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Engineering - what's good for a 9 year old?

19 replies

ScamTheSchool · 28/10/2021 07:37

My DD has expressed an interest in engineering and I am most definitely not the person to ask about it. She is very good at maths and loves building Lego creations and making constructions with cardboard and glue gun.

Looking for inspiration of something to encourage and help her, books, toys, websites, whatever. What should I be looking at? What are your DC's favourites?

OP posts:
MrsPnut · 28/10/2021 07:42

Get some meccano, look for girls in STEM opportunities at universities local to you (ours does a 3 year programme for year 6-9) and there will be extra resources online.

JingsMahBucket · 28/10/2021 07:57

Instructables website.

Goldiblocks engineering toys for girls

Get her into girl coding camps as well.

ditalini · 28/10/2021 08:37

Ds got a lot of fun out of snap circuits at that age.

Also Lego Technic is good for learning about how gears, cogs, levers, pistons etc work.

sashh · 28/10/2021 08:44

A raspberry pi or similar.

An electronics set.

But be warned, I had an electronics kit at 9 and I wired the landing so I had an alarm (sound and light) so knew if a parent was approaching when I should have been in bed.

JassyRadlett · 28/10/2021 08:49

There are some great YouTube channels out there - people like Fran Scott and we’ve just discovered the Kids Invent Stuff channel which is brilliant.

trendzetter · 28/10/2021 09:04

You can sign up for newsletters from organisations aimed at encouraging childrrn into enginnering. EDT have activies for children from age 7-17 ( and from age 11 there may be suitable activities run by the Smallpeice Trust (

writingandspelling · 28/10/2021 18:09

Tinker crate is great for my 8 year old,though expensive

writingandspelling · 28/10/2021 18:10
ScamTheSchool · 28/10/2021 20:16

though expensive Shock yes, I agree!
She's too young for the uni groups near us, but thanks for the tip. DS does have a snap circuits
Somewhere, must dig it out.

OP posts:
Herhereherhere · 28/10/2021 20:25

Oooo - I just ordered ‘How was that built?’ By Roma Agrawal for DD. She (Roma) is fab and was so pleased she is releasing a children’s book. Definitely look her up on Twitter.

Herhereherhere · 28/10/2021 20:28

Are you anywhere near London. Both RIBA and the Royal Institution do lots of events for kids. The Royal Institution also has the archive of the Christmas lectures on their website to watch which are fun for those kids into science.

ilovepuggies · 28/10/2021 20:55

K’nex have great construction kits

minipie · 28/10/2021 21:18

Marking place! My DD is similar but spurns any kit with instructions in favour of inventing her own things with cardboard, string and huge quantities of tape. Will look at all these suggestions thanks.

OP - we bought DD a Junko kit but she didn’t take to it, but worth a look in case yours would.

Saisong · 28/10/2021 21:34

We had a lot of fun with the LEGO Crazy Actions Contraptions, which is a book and kit for making various machines. Looks like it is hard to get hold of these days. There is another variety called Chain Reactions I think. They were made by Klutz books.

We also invested in LEGO Mindstorms - which is crazy expensive (though we picked up a cheaper set on a reselling site). So much potential though for creating, programming and sharing. There are whole fan websites devoted to it.

The snap circuits were very well used too - we had a mega vehicle kit and several smaller ones. I recall some rather overpowered cars with batteries connected in series. DS managed to overheat at least one of the motors! Since then he has done some electronics with Scouts - there are several companies selling kits out there with basic circuit boards.

Finally I'd recommend a Raspberry Pi, which can be used in so many ways, and supports a lot of coding - it does rather require parental support though and is probably best purchased with a kit to get things going.

ChickenFor12 · 28/10/2021 22:00

I work in this field, lego technic without doubt! You'll need a few sets, plus possibly a technic ideas book to get her started.
Lego is great, but lego technic is better! Well worth getting a few sets to start if the technic collection

rslsys · 28/10/2021 22:03

8yr old DGD has recently started to be very involved in my Gravitrax creations. That’s her Christmas pressie sorted!

skkyelark · 28/10/2021 22:19

I liked meccano at her age for open-ended building and ability to build machines that actually worked.

I was also allowed to take dead kitchen gadgets, clocks, etc. apart to see how they worked (and occasionally fix them or repurpose the bits), although you probably have to be a bit choosier now that an awful lots ends with all the secrets inside a circuit board. I think a few things got bought cheaply from charity shops/car boots specifically for me to take to pieces...

If she likes building her own things from cardboard and glue gun, perhaps expand her range of materials and tools for that sort of building –like a craft box, only for building things. Even something as simple as split pins are good for making parts that turn.

ScamTheSchool · 28/10/2021 23:52

You'll need a few sets
Which do you recommend? They seem all to be either fast cars of very expensive construction vehicles. Do they really have nothing else?!

That book looks good Herhereherhere gone on the list!

OP posts:
Snoopsnoggysnog · 29/10/2021 09:39

Meccano here too. My 11yo is very similar. He has an area in the house for his glue gun and all his bits, he’s got a workbench and I have bought him some motors and things he’s asked for. He also loves going to car boots and buying things to take apart.

@skkyelark that’s lovely that your parents did that for you. Do you now work in a related field?

OP - my DS recently won a DT scholarship so it’s worth encouraging.

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