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STEM For Kids - Let's Build a Bridge

Discover Early Years - STEM For Kids - Let's Build a Bridge
An activity to strengthen
An activity to strengthen
An activity to strengthen
Suitable for Discoverers ages
5-6 years old


In this activity we will:
1. Experiment with materials to figure out how materials can be used to achieve a design.
2. Plan, test and improve on how well a structure works as a bridge.


Materials you need:

  1. Paper items - paper cups, paper, newspaper, tissue roll
  2. Items of different weights – Stones vs coins
  3. Sticky tape, masking tape
  4. Wooden blocks
  5. Small boxes of different height

Set it up:

  1. Prepare strips of paper or newspaper in whole pieces and different widths.
  2. Print out different bridge structures for reference.

Steps to guide Little Discoverers

  1. Introduce the challenge which is to build a strong bridge that will hold up to five 50 cents coins.
  2. Run through the resources available for children to design their bridges. Discuss how each material feels.
  3. Let children feel the weight of five 50cents coins and discuss how they would approach their design.
  4. Support children in building their bridges, and always allow them to follow their own ideas.
  5. You can build a bridge too so you can compare both bridges.
  6. When children have completed their bridge, remind them that the challenge is to see if it can hold five 50 cents coins. Ask if they would like to make any changes before it is tested.
  7. After testing the bridge, encourage them to explain why the bridge was successful or unsuccessful.
Questions to help support their learning
  • Which material do you think will make the strongest bridge? (Critical thinking)
  • How to build a bridge that can hold up to five 50 cent coins? (Engineering)
  • How could you make your bridge more stable? (Problem solving)
  • Which would be the best way of joining those pieces together? (Critical thinking)
  • Does your bridge need anything else? (Engineering)


This bridge planning, designing and building activity provide the opportunity for children to gain knowledge and hands-on practical experience regarding the basic of physics and engineering as they figure out how to use the materials they have to build a stable bridge.

Key vocabularies to use:
Bridge, strong, fall, build, stable, unstable

Ways to adapt the activity:
For beginners, work on the bridge design together while allowing them to test out some of their ideas in the design. Introduce lesser materials if necessary.
For advanced learners, discuss if they could make their bridge look different while still making it strong. (For example, adding an arch.)

Continue the exploration and make a longer and stronger bridge. For example, make a bridge that’s 30cm long and will support up to 10 pebbles. Introduce other materials such as straws, playing cards or spaghetti.

What did we achieve?


Through having the freedom to test their design ideas, children are making connections about the things they know in a hands-on way. For example, how a semicircle under the bridge can help make the bridge stronger. For them to benefit fully from this process, they need to discover this for themselves with some guidance. This will keep their passion for exploration burning strong! #stemforkids