A S.T.E.M. Toothpick Construction | My Baba

This week’s activity was something slightly different; we decided to do something that was related to their development of S.T.E.M. skills, it stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This particular activity was focused on engineering as we were constructing our own buildings.

I have seen this activity replicated time and time again over the internet, but have only ever seen it done using two items, toothpicks and marshmallows. For our creations I put out toothpicks and 3 different materials to use for “bonding”. This allowed us to not only work on our buildings, but also experiment with which material was the best one to use during construction.

You will need:

  • Toothpicks
  • Marshmallows/Corn building blocks/ play dough

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I set out an invitation to play for when both charges got home, and then explained what we were doing and just let them create. My youngest charge took straight to it and enjoyed just making lots of triangles, my eldest charge had a good long think about what to make before diving in. While we were building, I encouraged him to try making his structure 3D, but other than that I let their imaginations do all the work.

Eldest charge constructing his foundation

Eldest charge constructing his foundation

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Youngest charge enjoying building her triangles

 

During the process we discovered that:

The best material to stick the toothpicks together was in fact the marshmallows, although the corn building blocks were not too bad. The corn building blocks were bigger so you could put more toothpicks into them, but they did have a habit of coming lose. We all agreed that the play dough was dreadful to use, it didn’t hold anything together and just broke apart.

My charges had such a blast making their structures; it was just a pity that dinnertime got in the way of their discovering.

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The play dough just wasn’t up to the task

 

This activity may help in the development of:

  • Lateral thinking
  • Creativity
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • How to manipulate material for a desired effect
  • Planning ideas out first
Her collection of triangles

His finished building

His finished building

Her collection of triangles

 

About The Author

Nanny Anita
Norland Nanny

Nanny Anita is our resident Super Nanny. Having trained at the famous Norland College, in Bath, she has over 12 years experience, working all over the world with children from 2 months to 17 years old. Nanny Anita is an expert when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained and writes a column with Leonora called 'Get Crafty' for Little London magazine. Nanny Anita has been on hand to answer our reader questions, and she provides weekly arts, crafts and activities for families to do with their children at home. She really is a modern day Mary Poppins!

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