6 Building Activities to Introduce Engineering Basics

Hands-on play is a great way to get children involved in a project and excited about certain topics. Naturally, construction activities are the ultimate learn-by-doing experiment and they can teach children about maths, design and science. Building activities also teach a variety of problem-solving skills, fine motor skills and encourage creativity for kids of all ages. Even young learners start building things with their hands and we all know a few older kids who get more satisfaction from destroying things. 

Luckily, you don’t need many materials outside of what’s already in your classroom or home to do most of these projects. To make things even easier, each of the building activities below come with a free printable so this is light on your budget too. 

For most of the projects below, you’ll only need to print and download the printables and grab some scissors and art supplies. Other activities like the building games may require special items like marshmallows, toothpicks, nuts and bolts, Lego, and spaghetti. 

For young learners

Marshmallow shapes

If toothpicks can’t be trusted in tiny hands, you can use straws and larger marshmallows to challenge children to build different shapes. As kids construct their shapes, they’ll learn how many sides and corners each shape has. 

Machine matching exercise

Some kids are fascinated by big machines while others may not be as interested. For this activity, have your class match each machine with their action and to get them up and moving, have them act out the cards like “dig” and “scoop.”

Town building

Using the printable construction signs and building structures, your class can work together to plan out their own town. Children can design and color their own houses and configure roads to maneuver through the town.

For Year 4 and above

LEGO building prompts

LEGO is common in most classrooms but to get those minds really thinking, use the prompt cards to challenge your class to use the LEGO to construct different things like a robot or car. Figuring out how to build these things will develop critical thinking and imagination. Plus, kids can learn that there isn’t always one way to solve a problem.


Design your dream home

This project is for the little designers. Using the templates, have your class colour their own dream spaces with furniture and decor. You never know who may become an interior designer or architect!

Spaghetti bridge project

We’ve all done this experiment in one way or another, but this one may be a bit advanced. Using spaghetti sticks and hot glue, older children can test out how to design different types of bridges and how much weight they support.