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  • warmara88

Drop-In STEAM Fun!

Hi Guys,

This summer we are running two separate drop-in STEAM programs. For those who don’t know, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. Basically, we plan fun crafty or activity activities for the kids that are about an hour long. We target these programs toward elementary aged students.

For this one, I decided to go with the Engineering theme but you could definitely make a case for the other STEAM elements as well. I adapted this program from Broadly, we are going to be working together to build “shelters” out of news paper and masking tape. But don’t worry, there’s a catch!

Give your attendees a few minutes to show up. Once you have a nice sized group of kids, split them up evenly into groups of four. You may have to make bigger groups depending on the number of kids you get. In my case, I have enough masking tape rolls for between 6-8 groups. Once you have your kids grouped nicely, you give them their prompt…

Imagine, you are trapped on a deserted island. There are no trees, no big rocks, nothing but sand and ocean. The sun is beating down on you! You need to build a shelter. Good thing you were shipwrecked with a boat full of newspaper and masking tape, right?!

Along with your fellow castaways you must use the newspaper and the masking tape to build a shelter that has a roof and everyone in your group must fit in it. You have ten minutes to build your shelter using the supplies in front of you. 

BUT WAIT!!! You’re on a deserted island with NOO water. You are thirsty. So thirsty! You’re so thirsty, in fact, that you can’t speak. You and your group must build your shelter without talking. If you talk, a typhoon –in the form of Ms. Maranda’s watergun– may come and destabilize your shelter. 

Are you ready? GO! 


Yes, you read that right. The kids have ten minutes to build a fort out of news paper and masking tape that MUST have a roof and the all have to fit under it. AND they have to build it all without talking or I will shoot their fort with a squirt gun. Best, STEAM activity ever!

You definitely want to reiterate the rules. The fort must have a roof and everyone must fit inside.

After the first ten minutes if no one is successful you can mix it up by telling the kids they can talk or if they really need help, that they can build off of their first shelter.

How’d it go: 


This program was an example of going with the flow. I started everything just how I said and I never had to use my water gun!! Seriously, I said they couldn’t talk for 10 minutes and they didn’t! I was literally shocked. After 10 minutes though, no one was even close to building their shelter, so I gave them another 10 minutes where they could talk and the adults could help.

By the end of the twenty minutes, I had one group make it and just barely. I never specified that their whole bodies had to be in the shelter did I? This helped a lot of the groups and by the end of the hour all the groups had shelters that could stand on their own for 30 seconds, had a roof and they fit in, in some way.

This was a lot of fun and took literally no prep!

That’s all for now!


#STEM #jprogramming #STEAM #library #kids #childrens #MakerSpace #Programming

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