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Playful Engineers

a CILC Content Provider

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Teaching Artist/Engineer Jay Mankita has worked with kids and families for over 30 years. His workshops and presentations are experiential and inspiring. Jay has a strong passion for engineering and making things move, and teaches how he learns - with patience, humor, and lots of room for mistakes!

He has presented thousands of STEM related, hands-on programs in the real world and welcomes the challenges of creating real connections in the virtual world!

Jay is also a long-time touring musician, a Parents' Choice Award winning recording artist, and a songwriter who's songs have traveled the world. 

Jay is is a lifelong learner, and the dad of a 12 year old.


Honorable Mention


Programs by Playful Engineers

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Chain Reactions from Household Materials, Toys, and Tools: Presentation!

CHAIN REACTIONS FROM HOUSEHOLD MATERIALS, TOOLS & TOYS: Live Presentation!A Rube Goldberg-inspired romp into the world of building complicated chain reactions to accomplish simple tasks, from our own ordinary stuff. Artist/engineer Jay Mankita...


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Introduction to Mechanical Automata

A mechanical automaton is an automated puppet or scene made to resemble humans, animals, or other objects in motion, using gears, cranks, cams, and linkages, transferring force, and transforming motion. We'll look at historical, and present day...


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Maker Space Build Along: Stick-eometry

Using pencils or other sticks, plus tape and rubber bands or elastic, students make their own toys that can transform from triangles, to pentagons, and pentagrams... or from hexagrams to cubes, and square bottom pyramids!


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Maker Space Build-Along: Chain Reactions!

Maker Space Build-Along: Chain Reactions!Hands-on workshops!A virtual Rube Goldberg-inspired, STEAM-powered romp into the world of building complicated chain reactions to accomplish simple tasks, from our own ordinary stuff.Using toys, along with...


More About This Provider

Type of Organization

Independent Provider of Content


Jay Mankita
310 Montague Rd
Amherst MA 01002
United States

Primary Disciplines

The programs of Playful Engineers cover:

Problem Based Learning
Problem Based Learning Workshop
Health/Physical Education
Language Arts/English
Performing Arts
Special Education
Character Education
Problem Solving
Title I
Gifted & Talented
Special Needs
Instructional Programs
Best Practice
Cause and Effect
Force and Motion
Engineering Practice

Awards, Quotes, Testimonials

“I wanted to express how nice it was for you to come and virtually visit my class. The kids were very excited to have you as our special guest and were very engaged throughout the process. They especially liked to see your Rube Goldberg Machines…”

“…They really enjoyed watching you troubleshoot the failure points and were inspired to try their own machines.  Your presentations were perfect for my middle school aged classes. I would love to make this annual event.”


“I want to thank you again for all of your help and patience. One of the last meetings we had was an all staff reflection on content area work. We, the science teachers, used the video from one of our students (his dog rang a bell that triggered a marble that travelled down to release a dog treat) as the highlight of our year and the end of our presentation…”

“…We marveled as this shy young man found his voice through engineering, design, and construction. A big assist to you for making that happen.”


"Hi Jay, my third grade students and I are so thankful for the incredible STEM experience you gave to us! I have so many awesome videos from their time building - they love watching them to see where they made mistakes, how they fixed them, modified and improved. Thank you!" - ALICIA CAREY, 3RD GRADE TEACHER, PERRY K-8, BOSTON

"I just wanted to thank you for all that you did with our students at Mapleshade School. The kids had such a terrific experience working with you, and the culminating event was also a huge success. It was so nice to meet you, and just keep up the great work, Jay!" - DAVID AXELRAD, GIFTED/TALENTED ENRICHMENT TEACHER, MAPLESHADE ELEMENTARY, EAST LONGMEADOW, MA

"I was so energized by your presentation! The kids were engaged and enjoyed the experience very much!" - GIUSEPPE DELISI, 1ST GRADE TEACHER, PLUM COVE ELEMENTARY, MA

"Hi Jay, First let me thank you for an absolutely fabulous workshop at the Monson Free Library. Our families had such a great time and it was wonderful to see kids completely engrossed in building and experimenting and playing. Your balance of sharing information and then just getting out of their way was brilliant. Parents and kids both expressed how much they loved the program - thank you for a great afternoon." - SANDY COURTNEY, YOUTH SERVICES, MONSON FREE LIBRARY, MA

"Jay is phenomenal! Jay arrived early. My group consists of grades kindergarten through 4th. The children sat attentively during Jay's demonstration and asked and answered many pertinent questions. Jay provided a huge assortment of materials for the children. They had so much fun constructing, creating, taking things apart, and rebuilding. It was awesome to watch the children think and see their wheels turning as they worked on their machines. We can't wait to have Jay back!" - STACEY RUSSO, ARLINGTON CHILDREN'S CENTER, MA

"Dear Jay, Thank you so, so much for an amazing day yesterday here at Reading Public Library!  Both the children and teen programs were incredible!!! The kids LOVED it and parents raved. Your dedication to education, free-thinking, exploration and tinkering truly shined in both programs as is evidenced by the kids' very creative contraptions.  I appreciate you catering the program to the two audiences, especially allowing teens to use tools & hardware, get loud, messy and just have a blast while exploring physics and engineering concepts. Thank you again." - RENEE SMITH, TEEN/YA LIBRARIAN, READING, MA

"Hi Jay, We wanted to thank you for your visit last week!! The kids really enjoyed it and were very engaged and excited about the program." - SUSAN CARTER, RECREATION SPECIALIST, BURLINGTON REC DEPT, VT

"Hi Jay - Thank you for the wonderful workshop you did here at the Attleboro Public Library yesterday! The kids had a fabulous time & learned a lot about force & motion. You were very patient with all of the questions and gave helpful advice when the kids asked. It was great to watch the kids work together & come up with different ideas on how to get their machines to work. Parents & caregivers were quick to tell me how much fun their kids had." - KRYSTAL BROWN, CHILDREN'S LIBRARIAN, ATTLEBORO PUBLIC LIBRARY, MA