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Challenge your kids with these 44 fun engineering tasks from Dyson

Dyson has come up with some fun engineering challenges to keep kids’ minds occupied at home. The range of challenges uses basic household items to recreate a variety of iconic structures. 

“With schools closed and limited opportunities for outdoor activities, learning at home has become a challenge for parents all around the world. Helping combat the boredom, the James Dyson Foundation has 44 of the best science and engineering tasks to keep the mind ticking over during the isolation period,” the company says.

“Specifically designed by Dyson engineers for children, the Challenge Cards encourage inquisitive young minds to get excited about engineering.”

Here are some of the best challenges that Dyson has offered up, to give you a taste of what keen young engineers can expect from the full 44-task-strong set.

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Make the Golden Gate Bridge out of spaghetti. Yep, we know it was you who bought all the Spaghetti from the supermarket. Now it’s time to let your kids turn it into one of the most iconic bridges ever built.

There’s one tricky condition – your bridge has to be able to take the weight of a bag of sugar without breaking. Take a look at the video below, offering some hints and tips on how to build your own spaghetti version of the San Francisco icon:

Build a cardboard boat from scratch. The world’s biggest cruise liner weighs 227,000 tonnes, so how do such heavy boats stay afloat? Dyson isn’t asking you to make something quite that big, just big enough to carry a bag of sugar. But you’ll need to get to grips with buoyancy to master this challenge.

Take a look at the video below for some handy tips and design inspirations:

Race a balloon powered car. The current land-speed record is about 760 miles per hour, but Dyson doesn’t expect you to beat that with your balloon car just yet. The balloon car challenge is a great way to get competitive with your engineering. Build a balloon car and race against a friend to see who has the best design.

Take a look at the video below for hints, tips and design ideas:

Kids (or adults) taking part in the challenges are encouraged to take a photo or video of their successful constructions and share them with the James Dyson Foundation. Try them on Twitter @JDF.

On a related note, the annual James Dyson Award 2020 is open for entries for the 15th year. The initiative invites entrepreneurial undergraduates and recent graduates of engineering and design from across the globe to invent something that solves a problem. The winner receives a £30000 prize to go on to commercialise their inventions.

Candidates enter through an online application form via the James Dyson Award website.

Entrants should concisely explain what their invention is, how it works, and their development process. The best entries solve a real problem, are clearly explained, show iterative development, provide evidence of physical prototyping and have supporting imagery and a video.

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