julius jr. inventing time! bridges!

Build a bridge to creativity!

Gather your kids and join us in the Invention Dimension! Julius Jr.'s Inventing Time activities give you simple ways to play with your kids that encourage their natural creativity!

Objects Needed to Create Your Invention

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Straws
  • Paper
  • String or yarn
  • Tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Books
  • Two buckets
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    Step Inside the Box with Julius Jr.!

    Ask your kids:
  • “What are some different ways people can get across a river or a canyon?
  • When you are moving around your city or town, do you ever travel over a bridge?
  • What is interesting to you about bridges?
  • Why do you think bridges look different from each other?
  • Where might we build a bridge in our house? What can we imagine might travel over the bridge?
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    Now to the Invention Dimension!

    Invite your children to build a bridge! Find two surfaces--two buckets, books, chairs, a bed frame and desk, anything--across which to build a bridge. Ask your children if they would like to draw plans out before beginning construction and allow them to jump right into construction if they want to! Remind them that real builders (engineers) prototype ideas and may revise or completely reinvent their structures over the process of creation. (A prototype is an early test or sample built to determine if an idea works.) Show them the materials you have gathered and allow them to suggest other possible materials. Let your children drive the building process. Act as an extra pair of hands, a tape ripper, a cardboard cutter, and an active supporter of the process. Try not to make any suggestions about how to build the bridge and let your children learn through experience which parts of their bridges are strong and which are not. Children may build their own bridges or may work together on a group bridge project.

    What Your Little Ones Are Learning

    Experimenting with bridge building will encourage your children's willingness to make mistakes in a risk-friendly environment. As they adjust and rebuild, they gain skills and confidence with problem solving that they may apply in other settings. Children will strengthen their early geometry and physics skills as they experience first-hand the shapes and structures that provide support for a bridge. As they generate their own ideas about building, children are using things they've learned in other settings (like playing with blocks) and will have richer understandings of the new ideas they gain through construction. Bridges that collapse can teach them just as much as bridges that stay standing--if your children's bridge tumbles, encourage them to start over with some changes until they find a version that works.

    Why "Inventing Time" Matters

    Creative thinking begins early in every child's life. It enables original thought and the ability to see solutions where others don't. It provides the fundamental building blocks for success in school and beyond. Creative play has been proven across multiple research studies to be the best path to developing a lifelong capacity for creativity.
    Julius Jr. and the Center for Childhood Creativity are working together to create inventing Time activities to help you support kids' natural creativity.

    Every kid can be an inventor like Julius Jr.
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