Building and Learning
Kids love to build with toys, and they learn a lot as they do so. Young children’s constructive and dramatic play provides a natural context for identifying, addressing, and solving engineering design problems.
Building experiences connect children to core concepts in physical science. Children observe the properties of the building materials they use (whether they are hard, soft, flexible, and so on) and experience the effects of applied and “natural” forces (including gravity and friction) acting on the materials and their buildings. Their buildings stand, sway, or topple depending on how these properties and forces interact and on how children’s structures are designed. Help guide your child’s exploration by asking questions:
- Engage: What do you notice about these blocks? How are they the same? How are they different?
- Explore: Tell me about your building. How do people and animals get in and out?
- Reflect: Which blocks worked the best? What was the easiest part to build? What was the hardest part?
Visit our Discovery Days Science Program this month on February 21 and 22 as we celebrate the return of our Build It WOW! Exhibit! Discovery Days activities are open for exploration from 10:00am-12:00pm and are included with Museum admission.
Resource: Cynthia Hoisington and Jeff Winokur, “GIMME an ‘E’!: Seven Strategies for Supporting the ‘E’ in Young Children’s STEM Learning,” Science & Children (Vol 53 #1 Sept 2015): 44-51.