Join Us For A Week Of Making And Building!

Let’s go to (virtual) camp! Science Friday is hosting a week of free DIY maker challenges for kids, families, and caregivers on July 24 – 31. Anyone can participate!

How To Participate:

  1. Try out any of the challenges below!

  2. Submit a photo, story, or other evidence of your projects using our Challenge Form for your creations to be included in our online Challenge Gallery of Excellence (!) or to receive a Certificate of Awesome in the mail (!!!).

Day 1: Roller Coaster Challenge   Day 2: Sneeze Challenge

Day 3: Game Design Challenge   Day 4: Cardboard Challenge

Day 5: DIY Paint Challenge   Day 6: Plastic Bag Challenge

Day 7: Face Mask Challenge


For this roller coaster, William, age 8 of Minnesota, “created [the roller coaster] as he had ideas,” but in the future he “wants to make a plan first and then adjust it as needed based on results.”

The Gallery Of Excellence!

We’re thrilled to showcase some of the many excellent submissions we received this week as part of our Week Of Building And Making which took place July 27-31, 2020. You didn’t hold back– we saw countless roller coasters, sneeze simulations, even a guinea pig castle–you didn’t hold back. Here’s to a summer full of even more fun and making!

Two people squirt water with a ketchup bottle through a placemat to spray water on dry pavement
“We tried squirting the water through different materials to spread the water into drops. The placemat worked, but I like the chair because I could squirt through it easily. Next time I would try other materials to squirt the water through.”
– Kiera & Alison, age 9, Colorado, taking on the Sneeze Challenge


A guinea pig looks out of a castle made of cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes
Felix, Age 10, of Nevada learned “that duct tape is stronger than masking tape & that Guinea pigs prefer 2 doors.” while making this guinea pig castle for the cardboard challenge.


Made with cardboard, tape, books, and marble as the car, created by Alan and Anderson, Age 11, Ohio


A ball rolls down multiple cardboard tubes taped together on a table
Reese, age 8, from Texas used cardboard, wood, paper cups, and a paper towel roll to construct his answer to the Roller Coaster Challenge
Cardboard roller coaster made out of cereal boxes
“It can’t be too high, because then it has too much speed and it might roll right off the track – into South Dakota!” – Dax, Age 6, Arizona


“We created a roller coaster using duct tape, toilet paper rolls, a funnel, a plastic cup, paper plate, a plastic tube,and marbles.” – Ella and Fiona, age 11, Wyoming


A child drops a ball onto a cardboard roller coaster ramp
Sebastien & Makken, 12 and 8, of Texas “Added to the height and used more tape” to improve on their original roller coaster design made out of cardboard and tape.
A roller coaster made from tape, cardboard, and other materials assembled on a floor near a dog
Laynie, age 11, of California used cardboard, sparkling water bottle, paper towel and toilet paper rolls and tape to make her roller coaster


A pool noodle has been cut in half to form a roller coaster with a marble
“I created a rollercoaster. I used a pool noodle, a small ball, a plastic ball, and masking tape” – Anushri, 11, California






Who is this for?
All kids in the United States and their supportive co-conspirator caregivers who can help them build, make, and submit their creations safely. Adults, fear not–we’ll have guides, short videos, STEM connections, and tips for helping young people feel successful and self-directed with each challenge. Please read our Projects Policy before participating.

How much does it cost? What do I win?
It’s totally free, but it’s up to you to find, reuse, scavenge, recycle, and repurpose materials (with permission) to complete challenges. This is one of those non-competitive events where everyone wins, because inventing and creating things is rad and challenging, and sharing what you’ve created inspires others to try it too!

What sorts of challenges are these?
All of the challenges are open-ended invitations to build devices that solve problems, make art from novel materials, design games for other people, and more. There are no right or wrong ways to be successful. Most challenges can be completed with stuff you’d find in your recycling bin, and might be easier if you’ve got tape or scissors lying around. We want to keep it a bit of a surprise, so we won’t give too much away up front. New challenges posted each day July 24-31!

This sounds really neat, how do I participate?

There are four ways to get the daily challenges:

  1. You can find the week’s challenges posted above and at and can submit your projects at the link below through August 15th, 2020.

Submit Your Projects Here

Why are you doing this?
We’re in the dog days of summer, and we figured everyone needed something to do to stay inspired and creative. We also know that this summer has been different and strange for many kids and caregivers, and like you, we want to figure out how to make the most of it so that our kids keep learning and practicing STEM skills, playing, and relating to those around them in spite of everything that’s going on.

We’ve partnered with CoBuildAtHome, a collective of educators and researchers working to help youth and their caregivers to spend quality time together building and creating. Science Friday and CoBuildAtHome created this week of building and making to research how kids and families interact with these activities as part of an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation and Infosys Foundation. Participants in these challenges, the virtual camp, the newsletter, or text messages, will always have the option to complete challenges without participating in research and/or being included in our online Challenge Gallery of Excellence.

CoBuild Camp – Now Full!

We experienced an overwhelming interest in CoBuild Camp, and are already planning future camp programs for kids and families. Read on to learn more about the camp that took place July 27-31, 2020, and subscribe to our Family Newsletter to be alerted to new opportunities coming in the Fall!

Logo with colorful text that reads CoBuildCamp 2020


CoBuild Camp was designed for children entering 1st – 6th grades, though older and younger children can participate, and multiple kids per household can join at the same time. All activities were designed to be completed with free or low-cost materials, supplies, and tools found commonly in homes, around communities and neighborhoods, or readily accessible at local stores or online.

One of the reasons we decided to create a camp is to research how kids and families interact with these activities. To help us, we asked families to submit pictures and/or videos of the activities that they complete each day—also so that we could all celebrate the amazing ways campers completed the activities and challenges. While we may use the images and videos in our research, we will NOT use images or names to sell any products or services.

Meet the Writer

About Ariel Zych

Ariel Zych is Science Friday’s director of audience. She is a former teacher and scientist who spends her free time making food, watching arthropods, and being outside.

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