STEM activities are designed to engage and stretch a child's thinking. Introducing the engineering and design process is a natural fit due to the fact that children already like to build and problem solve. This invitation is a perfect opportunity to change a simple building activity to challenge them to think and create in new ways and enhancing their interpretation and perception of weight, height, and balancing.
There was no wrong or right way to do this activity and the possibilities are truly endless. Even through guiding my son through modeling how to place the pumpkins, his only motive was to knock down the materials, that is totally normal and part of his process. This invitation will be out for him to revisit to continue to explore the materials and build in his own way. As a child is left to create and explore, it stretches their problem-solving skills by all the ways they have to figure out how to balance the pumpkins and wicker balls. It may not happen right away due to his age (14 months), but that is the beauty of mastering a new skill.
Through all these trials, the child is able to analyze the situation more critically and come up with solutions in their own way. STEM subliminally provides awesome real life lessons that are so valuable and enriching to a child.