Open-ended invitations lead to so much learning. In this STEAM Creations Challenge you’ll only need three common materials. Kids will use their own creativity and problem solving to create anything they are inspired to build using the materials. This would be great to set up as a maker space in the classroom, an after school activity, or a summer boredom buster.
STEAM Creations Challenge Details
- Paper-We used scrapbook paper to make it more decorative but you could use plain paper too. Cardstock might be good to help make the creations more sturdy. I precut the paper into squares and triangles using my well-loved paper cutter (affiliate), but you could vary how you present the paper.
- Tape-We chose to use colorful washi tape, but regular scotch tape will work very well too.
- Straws-We chose paper straws, but you can use regular drinking straws or various wooden dowels if you have them on hand too.
- Scissors (optional)
Once you have gathered your materials there’s not too much to do other than sit back and observe. Other than setting the materials out on the table for the girls to explore I showed them one simple tip for creating hinged corners using the tape, one straw, and two pieces of paper. Since this was their first attempt at this type of creation I thought that would help them get started, and it did.
Time for Creating
I find it so interesting to watch kids as they tackle these kinds of challenges. They each bring their own set of background knowledge, assumptions, and creativity to the activity, and it’s so neat to see what develops as a result.
A Developing Process Approach
My youngest daughter started with no real end product in mind. Instead she began adding bits and pieces here and there and her “plan” changed as different pieces were added.
She started with a flying “bird”. Then when she was done with that she decided to ad some additional elements and experiment with connecting multiple straws using the tape.
She couldn’t quite get the straws secure enough to stay, but when she was done she realized she had a pretty cool “umbrella”.
Watching her use trial and error to come up with completely new ideas was so inspiring. It reminded me of one of our favorite books Beautiful Oops (affiliate). I love the way she takes on a new challenge without getting too frustrated when things don’t work out.
Ultimately she created a “pirate ship” before wrapping up her creation time and heading off to play with it.
A Product Focused Approach
My oldest daughter went about this challenge in a very different way. It may be that she’s older or that her personality is just different, or more likely a combination of both, but she started with an end product in mind and then worked to create her vision.
First she created a “house” using the tip I originally showed her. Then through that project she got the idea for creating a paper “car.” This was much more challenging for her to design than the house, but she stuck with it.
When she was finished she had a “car” for her dolls to ride in.
And like her sister she went off to play with her new creations.
I love how this STEAM activity started as a challenge to create something and then led straight into an afternoon of pretend play together (a treat with siblings who sometimes prefer to play apart).
We hope you give this a try with your kiddos! If you do share a photo on Instagram and tag us with @fantasticfunandlearning. Or pop over to Facebook and share on our Fantastic Fun and Learning Facebook page. We’d LOVE to see what your kids come up with!