This article is from guest writer Dave at Yourcub.com, a great resource for parents with tips, product reviews, and activities.
Stuck at home with the kids? Raining outside? Daycare closed?
Don’t tell me, somebody locked the Grandparents away too!
Nowhere to go and out of ideas for things to do? Idle little hands can get frustrated and cranky quickly. Without something to stimulate the minds of young children, they’re going to make your stress levels go through the roof.
So I’m here to try and save the day (well, at least some of it). I’m a dad and a blogger over at yourcub.com and I recently spent a fun chunk of time with my children and a Brackitz Inventor set and thought I’d share with the inventors! We created a bunch of STEM style fun activities, and one little box kept me, a 2 and a 5 year old busy for some time and will continue to entertain us far into the future too!
Making different activities and games out of re-usable blocks is a neat trick. One that you can do again and again and you can pack one box and take lots of different games with you when you travel.
STEM activities are a great break from traditional homeschooling pursuits like handwriting practice, reading practice, and math.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It’s an approach to education that helps children to learn by doing things and approaches these specific subjects in a way that’s fun and offers real-life problem-solving benefits. Children are encouraged to experiment, take control of the experience (sometimes with your guidance) and learn cause and effect from the things they do.
This type of learning is becoming more popular because (as you’ll see when you try it), kids love to be involved in activities with you, they learn from you and they love to learn through experimentation. That’s really what play is.
Here are 5 of the most fun things we did. Feel free to copy them, improve on them, and make up your own. Once you get the hang of it it’s really pretty easy.
Most of these activities will need you to help out, especially with younger children. But don’t be afraid to help. Working and playing together is exactly what this is all about!
One of the simplest and maybe even the best exercises to stimulate a bit of critical thinking in a child is to ask them to simply copy something you’ve done. You’ve probably noticed that children learn through copying. They do everything you do, and they want to be able to do everything you can do.
To build a little structure, give them the same pieces, and ask them to build one like yours. They’ll be keen to emulate you, learn a little about how you did it, and what you did in the process.
We just happened to have a kids golf set handy, but if you’re into garden games you may have a croquet mallet or some other stick and ball combination lying around! Challenge your little ones to make a fun course for it.
We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of impossible shots and amazing golf ball runs…. There’s no need to go that far. Little kids will get a kick out of just making a course with 4-5 bridges or obstacles and a goal and then completing it!
A simple game, but one of the first games I learned to play with my son. This might require you to guide a little. Maybe give them just enough pieces to build the board and then either guide them, or let them figure out how to put it together. This will exercise some planning skills in your child and the end result is also useful!
There’s also the job of figuring out what you want to use as the playing pieces and counting them out. What’s the most you can possibly need each?
Challenge your little ones to build a bridge. But not just ANY bridge. Give them a goal to achieve.
I thought it would be fun to build a bridge that we could drive a toy tank through that would also be strong enough to hold up a drinks bottle.
You might need to guide here a little because sometimes understanding how to make structure strong and stable isn’t something that’s obvious to young children. But they’ll learn from your guidance.
Here’s our completed bridge!
Challenge your toddler to build a staircase for one of the favorite figures. Ours had to get the Green Goblin from the floor and onto the couch! This is another opportunity to teach your little ones about structures, how they need support. Does a staircase stand up by itself?
That’s just 5 activities we came up with, there’ll be many more I’m sure. Brackitz are easy for little hands to use and great for building big strong structures quickly and easily.
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