Engineering is one of our most popular workshops and, when thinking about early STEM, many people will picture scenarios like children building a tower with building blocks or trying to cross a river by placing rocks and sticks in strategic ways. Children are natural builders and inventors who are not afraid of trying things out and getting their hands dirty. It is not surprising that problem-solving and construction are popular topics in children’s books. We have narrowed the abundance of material down to three books that provide slightly different angles on the topic:
In Room on the broom, a witch makes friends along her journey, who all join her on her broom until it breaks in two and has to be replaced with a new, “magnificent” broom that has special accommodations for all the travellers, including a shower for the frog. In addition to comparing the simple broom from the beginning with the complex one at the end, there are many technical experiments the children could do to investigate broom construction and aerodynamics.
Thinking outside the box is highly valued in engineering and many other areas and is celebrated in Going places. The story demonstrates how an innovative mind can help you win the race: When all the other children follow the building instructions, Maya, inspired by a bird, builds a flying go-kart.
Looking at building in both a practical and a metaphorical sense, What we’ll build talks about parent and child building a house, a home, a future and love together. The story might get the children thinking about how many things we use daily that had to be built by someone and how important they are for our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Although children are such natural creative engineers, they will benefit from reading these and other books about others’ efforts in inventing and construction. As usual, books offer new perspectives and new ideas – which are just as necessary as tools and materials for engineers.
With our book recommendations, we want to spark an interest in children to discover STEM in their everyday lives. Most books go beyond the obvious STEM connections and can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas further.
Learn more: Book a STEM workshop.
Article author: Kerstin Johnson
Content Editor & Resources Developer
Kerstin is our editor and looks after all the content at Little Scientists. Her aim is to make everything as engaging and user-friendly as possible for workshop participants.