Build a strong foundation of engineering knowledge with the help of our trusted 1st grade engineering challenges. These activities encourage a hands-on approach and require that learners use problem solving skills, ingenuity and creativity to complete each challenge.

1. Bridge building

Provide your students with the necessary resources for them to build a bridge. Measure its structural capacity by seeing how much weight it can hold.

2. Paper Airplanes

Using construction paper or a relatively sturdy piece of paper, make paper airplanes! This clever STEM activity can be further enjoyed outside where learners would fly their planes and compete to see whose plane goes the furthest.

3. Water bottle Fountain

Build a water bottle fountain to depict that although air is see-through, it still takes up space.

4. Engineer an instrument

Students are prompted to design an instrument that can produce different sounds that can be heard across a room. The students are further challenged to design a tuning mechanism for their instrument.

5. Jellybean Structures 

Encourage creative design by asking your students to build any structure using jelly beans and toothpicks. This simple STEM lesson wonderfully introduces concepts of stability and balance.

6. Balancing Robot

This quick STEM challenge allows students to learn about balance and centers of gravity. Students are given two coins and are asked to place them on the robot in a way that ensures it is balanced.

7. Solar Oven

Get crafty and enjoy a snack whilst doing so! This solar oven project is perfect for hot summer days and challenges learners to make use of their oven to melt chocolate and marshmallows to create smores.

8. Domino Chain Reaction

Design, creativity, and patience work together to help learners design a domino chain reaction. Encourage students to come up with as many domino design chains as possible!

9. Marble Maze Craze

On a paper plate, build a marble maze! As an added challenge, encourage your students to add in obstacles for the marble to go over, under, or through.

10. Cup tower

Build a structure with STEM learning! Set a time and see who can build the tallest tower of cups. This activity is great for individual or pair and group work.

11. DIY Kite

Be a high-flyer with your very own make-at-home, aerodynamic kite! This activity requires the use of simple household items such as newspaper, scissors, string, and tape.

12. Build a mini city

Using toilet rolls, 1st graders should design a mini-city. Encourage creativity by prompting your child or learners to paint their city and even give it a name!

13. Build an army launcher

Students will enjoy catapulting various objects from their launchers. Challenge the learners to make their catapult as strong as possible in order to shoot various objects from the spoon. Have competitions to see whose design can launch an object the furthest.

14. Build Famous Landmarks 

Turn this into a community-building task by challenging your entire class to build famous landmarks using blocks or other classroom equipment. Teachers should provide students with a picture to replicate in their 3D building task.

15. Straw Roller Coaster

Develop engineering skills by using scotch tape, glue, or blu tack to connect a plastic straw roller coaster. Once your rollercoaster is complete, use a lightweight ball to test it out!

16. Balloon mover

Have fun designing 3 techniques to move a balloon from one end of the classroom to another without using your hands.

17. Spilling top mania

The perfect STEM construction challenge- Design your very own spinning top using paper, beads, toothpicks, and more!

18. Float your Junk Boat

Students are challenged to design a  floating boat using junk or oddball materials. Learners can then float their junk boats in a plastic pool and even have races using straws to blow their boat from one side to the other.

19. Build the tallest tower

Using pegs and popsicle craft sticks, tackle this fun engineering design challenge to help strengthen hand-eye coordination!

20.  Egg drop Project

Students are encouraged to design a protective layer for eggs so that when they are dropped, they do not break. This fun engineering activity has even prompted learners to design egg parachutes!

The engineering challenges listed above provide both teachers and parents the perfect opportunity to engage learners in hands-on tasks. These challenges allow learners to develop crucial skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, and more! Their use within a classroom or home environment, should not be underestimated, but instead incorporated into everyday learning. Learning is better facilitated when it is done in a fun manner, and these activities tick that box perfectly!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I teach Engineering to a first grader?

All engineering activities and teachings should be visually supported. Teachers or Parents should consider designing models for children to first see and analyze, before being expected to work on an engineering challenge independently.

What engineering activities are appropriate for a first grader?

Simple activities are always best for introducing new concepts. Fun building and craft related tasks are perfect for younger learners who have very limited engineering knowledge.

How do I introduce engineering to my child?

Explain that there are different types of engineers and actively engage your child in simple activities that demonstrate the real-world techniques employed by engineers, builders and creators.