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Construction toys and paper engineering

Thanks to Cushla for sending me a picture of the spinner they created to play chocolate saucepanThanks to Cushla for sending me a picture of the spinner they created to play chocolate saucepan

Hello again folks. 

Since this is still officially the Easter Holiday, I thought I'd post some ideas of things to do with construction toys and paper engineering which although they are fun things to do also encourage creativity and perseverance.


There are loads of ideas online for things to do with lego.  Why not have a go at one of the many 30/31 day challenges where each day you try to build a different thing from pirate ships to musical instruments.  Here is one example, but a quick google of 'lego 30 day challenge' will bring up several different ones.

Did you know that you can download instructions for loads of different lego models from the lego website?  So if you've lost the instructions for a set you own or want to have a go at building something new it is well worth a look.

Are you always coming up with your own brilliant ideas for lego?  You can submit your ideas to lego and see if the fans/lego like it enough to manufacture it.  



I'm a big fan of K'nex, as anyone who has attended the NDORMS club will already know, and I think K'nex is a great toy for discovering more about engineering.  I personally prefer coming up with my own ideas for designs, but, like lego above, you can also download building instructions for their kits if you know their set numbers (these can usually be found by googling or on your box if you are looking for lost instructions).  

For some great ideas for challenges of things to build I recommend the K'nex User Group website.  They have a great collection of challenge ideas (many of which I have run in schools) and are also a good place to pick up replacement parts if you are missing some.


Paper/Card Engineering

In our last craft club we made jumping bean which uses a marble as well as some thin card. The templates and instructions can be found on our intranet site.

This video shows a pleasingly flexible fish that can be made with a few sheets of paper.

For more ambitious projects then Rob Ives' site has some great free templates in his shop.  

I also recommend having a go at origami - there are tons of great tutorials on you tube.


Other building/making projects

Finally, although it is far more than just a site about craft projects, for a huge number of ideas of things to do for both adults and kids, I recommend the Instructables site. This is an example instructable for a flapping Pterodactyl than a friend of mine uploaded.  There are also a range of lego, k'nex and paper engineering ideas on this site too.

Have fun building!