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Newspaper Engineering Challenges for Children | STEM at Residence & within the Classroom

January 17, 2024
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Keeping kids entertained and learning on a budget is easy when you use recyclable materials. The possibilities for designing and building with newspapers are endless.

When you have finished reading the Sunday paper this week, hand it to your kids and see what they can create!

This is featured as part of our 50+ STEM Activities for Kids.

Newspaper structure built with kids

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links to products.

Newspaper Engineering Challenges for Kids

STEM at Home OR in the Classroom

STEM is a fancy acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I am a strong believer that all of these are connected and try to provide my children with open-ended activities that encourage creative thinking and problem-solving.

Newspaper is a great recyclable material to explore because it can be molded and crunched into different shapes. It can be rolled and connected with tape. These engineering challenges could be completed in a math class (measurement and time) or at home as an after school STEM enrichment.

Learning Objective: Students will design and build a 3-dimensional structure.

Geared for Preschool and Grade School Ages (can be modified for toddlers with strong parent support)

Materials Needed for all of the Newspaper Engineering Challenges:

Newspaper Engineering Challenges for Kids

We recommend selecting a few (3-5) to complete at a time. Use your STEM Journal to create a design plan for the challenges before building. Discuss what worked and what didn’t work.

Talk about how to strengthen and reinforce parts of your structure to keep it standing.

Can you?

Build a structure.

Build a structure that is 3 feet high.

Build a structure that is 3 feet high ONLY using your non-dominant hand.

Build a structure that is 3 feet high with at least 1 other person – WITHOUT Talking.

Build a structure that is 5 feet high.

Build a structure with a base less than 3 feet.

Build a structure with a base greater than 3 feet.

Build a structure that stands on a tripod base.

Build a structure that has a platform at the top.

Build a structure that has a platform at the top that can hold a book for 5 seconds without toppling.

Build a structure with newspaper behind your back.

Build a structure that can fit a toy inside.

Build a structure that can fit YOU inside.

Now grab a stop watch.

How high of a tower can you build in 5 minutes.

How high of a tower can you build in 15 minutes.

LOVE building challenges?

I’m always on the lookout for new building toys to add to our collection. My kids really enjoy LEGOs and GoldieBlox . 

We were just at a STEM museum for kids and these Magna-Tiles®  on a lightbox were a HIT with all of the children. We store them in bins and rotate them to keep kids excited and building.

This article is part of a Series! A collection of quick and easy projects for kids to make and do all year round using materials that you most likely have already in your craft closet!

Want more Engineering Ideas? Visit our 50+ STEM Activities for Kids

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