Chair Design Challenge

What You Need

  • Interlocking building blocks, such as Legos (a good variety and quantity of bricks to design and build a small chair)
  • Small dolls, toy figures, or animal figures (students can be invited to bring a small toy from home)


What You Do

  1. Allow your student to select a doll or toy. Invite them to study their doll or toy and think about what kind of chair they might need in order for their small friend to sit comfortably.
  2. Tell your student that they will build a chair for their doll or toy using building blocks. The design of the chair may vary depending on what blocks are available.
  3.  Let them experiment with the blocks and construct a chair they think might fit the toy.
  4. Have them test their design by placing the doll or toy in the chair. If there are problems, allow them to make changes to improve the design of the chair. Ask, “If you were able to sit in this chair, do you think you would be comfortable? Why or why not?”
  5. Ask follow-up questions that challenge children to describe how they modified their design to meet the needs of their particular doll or toy.


Ann Gadzikowski is an author and educator with a passion for challenging children to think creatively and critically. Her recent book Robotics for Young Children won the 2018 Midwest Book Award for best educational book. Ann developed her expertise in robotics, computer science, and engineering through her work as early childhood coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. She has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and director of early childhood programs, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Preschool of the Arts, a Reggio-Emilia inspired school in Madison, Wisconsin.

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