STEM Challenge With Recyclables
BY DYAN ROBSON, AND NEXT COMES L
Apr 19, 2017
My kids love to play with some of the most ordinary objects. Seriously, just ask my parents about the time my kids spent over an hour playing a game of bowling with a bulk pack of paper towel rolls...
So I often like to dig through our recycling bin to give the kids something different to play with and to challenge them to build, explore, and create on their own.
This STEM challenge with recyclables expands further on the building with loose parts by giving them a challenge to build something specific. However, no glue or tape was allowed during this challenge! That was my only rule.
Feel free to rummage through your own recycling bin and collect materials that you think your children would enjoy, but here's what we used for our STEM challenge:
- plastic applesauce containers, individual serving sized
- plastic yogurt containers, individual serving sized
- toilet paper tubes
- empty duct tape roll tubes
- bread tags
- Kleenex box
- cardboard box cut into rectangles of various sizes
- clear berry container
You can see it's a rather bland collection of materials, with the exception of the zebra Kleenex box. Totally blah, right?
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However, I posed a series of questions to my five year old son, K, to challenge him to use the materials to build specific structures. Remember, no glue or tape were allowed! Here are some prompts that I gave him:
- build a bridge
- build some kind of building or house
- build a vehicle
- build an animal
- build something to sit on
- build a piece of furniture
- build a monster
- build a board game
You can come up with your own prompts based on the recyclables that you supply your children with, but you can see that K was able to build a bridge:
A tall, skinny house.
A train with wheels that actually roll.
And since we had a zebra-themed Kleenex box, K made a zebra for the animal challenge.
Then when the kids are done playing, simply toss the materials back into your recycling bin.