How’s social distancing going for you and your family? We’re at the end of our 3rd week with the family all staying home 24/7. My husband is working from home, and I’ve been doing my best to home school my kids on weekdays. Texas has ordered all schools to remain closed at least until May 4th, so we have at least one more month of homeschooling.

I’ve been trying to keep a structured daily routine to keep myself and the kids on track and motivated. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. Some days the kids have very little screen time, some days they watch TV and use the iPad most of the day. We’re all figuring this out as we go.

Here’s a brief overview of the routine that has been working best for us: eat breakfast, get dressed and brush teeth, STEAM Activity, Walk/scavenger hunt/outside game, Kindergarten/preschool work, lunch, reading time, nap/quiet time, free time, more school work as required, free time, dinner, walk/bike ride, bed time routine/reading.

The highlight of my day is usually our STEAM activity. I plan a new activity to do with my kids daily and I’ve been sharing them on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. I’m going to start sharing the activities daily here on the blog too. I’ll share the previous day’s activity every morning so you can try it at home with your kids that day.

I’ll eventually try to catch up and share our previous STEAM activities on here in separate posts as well, so be looking for lots of new posts coming from me over the next month!

I hope these posts help give you ideas to keep your kids busy and help keep you motivated too. Knowing I am helping other moms in my same situation keep their kids busy doing fun education activities is what has kept me motivated to keep trying new STEAM activities with my kids – even when my kids aren’t overly thrilled with their mom teaching them.

Today’s STEAM activity is building a cup tower your kids can stand on!

My kids love playing with and stacking plastic cups and this is a great way to build on that activity!

MATERIALS:

  • Paper or plastic cups
  • Cardboard

PROCEDURE:

  1. Ask your child to try to stand on a single cup. What happens?
  2. Now explain we will build a structure that allows us to stand on the cups without breaking them – because it distributes your weight across many cups
  3. Evenly space 9 cups in a 3 x 3 square
  4. Cut the cardboard into a square the same size as your 3×3 cup square
  5. Place the cardboard on top of the cups
  6. Now help your child stand in the cardboard, does it hold their weight?
  7. Continue adding layers in the same way until it won’t hold their weight or gets too high. We made it to 4 layers until my kids were scared to go any higher.
  8. Now let your kids have fun with the cups and cardboard and build any structures or towers they like. Let them create and play!

STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:

  • Engineering: engineers solve problems. We had a problem of how to stand on a cup and found a solution by distributing the weight across many cups and using a cardboard box as a platform
  • Building: Making towers and structures is a great engineering skill. Your kids have to discover what makes a tower stand strong without falling over. They must start with a strong bottom layer (foundation), and then they can begin to build upward
  • Gravity: inevitably the towers will fall. They may fall on their own from getting too tall or a misplaced cup, or they may fall when you push them down or throw an object at them (force). Gravity is what makes the cups fall to the ground rather than remain suspended in space when they fall.

My kids can play with the cups making towers all afternoon. They love this activity and I love that they love building. They’re learning to think like an engineer and visualize the structures in 3D, which is so important in engineering!

If you liked this tower building activity, check out my previous tower building activity post where I teach you to build towers with magnetic blocks to practice shapes and learn about gravity.

Do your kids build cup towers at home? Have you ever tried standing on them? I hope you give it a try with your kids

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