## Building Bridges, an Easy STEM activity & an Excuse to Make Rice Krispy Treats

If you want to get your kids started doing STEM activities, start with something simple like building bridges.  I decided the kids and I would build bridges made out of toothpicks and marshmallows. We ended up also using some spaghetti as well, because the longer side of a right triangle is longer than the other 2 sides of the triangle. So we needed something longer than our toothpicks for the 3rd sides of our right triangles.  This is an example of how you can use a real life example to show your kids that the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) of a right triangle is longer than the other two sides of the triangle (the legs). Another idea you can explore with your kids while building the bridges is what type of shapes will be able to withstand more pressure and create a stronger bridge.  For example, we saw that triangles worked better than squares.

The kids worked and worked, and I was proud of them.  Andre`, my 5 year old, surprised me at how determined he was to build something.   It’s important to give your kids the chance to shine by letting them do many different types of activities, as you never know what areas they will most excel in.

The bridges they built were simple, but they worked hard on them.  You can do an activity over and over.  Start with a simple concept, and each time you do the activity try to improve it after you learn what works well and what doesn’t.  Your child doesn’t have to start off by building the BEST bridge or the BEST whatever.  They will learn to do it better by doing it again and again.

Annaliese’s bridge

Andre’s bridge

Abigail looking on at what’s going on.

This was a great opportunity (excuse) to build up the idea of building the bridges by starting with a treat: homemade Rice Krispy Treats.  I mean there’s a definite connection between Rice Krispy Treats and building bridges since we used marshmallows to build the bridges AND there’s marshmallows in the rice krispy treats…haha.

Anyway, I haven’t made Rice Krispy treats in years, so it was a welcomed treat.  I tried to make it healthier by using marshmallows and Rice Cereal from good ole Trader Joe’s.  Use anything you can (within reason) to spruce up an activity in order to make your kids more excited about doing STEM activities.

Building bridges is a great opportunity to let your kids’ imaginations shine.  You can show them how to begin a bridge, and then turn them loose to see what they can create.  So remember, if you want to introduce your kids to STEM activities, start SIMPLE.

Simple STEM Activities for elementary kids

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