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Top five engineering challenges to do at home

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.

      • Children building models using carboard and sticky tape

Specifically designed by Dyson engineers for children, the Challenge Cards encourage inquisitive young minds to get excited about engineering. Here are the top five challenges to try out now.

5. Build a cardboard boat from scratch

Ever wondered how ships weighing thousands of tonnes stay afloat? Find out and put your design and invention skills to the test, making a boat from household items.

      • Two women putting a carboard boat in a tank of water

4. Make the Golden Gate Bridge out of spaghetti 

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA is one of the most iconic structures ever built. Here's your chance to recreate it from nothing more than spaghetti.

      • Two women inspect a recreation of the Golden Gate Bridge, made from spaghetti

3. Race a balloon-powered car 

Using just a balloon, a plastic cup, straws, thread and rubber bands, get to grips with balloon-powered propulsion and make your own racing car.

      • Close up of two small balloon-powered cars being placed on the floor for a race

2. Keep a marble rolling for a minute

Design your own run that can keep a marble rolling for at least a minute using nothing more than cardboard and sticky tape. See how Dyson engineers did the same using Dyson machine parts.

      • Two women watching a marble as it travels down a run made from cardboard and sticky tape

1. Peer through your own homemade periscope 

Ever wanted to peer around corners without being seen? Get to grips with how mirrors and light can combine to make one of the oldest spying tools in the book - the periscope.

      • Close up of a handmade cardboard periscope

The James Dyson Foundation, Dyson's charitable arm, introduces young people to the exciting world of engineering, encouraging them to think differently, make mistakes and realise their engineering potential. Learn more about the Foundation here.  

Calling all aspiring engineers

Share photos and videos of your challenges and creations on social media using #JDFChallenge. Don’t forget to tag @Dyson and @Jamesdysonfoundation so we can share your content.

Get noticed with the James Dyson Award

For design or engineering students or recent graduates, the James Dyson Award is an international design award, run by the James Dyson Foundation, that inspires, encourages and celebrates budding inventors' new, problem-solving ideas – and provides a platform to launch them. Apply now.

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Download the full set of 44 James Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards