STEM: building water dam with household items

Theme of the month; water.

See “Learning Chinese with water radical” here.

It all started with this Sungei Api Api that we see every morning. The kid observed that the water level changed. The conversation went all the way to water dam and reservoir.

Then a few days later, we found ourselves overlooking Marina Barrage. She was disappointed that the gallery was closed for renovation.

So yesterday, I gathered a few things at home for our little dam-building activity. Drawing ideas from man-made and beaver’s dam that we read, the kid designed and experimented with different materials. We observed the effectiveness of each “design”, refined and drew some conclusions. It’s a $0 STEM activity!

Besides solving a problem, the aim of this activity is to get the kid to observe, compare, design, refine and conclude.

First design: water flows too quickly

Second design: LEGO bricks.

Third design: enhanced with clay (an idea inspired by beavers using mud to patch leaks with mud)

Fourth design: experimenting with different designs (height, weight etc)

The “flower” acts as a floater to study how much water the “reservoir” can hold.


  1. Beaver dams
  2. Dams, catchments and rainfall video.
  3. LEGO water activity for building dams (for older kids)

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