Making with Straws!

Here are some engineering challenges for you to try using straws. straw-e1502471008188.jpg

Making with straws:

  • Make a track for a Pit ball to cross.

  • Test Truss designs.

  • Weave straws together into a sturdy structure.

  • How many different ways can you attach straws together?

  • Can you use straws to move a puppet?

  • Try making an assortment of jewelry that includes necklaces and rings out of straws.

  • Create a bridge made of straws that spans from one edge of a box to the other.

  • Build the tallest structure that you can make using only straws.

  • Make a vehicle that can travel more than 6 feet using straws and one other type of material.

  • Build a transport vehicle.

  • How can you create a device to transport straws from one pile to another?

  • Create a presentation that use straws to provide sound effects during your presentation.

Take a picture of your project and send it to us through the comments Contact tab and we will post it.straw


Making with Cups

Here are some Cup engineering challenges for you to try.

Using Cups Challenges

Making with cups

Somehow cups seem to accumulate. They seem to multiply in the cupboards, in the recycle bin, on the table. If your house has recently purged them and there are not that many to build with, check out the dollar store. Get a Large package of cups, all the same size. Here are some engineering challenges for you to try. Take a picture of your project and send it to us through the Contact tab and we will post it.

  • What is the tallest tower you can create with the cups you have?

  • Build a labyrinth or a maze!

  • Build a pyramid similar in design to one of the ancient pyramids in Egypt.

  • How can you create the longest continuous strip from a single cup?

  • Cups have often been used to make sound effects. How many different sound effects can you make with the cups?

  • Create a creature using cups for moving body parts.

  • What kind of mask could you create from one cup, from two cups, from three cups, and from more cups?

  • Using only cups, build a bridge. What is the longest span you can create without needing tape to hold it together?

  • Create the longest bridge using cups and paper with 12″ of tape.

  • Imagine if the world was made up of only cups, now create a story about what would that world be like.

  • What else could you do with the cups without destroying them? Build one or more of your ideas.

  • Create a work of art using only cups. Make a presentation about what inspired the artwork that you will present to panel of art museum curators.

  • If you have lots of cups, design and build a structure that will hold you.

  • Make a device that uses a cup as a cam for gear.

  • Use cups and paint sticks to make each layer different. No cups can touch another cup, one layer can not have the same design as the one below it.

  • Create a vehicle that uses one or more cups to move across the floor.

Continue reading “Making with Cups”

Making Makers

Cool stuff from Obtanium! Cup play house, UFO not included.

How is it some people make stuff and some do not? I have spent the last 5 years encouraging kids to make way cool stuff out of “obtanium” (commonly recycled materials)! I started to look at the why and the how of what I was doing that encouraged kids and supported them in making things. Growing up, if there was something I wanted, my parents would say, “How could you make something like that with what you find around to make it with.” I took the challenge.

Then later on, I realized that kids needed to understand everyday materials like a carpenter or a artisan knows their medium in order to create something. With this blog, I am listing activities that help kids get to know these items in order to build awesome stuff with them! Print them out, cut them up. Use them in random or in ordered ways!

Functional “Fixedness.”

If you only see a cup as a thing to contain something else. That is all it will be!

Your challenge: Cups can become anything one can imagine. Create something using cups that others will say “wow” when they see it. Then send a pic of your creation to share with others. 



Fun kids make recyclable cup play house
Plastic Cup play house for an eraser. UFO sold separately!