018 / 10:15 am

    What a great idea – I always struggle with finding fun things for the kids to do!

  8. August 9, 2018 / 9:46 am

    That looks like lots of fun – we set up a similar course to burst a balloon and Eliza managed to burst it when I wasn’t filming – took us another 15 takes to do it again!! LOL

  9. August 9, 2018 / 10:43 am

    AHHHH all that glitter!!! (I have Glitter Phobia!) BUT what fun as well. I love the chain reaction challenge. Loads of fun and great easy engineering project for kids.

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