Encourage Engineering in Children with The Holiday Makers

*This is a paid collaboration with Britmums and The Year of Engineering

We love getting out and about and exploring over summer - I'm a strong believer in learning through experience and really think that travel and days out help to broaden the horizons. It's impossible to plan a day trip on every day of the holidays though and we like to balance time at home with time out and about. However, I will admit that often it is more of a struggle to keep the kids entertained at home and I am guilty of resorting to using the Xbox as a babysitter in the holidays a little more than I'd care to admit. I am always on the lookout for free and educational games or activities that will inspire the kids and allow them to get creative so when I heard of The Holiday Makers, I knew it was something we'd like to get involved with. The Holiday Makers is a brand new hub packed with fun activities and challenges that will help entertain and inspire children and keep their minds sharp all summer long. 

Find an Engineering event near you

2018 is 'The Year of Engineering'. There are loads of events happening up and down the county that will hopefully inspire the engineers of tomorrow. I would never try and push Harry, Heidi or Jack down a certain career path, but I do think it's important to expose them to lots of ideas as they grow up so they can discover their own path and make an informed choice when they're older. I remember being the only girl in my A Level Physics class and it was probably the class with the fewest students - I really hope initiatives like this one encourage more children into an engineering-based profession.

You can use this calendar to find an engineering event near you. I like the sound of Future Engineers at The National Railway Museum in York over October Half Term - we're actually visiting York in October so I'm going to try and pop in. Definitely a date for the diary! If you're looking for an engineering event this summer, how about The Art of Chris Pulham at Locomotion in Shildon? This exhibition is free to visit from 19 August - 30 September and celebrates the glorious days of steam on Britain's railways. 

Holiday Journal 

You can download a free Holiday Journal from The Holiday Makers website which is the perfect way to record your child's progress. At the end of each event or challenge, you can claim a digital badge which is nice to share with family and friends.

Watch Engineering videos that will inspire.....

The Year of Engineering website is a fantastic resource for parents and children and is packed with information, activities and engaging content. We have been using the video section this week which is full of resources to inspire and inform children, tweens and teens and features everything from the life of a software engineer at Twitter to how engineering is used in the film industry. Our favourite is 'The method behind the magic' which shares some of the fantastic engineering used behind the scenes at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.

Harry, Heidi and Jack are obsessed with watching fact videos on YouTube (I swear you'd want them in your pub quiz team) and these videos have made a welcome change! 

Take an Engineering challenge at home 

The Holiday Makers website is sharing weekly challenges to inspire children up and down the country to get creative, have fun and explore engineering. You can take part in these challenges across the summer and then submit your designs, creations and inventions through The Holiday Makers website for your chance to win a cool prize. You can check out the weekly challenges and lots of activities to try at home here. I love the sound of spaghetti bridges - a great way to use up the pasta that's been lurking in my cupboard. 

Our Desert Island Challenge 

This week's challenge is to come up with an invention which would help you if you were stranded on a desert island. You have until 28/8/18 to submit your design for this particular challenge and if yours is picked as a winner, it will be built by Ruth and Shaun on the Kids Invent Stuff YouTube channel and you'll win a bundle of coding goodies. How cool is that! 

We decided to invent a 'Survival Necklace' which is to be worn at all times in case you do ever find yourself stranded on a desert island. 

The first thing we decided should feature on our necklace is something life cannot survive without - water. We tied an emergency bottle of water to our necklace for those times when water was scarce. We used this as an opportunity to talk about how we could access water in a desert (look for cacti and camels!) and how to make it safe to drink.

Next up, we decided we needed a pair of binoculars. When you're stranded somewhere and are not familiar with your surroundings, the first thing you should do is look around and establish if there are any dangers or threats. Our binoculars will help us to do that. Heidi decided to draw a camel on hers (apparently there are camels on desert islands) which will hopefully help the survival necklace to blend into its surroundings.

Finally, we chatted about how and where we would get food from. Both Heidi and Jack decided they would watch to see which berries and leaves the birds were eating and they'd try and eat the same. Jack said he'd make a fishing net or design a spear to hunt for fish and both said they'd drink from coconuts and look for bananas too. We decided that being stranded on a desert island may involve lots of walking to try and find help and wondered what we'd do if we couldn't find any food? We decided the sugar in an emergency lollipop would help us in these situations so attached one to our our invention.

I have to say, taking part in the Desert Island Challenge with Heidi and Jack for a few hours was really enjoyable. It didn't cost anything - we just used bits and bobs we had lying around the house and it was a really good way to get the kids talking about design, inventions and survival - the conversation just flowed.

Heidi and Jack then spent the rest of the evening playing outside and putting their new inventions to the test through imaginative play - I'm pleased to announce they survived and their inventions worked a treat. We've submitted our design to The Holiday Makers website - fingers crossed!

If you're looking for ways to keep the kids entertained and inspired this summer, I highly recommend trying one or more of The Holiday Makers challenge - they're fun, free and educational too.

“I’m working with BritMums promoting #TheHolidayMakers campaign, sponsored by The Year of Engineering. It’s all about getting children excited about engineering with fun and stimulating activities that will keep them engaged all summer long. Check out https://www.yearofengineering.gov.uk/theholidaymakers to find activities for your child, including challenges in which they could win cool prizes!”



  1. Loving the pirate binoculars - Sebby loves making these. Think we need to have a go at this weeks challenge *gets thinking cap on*

  2. Those DIY binoculars are really cool! Encouraging children to explore and get creative is one of the best things adults especially parents can do for them.

  3. What a great idea love this - will share with my sister-in-law for our niece!

  4. Such a fun way to learn and lovely happy faces. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part

  5. What a fab challenge. I think coming up with an idea when your stranded is a fantastic way to get the kids using their imagination and using engineering skills. It sure looks like they enjoyed this.

  6. Fantastic - I think that the lollipop is essential. I'm going to give this a go with my two as my eldest is currently obsessed with Bear Gryls so he's going to love making survival gear.

  7. The binoculars are great, fab detail! Loving the lollipop too, definite essential for this! :)


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