Engineering STEAM Play Fort Kit Ideas For Kids
Posted July 13, 2019 by Fort Magic
Building forts has been a part of childhood for as long as anyone can remember. Research shows that creative play, such as engineering STEAM play fort building, actually promotes healthy brain development in kids and prepares children for a successful future. Here at Fort Magic, we partner with educators and parents to help children develop.
Here are a few ideas on how to use our kits to build for STEAM play.
What Is STEAM?
STEAM is an educational approach that utilizes hands-on learning and collaborative play to develop vital skills for a successful future. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, which adds Arts to the normal STEM acronym. Children who learn in a STEAM environment grow into adults with key skills for life such as teaching STEAM, critical thinking, developing new ideas, building, and learning creativity. It also helps with having a higher confidence level, empowerment, and problem-solving.
Fort Magic Encourages STEAM Skills That Help a Kid’s Developing Brain
The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain responsible for decision making, impulse control, emotions, and more. This part of your brain isn’t fully developed until around the age of 25 and how it develops largely relies on external stimuli, whether good or bad. Kids exposed to the hands-on learning environment in maker play develop this portion of their brain faster and make healthy connections.
How to Build and Use Fort Magic to Encourage Future Engineers
There’s no better way to learn the technology behind architecture than to build a fort. Learners will see how structures are engineered and use that knowledge for engineering STEAM play forts building of their own creation. Here are some steps you can take to encourage your kids to engineer their own forts.
1. Learn the Process for Fort Building with a Fort Magic Kit
The first step is to introduce your kids to the process of fort building. Pick a simple design and get to work to build the fort. Go over each step and explain everything. You can also point out the architectural design and why it works to produce a solid fort.
You can go over things such as how a cube design only works if all the sides are equal in length. Or, if you’re building a taller fort why it’s important to start with a bigger base.
2. Provide Materials for a Fort
Of course, every good fort starts with good materials. You can build dozens of designs with just a Fort Magic building kit. You can also use fabric such as old sheets of paper to cover your fort. You’ll want to lay everything out so that it’s easily accessible as your kids start to build their own fort.
3. Practice Basic Steps for Fort Building
Practicing things over and over grows new connections in your brain. That’s how you learn new behaviors and the more you practice, the better you get at it. STEAM skills are all about using the information they have gathered through their practice to figure out the best solution.
Use a more basic fort design to have them practice the process of building over and over. If you have several kids working on the same fort, they can take turns doing different jobs to construct the fort. This will help them learn how to collaborate on an engineering STEAM play fort building project together.
4. Step Back and Let Them Build
The important part of STEAM skills is to let your kids work on their own. You provide the materials and know-how and then see what they can come up with. This step is all about them using what they’ve learned to learn some more by trial and error. Remember, it’s not about the end result. It’s about the build process.
5. Provide Encouragement
It’s important to provide lots of encouragement along the way. Your kids will probably get frustrated as things don’t go the way they wanted. They’ll need lots of encouragement to keep going. They will feel more confident and empowered once they get through the frustration and actually make something with their own hands.
6. Resist the Urge to Take Over
As an adult, it’s easy to step in when they’re feeling frustrated or struggling. In order for them to gain the full benefits of maker play and learning STEAM skills, they need to do everything on their own. The process is about learning and developing problem-solving skills. They won’t be able to do this if they can’t come up with solutions to build on their own.
7. Celebrate Their Achievements
Remember, it’s not about ending up with a successful fort. It’s about achieving something all on their own, no matter how that looks. And, it’s worth celebrating! Make sure you provide lots of praise and encouragement after they go through the process.
More Fort Magic Building Ideas For Your Inspiration 🙂
Here are some of our fort building ideas to get you started! Blast off your space travel education with a rocket fort. Learn about sea travel with a pirate ship. Take a step back in time with a castle fort. Learn about early North American history with a teepee fort. Or, dive into ocean life with a submarine fort.
These ideas to build a fort will help you develop your kid’s skills and prepare them for their future.
The Artful Parent Blog: One of our absolute favorite creative blogs for children and families. The Artful Parent blog is filled with simple ideas to fill your family’s life with art and creativity. A must-see blog for sure.
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