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Top five engineering challenges to do at home

To keep kids learning and entertained, Dyson engineers have designed 44 science and engineering challenges specifically for children. These activities include fun and simple activities such as balloon car races, creating a marble run, and building a spaghetti bridge or a cardboard boat.

Ideal for home or in the classroom, using items you can find around the household, they encourage inquisitive young minds to get excited about engineering. The James Dyson Foundation’s mission is to inspire engineers of the future by providing the materials and mentorship they need to get them started.

A child engages with an engineer challenge.

Check out below the top five challenges to try out now.

1. Peer through your own homemade periscope
Ever wanted to peer around corners without being seen? Get to grips with how mirrors and light can combine to make one of the oldest spying tools in the book - the periscope.

A Dyson engineer shows off their homemade periscope.

2. Keep a marble rolling for a minute
Design your own run that can keep a marble rolling for at least a minute using nothing more than cardboard and sticky tape. See how Dyson engineers did the same using Dyson machine parts.

A Dyson engineer shows the “marble minute” challenge.

3. Race a balloon-powered car
Using just a balloon, a plastic cup, straws, thread and rubber bands, get to grips with balloon-powered propulsion and make your own racing car.

A Dyson engineer shows the balloon powered race car challenge.

4. Make the Golden Gate Bridge out of spaghetti
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA is one of the most iconic structures ever built. Here's your chance to recreate it from nothing more than spaghetti.

A Dyson engineer shows the spaghetti bridge challenge.

5. Build a cardboard boat from scratch
Ever wondered how ships weighing thousands of tonnes stay afloat? Find out and put your design and invention skills to the test, making a boat from household items.

A Dyson engineer builds a cardboard boat.

The James Dyson Foundation, Dyson's charitable arm, introduces young people to the exciting world of engineering, encouraging them to think differently, make mistakes and realise their engineering potential. Learn more about the Foundation here.

Calling all aspiring engineers

Share photos and videos of your challenges and creations on social media using #JDFChallenge. Don’t forget to tag @Dyson and @Jamesdysonfoundation so we can share your content.

Get noticed with the James Dyson Award

For design or engineering students or recent graduates, the James Dyson Award is an international design award, run by the James Dyson Foundation, that inspires, encourages and celebrates budding inventors' new, problem-solving ideas – and provides a platform to launch them. Apply now.

Download the full set of 44 James Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards

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