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Do-It-Yourself Engineering for All Kids (Because Not Every Child Will be Getting Goldieblox for Christmas)

I’m such a nerd.  You can take the science teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the science teacher out of the girl.  I couldn’t wait until Goldie (15 months) fell asleep tonight so that Margo (3 1/2 years old) and I could finish making our Rube Goldberg Machine.  We had started it earlier that day, but… have you ever tried making a Rube Goldberg Machine!?  There’s a lot of tip toeing and barely breathing going on.  So, yeah, making it with a toddler around was nearly impossible (although we did have a lot of fun knocking everything over).  Margo waited ever so patiently for her little sister to fall asleep tonight so that we could rig everything up.

The Goldieblox ad went viral last week.  Engineering toys for girls.  It’s a great idea, getting girls involved with engineering using the left side of their brain, I like it.  So, of course, since I’m a DIY sort of gal, I remembered how much fun it is to make a Rube Goldberg Machine, (since that’s what they do in the ad).  Sorry if you want to buy Goldieblox, I think it’s all sold out now (maybe?)… BUT, never fear!  You can have engineering fun in your own home with things you find around the house.

Rube Goldberg Machines are a series of chain reactions, so to say, that are deliberately complicated to result in a very simple action.

What Do They Teach Kids

Rube Goldberg Machines are fun and learning for people of all ages (ahem… look at how excited I got over making one).
For the little ones, it can just be fun to watch, or to tear it all apart, or just to say that ‘this doesn’t work‘ or ‘this does work‘.  It certainly teaches patience, logic, and trial and error.  As the child gets older, you can teach them about potential and kinetic energy.  And, then one day, when they get even older… tada… you’ve got a rocket scientist on your hands, right?! Well, you never know!

How to Make a Rube Goldberg Machine

You can include as many steps as you want to make your Rube Goldberg Machine.  For me, I had to keep it relatively simple for a three year old attention span.  But, even as simple as it was, we spent a good portion of the morning working on it.  The set up shown here actually took me about half an hour total to construct!  And then it took a lot of tries, probably at least 5 to get it right!  It can take a lot of time!  For little ones, even just one or two steps are plenty enough excitement.  My girls were pretty content just to let the bouncy ball roll down the toilet paper roll tubes that I had cut in half to use as ramps.  Here is a great list of instructions on how to make a Rube Goldberg Machine.

So, if you can’t get Goldieblox this year for the holiday season, and you’re looking for something fun for the whole family, you can try this! Give it a go!  It’s really fun!

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About katesurfs

Kate is an American living in Australia with her husband and two young children. She holds a Masters of Educational Practice and is a high school science teacher by profession, but mostly she stays at home with her children. She is a yoga and meditation teacher, trained through the Art of Living Foundation, a surfer, a vegetarian, and healthy conscious. She is an Aware Parenting Instructor, as well as a Know Your Child Teacher.

9 Responses »

  1. Rube Goldberg machines are awesome! My little guy is not yet 2 years old, but he loves stacking his blocks so that they can fall like dominoes, so I suspect that a RG machine is not far away. 🙂

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  2. Ohhhh that is so cool, wait until i Show Olli, we will do one too 🙂 thats exactly the kind of stuff we need for these cold Winter days …
    And your Apartment Looks sooooo clean!!!

    Reply
  3. What a beautiful laugh.

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  4. I’ve been hearing about goldie blox all week, and I wanted to write about it. I think I’ll add your post on my blog too! Great ideas!

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  5. that is SO cool, well done you guys!!! Margo’s laugh at the end really rules xx

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