Construction trades use STEM every day on the job! STEM activities and hands-on projects that children experience, learn, and apply early on in their lives are what often will attract students to the trades. Construction includes a variety of career paths that range from hands-on, manual labor, to math-centered engineering, creative design, and more!

In many instances, individuals in construction remember that one activity that first sparked their interest in the field, and often these activities included elements of STEM.  They remember the problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, the hands-on nature, and the sense of accomplishment that STEM provides.  All of these components of STEM are necessary with a career in the trades, whether you are nailing, welding, fitting, or wiring.

At Build Iowa, we are laser-focused on providing new opportunities for students.  It’s our job to show them the rewarding careers available in construction, and facilitate their interest in the industry.  So, while you’re confined to your own homes during this COVID-19 pandemic, we thought we could share with you some simple, age-appropriate STEM activities to get the creative juices flowing.

STEM for Toddlers

Using two household objects and a snack, develop and engineer a bridge. Take [unused] solo cups and space them out as close or as far as you’d like. These will be the bridge pillars or support structure for holding the bridge up. Take your popsicle sticks and lay them on top of the cups to create a bridge. Your marshmallow will act as weights to see how ‘strong’ the bridge is.

Check out the specifics of this bridge builder here:

STEM for Kindergarten – 5th graders

LEGOs are one of my all-time favorite STEM toys for activities. This STEM related activity allows for a lot of imagination for “free build.” LEGOs allow for kids to simulate what it would be like to be part of the engineering process through a process known as Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create and Build. The LEGOs will allow students to think openly about what they can build. Each build, each time will look and be a little different.

For other creative at home STEM activities, view a complete list at

STEM for 6th – 8th graders

Have an old milk jug or water bottle?  Use these products and a balloon to create an air-powered equipment mover.  Once they get it moving, add a few more pieces, load it with different items to see the weight limit or hauling capabilities.

Check out more specific details here:

STEM for 9th – 12th graders

Get a little more sophisticated with your high school-aged children. Students can gain a better understanding of the different types of materials as mixtures they encounter in daily lives, demonstrating the job that cement masons often encounter with varying materials on the job site.

Check out more information here:

When you see that twinkle light up in their eye, be sure to check out with them and explore a complete list of STEM-related construction careers, training opportunities, and potential career paths. This is your chance to influence your child’s future!