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20+ Engineering STEM Challenges With Simple Materials

20+ Engineering STEM Challenges With Simple Materials

These 20 Engineering STEM Challenges are great because they use simple materials you probably have at home already.. and they are fun!

I don’t know about you, but the supplies in my home right now are a little scarce. Now that we have to homeschool our kids for the first time, I realize how important it is to do engineering activities with my kids.

STEM is an excellent opportunity for your kids to get interested in things like architecture and building without having to open up a textbook! These STEM challenges are great excellent motor practice, and give your kids a chance to build something awesome! Here are some engineering STEM challenges that use simple materials you probably already have at home.

Engineering STEM Challenges with Simple Materials

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1. Build A Hand Crank Winch

Put those paper roll tubes to good use!

2. Cork Raft

Can you make this raft float?

3. Stick Tracks Transportation Investigation Station

Great for train lovers! And an easy STEM challenge for younger kids.

4. DIY Magnetic Marble Run

Your kids have probably played with a version of this at the science center. Why not create one at home?

5. How Strong is an Eggshell?

The answer might actually surprise you.

6. Cheerio Towers 

Kids can use play dough and spaghetti… and of course every kid’s favorite cereal. A low prep and high fun activity. 

7. Easter Egg Stacking Challenge

This would be an excellent addition to the annual Easter Egg Hunt. 

8. Shape Build-Up

A fantastic way for Kindergartners to learn shapes. 

9. Engineer Launchers

These launchers are super cool. Spend the afternoon making these and have fun launching them!

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10. Summer Engineering Project

Can you make your watermelon float?

11. How to Build the Eiffel Tower

See if your kids can build a replica of the Eiffel Tower (or any other structure) with rolls of paper.

12. Solo Cup Engineering Challenge

This is a great activity for preschoolers, but could also be a fun challenge for grade-schoolers as well. 

13. Easy Upcycled Catapult 

This is the simplest catapult you can imagine but would be so much fun for younger kids.

14. One Minute Marshmallow Engineering Challenge

Marshmallows and wooden sticks. See if your kid’s can build a tall tower!


15. Peeps Parachute STEM Challenge

Can you make a PEEPS Parachute that actually works? Challenge on!

16. Castle STEAM Challenge

Build a castle with a working draw bridge! This is a really fun idea and it could literally take almost the entire day.

17. Water Clock Easy STEM Activity

This clock really works! Such a neat STEM experiment.

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18. C is for Catapult

Another great catapult idea that uses craft sticks. Challenge your kids to see whose catapult launches farther. 

19. Funicular Trains Pulleys

It’s really cool to see how string and cups can be turned into a train pulley.

20. Create a Rock Maze

Create a maze and use it as a highway for toy cars and other vehicles.

21. Rosie Revere Hovercraft

Learn about this famous character from WWII history and build a hovercraft!

22. How to Make a Conveyor Belt

This would be awesome to make for a LEGO toy.

23. Mystery Tinker Bag

This is a cool and surprisingly simple idea that combines engineering with creativity.

24. How to Make a Simple Bridge for Toy Cars

Structural engineering challenge for the win!

25. Easy Spinning Top Marker Art

This is a fantastic STEM activity for preschoolers and toddlers. A great introduction to engineering.

26. Stone Age Tools Engineering Challenge

Build a tool you could have used during the Stone Age!


27. DIY Pulley 

Use your stairs and see what you can transport from one level to another!

28. Strong Shapes 

Help your kids build shapes with simple paper.

29. Build Magnetic Metal Robots

Yes, you can actually build a simple robot with magnets. How awesome is that?!

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Check out these fun STEM ideas too!

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