What is a bridge and how does it work? What do all bridges have in common? How are bridges different? Children can learn about engineering design, and then work with different materials to see for themselves how to make a bridge. This section features videos and interactives that support the Bridges backpack family activities.


3 Books:

  • A Book of Bridges: Here to There and Me to You by Cheryl Keely
  • Bridges, Amazing Structures to Design, Build and Test by Carol A. Johnman
  • Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering With 25 Projects by Donna Latham and Jenn Vaughn

Activities: Build a slide, construct a bridge, create a merry-go-round and more.

Materials: Engineering and Design building set, vocabulary cards and a Ruff Ruffman plush toy to add to the fun.

Directions: The "What Gives?" activity from The Ruff Ruffman Show helps you build a bridge.

Read Together

Before You Read: Show the cover illustration to your child. What do they notice? Read the title, author and illustrator. What do they think the book is about? Point to all the bridges on the cover.

As You Read: For shorter attention spans, read only the large-print text. Help your child make connections by asking if they have seen or been on bridges like the ones in the pictures. Ask children to notice who or what is crossing each bridge, or what is under the bridge that needs to be crossed.

After You Read: Review the names of the different kinds of bridges they remember from the book.

Play Together

Playing with your child can be fun for them and for you, and asking questions will help your child learn.

  • Explore how strength and length can both be factors that make a good bridge. Think and explore like scientists. Build a bridge from one piece of furniture to another or for action figures to cross.
  • Design a bridge using toothpicks, pipe cleaners, marshmallows, sticks, or other items. Construct bridges, slides, merry-go-rounds, and other structures using the materials in the included Engineering and Design kit. How can you improve the designs?
  • Use the book Bridges and Tunnels and find the recipe on page 26 to make concrete. Use the concrete to make bridge pieces.
  • Design an arch, bridge or tunnel. How can you improve the design? Build a natural bridge using the directions on page 18.
  • Build a milk carton turbine using the directions on page 90. How do wind turbines work?

Online Activities

Help the Dragon to get across Spansylvania to make it to a birthday party.


Join Nick, Sally, and the Cat in the Hat as they learn about bridges and what makes them work.


Teach your students about what it takes to build a successful bridge.


Can you build a bridge out of cardboard that won’t collapse under the weight of a pile of books?

CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Education Iowa PBS
PBS Kids
The contents of this document were developed under a cooperative agreement #PRU295A150003, from the U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do to necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.