An important element to nearly every program or event that I do at the library is the pre-engineering station. What is it? ALL OF THE FUN STUFF! The pre-engineering station is an area for younger kids to play at before, during, and after programs. The toys that are part of the station were chosen because they help to develop skills essential in the engineering field (and across many other fields).
The toys are typically designed so that the kids build with them. They include foam blocks, plastic blocks, interlocking blocks, interlocking gears, interlocking animals, interlocking trains, dump-trucks, animal shape puzzles, and a magnetic board with foam letters, shapes, and numbers.
This station also promotes social interactions and sharing. Kids will end up building things together and coming up with ways to incorporate the different toys into a single project. If you do not already use one, please consider setting up a pre-engineering station to turn idle time into skill-building activities!