Intuitive designs, and the logistical implementation of those designs, have truly made our world’s infrastructure the mega, modern giant that it is today. Thank the engineers!
Kids will learn plenty about the natural world in science class, but they don’t often get insight into the human-engineered world that we are very much a part of. Here’s how you can get kids interested in engineering, while having them benefit from the intellectual value that it offers.
Talk about engineering feats in the world around them
A great place to start is to point out what engineering looks like in real life. It looks like a bridge. It looks like the highways you drive on. It looks like the engine under the car hood. It looks like turning on your tap and having the water drain out of sight. Engineering is essentially involved in everything. But, a child may not be able to grasp vastness on that scale.
To really spark interest in your child, you can mention some of the biggest and most impressive engineering feats around the world. Whether it’s the tallest tower in Canada or a famed bridge in the USA, it’s important for kids to understand that humans with an idea (that were also once kids) were responsible for making these achievements happen.
Introduce games with an engineering focus
Games are a great way to get children interested in engineering. This site has engineering games for kids that includes fun building exercises, puzzles, and creative challenges:
Also, the game phenomenon Minecraft is being used to spark interest in engineering and science in an educational setting. This might just make an extra hour of Minecraft on a school night not so bad after all!
The value of thinking like an engineer
By introducing engineering to kids, you are also introducing a new way to think and process information.
Engineering has been known to develop a number of desirable skills:
- Problem solving and resourcefulness: Children can learn how to imagine the ‘big picture’ and solve problems simply and efficiently.
- Critical thinking and ‘reverse engineering’: This is being able to understand how things work. Being able to take things apart and know each piece’s function as it relates to a whole. We all know a telephone places a call after we dial, but how does it actually happen?
- Leadership and teamwork: Engineering is often a collaborative process when it comes to implementing ideas. Knowing how to work effectively with others is a huge component to any successful engineering feat.
If you have a young child especially, it’s likely the term ‘engineering’ will be a word they’ve never heard before. That’s why you should start talking to them about engineering early! This is so they can potentially benefit from the skills listed above and forever appreciate the human-made world around them!