Sparks! Activities Kits

Sparks! are fun and easy activity ideas for families to learn together at home. They support preschool-age children’s development and “spark” family engagement with engineering design. Unlike the Head Start on Engineering activity kits, these don’t necessarily engage families with the entire engineering design process but instead highlight aspects of engineering or specific engineering design thinking skills. There are three types of Sparks! activities:

  • Hands-on challenge—These ideas involve building or creating something to solve a design challenge.
  • Engineering chat—These ideas are meant to inspire family conversations that help children practice engineering design thinking skills. They can be used at the dinner table, traveling in the car, on a walk, or anytime you have a chance to talk together as a family.
  • Everyday engineering—These ideas show ways that we use engineering design in our everyday lives or inspire families to incorporate engineering design thinking into everyday activities.

Click on the images below to download a PDF of each activity. And let these ideas inspire your own engineering design challenges!

Hands-On Challenges

Two Foot Tower Challenge Image
Booster Seat Challenge Image
Make a Snack Activity Challenge Image
Build a Water Path Challenge Image
Two Foot Tower Challenge Image
Fort Challenge Image
Favorite Meal Challenge Image
Build a Chair Challenge Image
Mini-fort Challenge Image
Create Pretend Tacos Challenge Image

Engineering Chats

What Else Engineering Chat Image
Problem Engineering Chats Image
What's Your Favorite Taco Challenge Image
What Else Could We Do With This Shoe Challenge Image
Garden Engineering Chart Image
Get to Your Favorite Place Challenge Image
What Makes a Great Day Engineering Chat Image
New Playground Challenge Image

Everyday Engineering

Family Recipe Everyday Engineering Activity Image
Best Way to Clean Together Challenge Image
Build Something to Keep Cool in the Sun Challenge Image
Ingredients In Your Favorite Soup Challenge Image
Need to Feel Calm and Relaxed Challenge Image
Hidden Treasure Everyday Engineering Activity Image

Let's Plan a Party Challenge Image
Play Structure Everyday Engineering Activity Image
What Does Ratancio Perez Need to Do His Job Challenge Image


These activities are great for using your imagination. Engineering is great for anybody but especially for kids because it helps them problem solve.”

– Head Start parent