This STEM engineering is a fun and healthy way to encourage your little one to construct interesting shapes and structures. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with. It will encourage and enhance; problem solving, motor skills and hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, the capacity for creative, divergent thinking, social skills, and language skills.
You will need:
- Wooden toothpicks
- Fruit of your choice, we used grapes, strawberries, blueberries, apples, raspberries
- Some fruit works better than others, if you’ve got an ageing grapes in the fridge they work brilliantly. Use whatever you have at hand
SAFETY FIRST: Before you start, talk to your child about how to use toothpicks responsibly. If you are concerned, either snip off the sharp tip, (they still work well) or use spaghetti, (uncooked of course). Spaghetti isn’t as robust as tooth picks but it’s your choice. I’ve used toothpicks in the classroom, without mishap over many years.
If you plan to eat the fruit when you’ve completed the activity, make sure hands and fruit are washed before you begin.
- Lay out fruit and toothpicks, large fruit such as apples needs to be sliced and chopped. Smaller fruit can be used whole, but experiment. The beauty of this activity is there is no right or wrong way.
- Connect the toothpicks with your chosen fruit to make shapes, start with 2D until they get the idea then let their imagination and creativity flow, as you move on to 3D. You will quickly learn which shapes are stable and those which are less so.
- Celebrate your structures by sending us a picture of your amazing constructions.
You can even eat your failures so no one will ever know!
If you are less health conscious you can use mini marshmallows instead of fruit.
Try and build the tallest structure that can stand unsupported.