Use found objects to make a cool creation.

  • Target Age:  3-5 
  • Subject: engineering, art
  • Related Episode: The All-Animal Recycled Band


  • paper
  • crayons
  • building materials like these:
  • cardboard boxes
  • food and drink containers
  • cardboard tubes
  • paper plates
  • drinking straws
  • rubber bands
  • tape, glue, or string
  • scissors (adult handling or supervision)


Give children (or monkeys!) some simple everyday materials, and their imaginations will help them create all sorts of things. By building and experimenting, your child will also learn some basic engineering concepts.

1. Imagine: Look at the materials together with your child. What possibilities do you see? What could you build? A castle from juice cartons and paper towel rolls? A guitar from a tissue box and rubber bands? A robot? A rocket ship? Let your imaginations go wild!

2. Design: Draw pictures of your ideas on plain paper. Talk about them, then choose one to build.

3. Build: As you build your invention, talk about what's working and what's not. Do you need to change your design? Do you need to scale back, or can you go even further than you thought?

Take it Further

Store all those initial design drawings in a folder or binder and pull them out whenever the mood strikes! When the time comes, talk about those original ideas with your child. Would you change anything? Do you have any new ideas? What will you build this time?

More Ways to Discover and Learn

Look in a Book

  • Albert's Alphabet by Leslie Tryon 
  • Bling Blang by Woody Guthrie
  • What Can You Do With a Shoe? by Beatrice de Regniers


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!