Simple engineering projects are the perfect way to introduce engineering concepts to young kids. Kids will especially enjoy designing a new hat for Santa!
Now that Christmas is just around the corner, we’re diving full into the holiday season. My kids absolutely loved this hat design engineering challenge and we spent a happy afternoon together creating Santa’s new hat. Who knows, maybe we’ll see the real big guy wear this design this year! This was a super fun STEM challenge idea and one of the many simple engineering projects we will repeat repeating.
Simple Engineering Projects: Construct a New Hat for Santa
This simple engineering project requires just a few supplies. Gather the materials ahead of time and then let the kids come up with their own designs!
- Red, white, and green cardstock paper
- Jingle bells
- Tissue paper (ours had glitter)
An engineering project requires four steps:
We implemented all of these steps in our hat-building engineering challenge.
Originally, my kids came up with a twist on the classic Santa hat that looked more like a wizard’s hat than anything else. However, they soon realized during the test phase that the hat couldn’t stay on their heads. So, they came up with a second design, which was a classic top hat. The kids can either draw out their proposed designs or wing it.
Next, comes hat building. Monkey and Bo worked together to build a working model of a top hat using red cardstock paper and tape. (I helped with any tricky parts).They learned that to make a good hat design, you have to measure carefully or things won’t fit properly.
The girls decorated their hat with tissue paper, glitter, and jingle bells. The goal is to let the kids work on their own as much as possible not only in the design phase, but throughout the entire design, decorating, and testing phases.
During the testing phase, the girls realized that their prototype was a bit too small for Monkey, but it fit Bo all right.
The girls decided that if they were to make their hat again, they would need to measure a bit more carefully to ensure it would fit onto a person’s head properly or to add elastic so the hat could be secured to a head like a party hat.
All in all, the girls learned a lot about the design process, which makes this a successful engineering project. The hat now has a place of honor in my office until the Christmas season is over.
More Christmas STEM Activities