What are Lincoln Logs
Lincoln Logs are an American children’s toy consisting of miniature logs. They were invented by John Lloyd Wright and recently celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2016. You can look here to see the original patent awarded in 1920. Or, you read about Lincoln Logs’ induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Lincoln Logs are notched so that they can be laid at right angles, thus best used for creating square or rectangular buildings like forts and cabins.
Lincoln Log STEM Activities
Like LEGOs, Lincoln Logs are great construction toys for kids. Of course you can just set children loose on them and let them build whatever their imagination wants. But, you can also use some these STEM activities to bring more life to the logs.
Building a Catapult
Building a catapult of Lincoln Logs isn’t terribly difficult. And it only requires a limited number of items, many of which you probably have around the house or classroom: rubber bands (2 2″ bands and 1 3″ band), bottle cap, masking tape, and ammunition.
Rather than listing out the instructions here, I suggest you check out BrainPowerBoy for the details.
How Tall Can It Go
Just how high can Lincoln Logs go before they fall? I’m not actually sure, but this activity can lead to great conversations about structural physics.
Once it falls, you then start experimenting with cross pieces to see how they affect the tower’s structural integrity.
Add it to a Builders Box
This one is not a standalone solution. But, a builder’s box (inventor’s toolkit or maker box) is a great addition to a STEM learning collection.
Every kit will be different, but typical components include: building components (LEGO, Lincoln Logs, wooden blocks, K’Nex, etc.), cardboard (cereal boxes, paper towel tubes, etc.), tape, glue, markers, yarn, and age-appropriate tools and electronics.
You can look at these pages for inspiration:
Make a Fairy Garden (or other invention))
This one is important to me because of the enthusiasm displayed by the girl in this post. We don’t use Lincoln Logs much in my house, but my little shows just as much excitement about her LEGO creations. Similarly, she is always looking for ways to build practical things with her LEGO or tinkering kit.
Best Lincoln Log Sets to Purchase
- 100th Anniversary Collection: The two best Lincoln Log sets to purchase are: 111 wooden pieces, including green roof pieces and lots of the common notched brown pieces; comes with a tin to store all pieces, as well as a manual that shows three different building configurations.
- Horseshoe Hill Station: 83 pieces, including blue roof, yellow door, person, horse, and lots of brown wooden pieces.