STEAM Saturday – Build the Washington Monument! (2/17/2024)

Build the Washington Monument

As President’s Day approaches on Monday, it presents the perfect opportunity for your child to learn about our nation’s first president while also putting their engineering skills to the test! Lets build our own Washington Monument!

First, let’s learn a bit about the history of President’s Day. In the 1880s, our nation began celebrating February 22nd – George Washington’s birthday – as a federal holiday. In 1977, the holiday was changed to President’s Day to include Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which fell on February 12th.

Before embarking on today’s project, take some time to learn about George Washington. You can find some great information about our first president from Brittanica Kids HERE, and/or watch a read along of I am George Washington by Brad Meltzer below.


The Washington Monument was completed in 1884 after a 40-year building process. It is located in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC, and measures 555 feet, 5 1/8 inches tall! At the time, it was the tallest building in the entire world. The monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885 – one day before Washington’s birthday.

Build the Washington MonumentYou and your child can build a replica of the Washington Monument with only a few supplies that you may already have around your house!

  • 42 sugar cubes
  • Paper plates
  • Glue or glue sticks

First, glue four of our sugar cubes to your paper plate in a square shape to create a base for your monument. Continue gluing and stacking sugar cubes in the same square pattern until you have 10 layers of sugar cubes. For the last layer, cut two sugar cubes in half diagonally. Glue these onto the tenth layer of sugar cubes to create the pyramid shape at the top of the monument.

As a bonus challenge, you can have your child color the American flag on a piece of paper, glue it to a toothpick, and add it to the bottom of their monument by sticking it to the plate with playdough.

Check out the full STEAM activity and more resources on George Washington from Mobile Ed Productions HERE.

If you’re looking for more books to read with your child on President’s Day, check out the following:

  • Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
  • Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents by David Stabler
  • If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
  • Marvin Redpost #5: Class President by Louis Sachar

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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