Build a Dam

Kids put on their engineering hats for this activity and try to think and play like a beaver as they build a dam using sticks, dirt and leaves in a stream, with the help of the hose or even using water in a large container.

The Guide

Set Up: Head outside to a source of running water (hose, stream) or fill up a large container of water and head outside. 

Invite Play: Say, “Do you think that we could make a dam like beavers to change the way that water flows?” Work together to collect sticks and mix dirt and water into mud. If play needs a jump-start, start building up a wall of mud and sticks yourself and welcome your child to join in.

Support Play: Test out their design by pouring water on one side of the dam. What direction does the water flow? Can you change the dam to make the water flow in a different direction? Can you create a pond? What animals might like to live in this habitat?

Why is this activity great for kids?

Dam building play is a rich sensory activity that promotes problem-solving and engages kids in STEM learning. Like our beaver friends, kids may also be challenged to persist through dam breakages and flooding. These setbacks can help kids build resilience as they construct their dams.

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