The block center is the perfect place to introduce engineering projects for kids to design and make.
In my classroom, the center is open and available a good chunk of our preschool day. It’s heavily used, and so much playful learning takes place there.
Castle Engineering Projects for Kids
Adding real pictures of castles to the center helps inspire children to think, plan, and create their own engineering projects.
Of course, the kids don’t generally need much help coming up with their own building projects. But sometimes they’re looking for something different, and these castles can help out by sparking new ideas.
Engineering Projects for Kids Materials
Blocks of any and all types
Mini-structure book of castles (link to free printable below)
How to Prep Your Castle Mini Book
Print out the mini book of castle photos of real castles included in the free printable below. Cut the mini-pages apart (there are four of them). I’d suggest laminating the pictures so they’ll last longer.
Then hole punch the pages and add them to a binder ring. You can hang the little castle book on a hook by your block center. You could also place the castles on a bulletin board near the area, or place them near your LEGO bricks or math manipulatives.
These photos are included in our full Structure Book, which is described below.
Related: 10+ Engineering Activities for Kids
Using the Castle Structure Book
Bring out the castle pictures to show to the kiddos. Engage them in some discussion about the various castles by asking questions. Here are a few ideas:
- Which castle is your favorite? Why?
- What materials do you think were used to build this castle?
- How is this castle different from that one? How are they the same?
After talking about the castles, ask which one the children would like to recreate with blocks. Continue to engage in a conversation with the children as they decide which castle to build first. Encourage the children to have a plan in place before they start building the castle. Some questions you could ask along the way:
- Which blocks do you want to use to build this castle?
- What part of the castle should we start making first?
- I wonder what we could do to make the castle more stable?
If your students are anything like mine, they’ll love for you to take a picture of their finished product! In my classroom, we have a book about some of the structures they’ve built and a variety of photos up in the classroom showcasing their hard work.
Extend the Activity with More Engineering Projects for Kids
After building their own versions of real-life castles, challenge the children to more engineering fun! Ask them to design their very own castles!
After the little engineers have mapped out their own castles, encourage them to use materials in the block center to actively build the castles.
What engineering projects for kids have you tried recently? Which did the children find the most fun?
World Structures STEM Challenges for Your Building Center
Here’s a look at the most up-to-date version of the structure book. As I mentioned earlier, it’s grown to over 70 pages. I added more structures from around the world, as well as some of the planning pages I’ve used with students in the past. Take a peek:
32 full pages of structures from around the world.
There are a variety of countries represented, from Australia to China to Canada to Peru. I love that there are different types of structures and engineering methods.
10 full pages of castles from around the world.
This addition is perfect to use during a fairy tale theme, or with kids who are enamored with all things castles.
A flip-book version of the 42 world structures.
These are smaller versions of the structures (four to a page, instead of full-size like those mentioned above). The flip-book version is perfect for classrooms that don’t have room for the larger structure book.
Or add them to your math or fine motor center instead so the kids can build the structures with LEGO bricks or math manipulatives.
4 different building plan options.
Get the little engineers planning out what they will build with these planning sheets. Maybe they’ll use the planning pages to determine how to make a structure from the world structure book. Or maybe they’ll be inspired to create their own building masterpiece.
6 different recording pages to document what the kids have made.
These recording pages can be used in a few different ways. Kids can draw picture of what they’ve made to take home and show their parents. They can be used to keep a class record of what structures have been made throughout the year (with kid-drawn pictures or real photographs). You could even make a class book about all of the engineering projects your students have put together!
6 cover choices to add to a class-made structure book.
These cover pages are perfect for putting together a class book about what’s been made in the building center. You can combine the covers with the recording pages – laminate everything and then bind it together into a book. Or you can add everything to a three-ring binder and put the cover on the front of the binder.
Get your own World Structures STEM Book at Preschool Teacher 101.
You can also find it on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Get Your Free Printable Here
Grab a free six-page version of the world structure book by clicking on the button below. You’ll also get to join Fun-A-Day’s free email community when you download the freebie.
The free version gives you a sample of what to expect in the full 70+ pages World Structures printable. There are four full-page structures included, along with a one-page castle add-on (to make a small flip-book of four castles), and one of the building planning sheets for the kids.