We do a lot of crafts and activities here but only some of them pass the most important test – do my kids get up the next day and ask to do it again? Well I’m happy to report that this Christmas jelly babies STEM challenge passed that test!
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I’m not sure who invented the idea of using sweets and cocktail sticks to encourage engineering but it’s got to be one of the easiest ways to get kids interested in something. You could of course do this with blueberries or strawberries or something healthy but hey! I saw Jelly Santa Babies for sale and knew I needed them in my life. After all, who doesn’t like Jelly Babies and what could be better this time of year than Santa shaped ones?! They’re a nightmare to photograph though, sorry about that.
I did this activity with my daughter who has just turned three and my son who has just turned six. We’ve been doing a lot of building recently with Playmags and talking about how some shapes are more sturdy than others so I was fairly certain they’d like this. Or just that I know they really like sweets. Either way works for me.
The challenge I gave them was to see who could build the highest shape with their Santas and that they could only eat some once it was completed. Both kids were able to use the cocktail sticks to join the Santa’s together although understandably my daughter required a bit more help with building it rather than just making a long line across the table.
This activity was great for hand eye coordination as well as chatting about shapes and opening up a good chat about what shapes are needed in order to make a building that is sturdy as I reminded my son about the Pyramids in Egypt that we’d been reading about. It’s a great lesson that you can then refer to when you point out triangles in electricity pylons!
I’m not sure who was the official winner of our challenge in the end as my daughters was highest but then she did have my help. Both kids were happy to win on Santa sweets though and my son happily told his dad that evening about how he’s been having great fun doing engineering.
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