Monday, November 9, 2015

Problem Solving with Cubes and Craft Sticks

Engineering and Building Challenges for Preschoolers

We used a limited choice of only cubes and craft sticks to set up these party games. Fun and easy challenges sparked an interest in building and got kids problem solve and create till the end. It seems like a long article, but the quick challenges took about 5 minutes to complete, followed by extended free play.

And My Firefly keeps building and creating ever since!


Building and Problem Solving with 3 Cubes

  • For the first challenge, only 3 blocks were offered with the question, "What can we build with only 3 blocks?" Kids came up with the stairs/a car and a small castle.
  • Can we make a door/window for this castle? (picture 3 below).
  • Can we make 2 windows? (picture 4 below). What else does this structure look like? Do you need more cubes?


Building and Problem Solving with 6 cubes

Can we build more with 6 blocks then with 3 blocks?

Kids were able to build towers, stairs, trains, snakes, and castles. The challenges:
  • add more windows,
  • make a castle round,
  • can the train turn?


Building and Problem Solving with 6 Blocks and Craft Sticks

The wooden cubes we used are Alphabet Puzzle Block Set from Fisher Price, set of 30. Amazon affiliate link: Fisher-Price ABC Alphabet Puzzle Block Set (Little People), 30-Piece

The wooden jumbo craft sticks (a set of 300) are of a nice quality and were found at Walmart, craft section.

Kids were happy to add sticks to their building supplies. The challenges:
  • Can the tiger go up/down the stairs?
  • Can you build a gate for this princess (the height of 3 blocks up required for this doll).
  • Here is a river! The tiger needs a bridge! But now he can't climb up - he needs a bridge with the stairs!
  • Can you build the longest bridge ever? 


Problem Solving with Cubes and Craft Sticks: Time to Get Creative and Pretend Play!

The quick challenges that went from simple to more complex left kids happy building and with the nice sense of accomplishment.

Pictured below, we used a piece of felt underneath this structure to prevent the base cubes from sliding. The last cube requires a little concentration to balance.


The "longest bridge ever" turned into fun mazes for Minnie.


These friends loved playing in the construction zone and testing all the structures for safety and stability. Engineering and pretend play that came together are such a wonderful mix for the developing brain!


This snake took a minute to build, but turned out very manageable.


Happy engineering and building with your kids! Have they created something interesting recently?

More Problem Solving and Building Ideas from My Bright Firefly

Fantastic Forest Sculptures: The Thinker by Auguste Rodin
Roll or Stack? Explore Geometric Solids Hands-on
Northern Lights. Sunset and Sunrise.

(Click on the picture below to enlarge it.)


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