7 No-Prep Engineering Projects for Kids

At SUPA STEM, we love finding new ideas for engineering activities for kids that will keep our little ones engaged for hours on end.

There’s nothing like enjoying a nice cup of coffee whilst watching your kids have fun learning – their proud smiles as they show off their creations are priceless!

Today we’ve put together some suggestions for super simple STEM building activities that will help build your kids’ confidence, challenge their problem-solving skills and improve their fine motor skills too.

Check out our list of awesome engineering activities for kids. Several of them work great for outdoor construction play too!

1. Marshmallow and spaghetti building

marshmallow and spaghetti stem engineering activity idea

This activity challenges kids to build 3D and 2D shapes using only marshmallows and dry spaghetti. Out of all the fun engineering activities for kids that we’ve tried, this is one of our favourites.

Thanks to Donna from @raisinglittlebaileys for this photo – we’re so glad your family had fun with this fun spaghetti and marshmallow challenge!

2. Jelly Bean Building

jelly bean stem activity for kids

This activity is so simple, the toughest part really is trying not to eat all the jelly beans beforehand! This jelly bean STEM activity can be done with just cocktail sticks and jelly beans.

Kids can see how high they can build a tower out of jelly beans and cocktail sticks – and even try building more complex structures like bridges.

We recommend jelly bean building if you’re looking for fun ekids engineering games for a party of rainy-day activity.

3. Playdough and lolly stick shapes

playdough and popsicle stick stem activity

Just add some playdough and lolly sticks (or craft sticks) to a tray and let your kids have fun seeing how many shapes they can build! This works especially well if you’re looking for engineering projects for preschoolers.

Start them off with 2D shapes and build up to 3D shapes or even more complicated designs like a castle or fort. We’ve yet to find a little one who hasn’t enjoyed this easy playdough STEM challenge.

 4. Newspaper STEM challenge

newspaper stem challenge activity ideas

Newspaper STEM challenge ideas are always a good option because old newspapers are often readily available. Kids are amazed to find out how strong paper can be when you team it with lots of tape and a great design.

To set up a newspaper STEM activity, just lay out some tape, scissors (supervise and assist as appropriate) and lots of old newspapers. Challenge your kids to do the paper chair engineering challenge (see if they can build a chair strong enough to be sat on) or even see if they can design themselves a pair of newspaper shoes!

5. Cardboard wall run

cardboard wall run with toilet roll and pom poms

 We love recycled STEM projects, and this one couldn’t be simpler. Use masking tape and cardboard tubes to create a ball (or pom pom) run that can be as complicated or as simple as your kids like!

Cardboard wall runs make great engineering projects for teenagers too – challenge them to see how creative they can be and how far they can push the limits of their design.

6. Straw roller coaster

straw roller coaster engineering project at home

Fans of simple engineering projects for kids will love this roller coaster activity because there’s so much challenge to it but a whole load of fun too.

Using just tape, straws, and a flat surface (we used a large upturned cardboard box), kids need to create a working roller coaster ride for a small ball. They need to think about measurements, speed, how to stop the ball from flying off the track on corners and lots more.

This activity is definitely on our list of easy STEM activities you can do at home with older kids!

 7. Egg carton blocks

example of fun things to do with egg cartons

It’s always handy to find fun things to do with egg cartons, because most of us have some knocking about somewhere. Did you know egg boxes are great for making cardboard blocks for toddlers and up?

If you’re looking for stackable building blocks on a budget, this could be a good option – you can even get your kids to help make them!

Simply cut off each section, paint or decorate them however you wish and flip them over to use them as stackable building blocks once dry. Ok, we admit it – this one isn’t exactly no-prep, but since you can get your kids to make the blocks we reckon it just about counts!

For more fun engineering projects for kids, check out our range of engineering and STEM toys for kids aged 3+ here.