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A softer side of create-and-make… Teach your children.

Birthday Present

Tonight’s post is a more general one. We are approaching the “consumer holiday” season in America and many will be out buying toys for children. Consider an inexpensive construction project where you and your children can both participate. You will be teaching them a whole lot more than construction techniques. They will learn the pride of seeing something start from an idea to a plan and on to something tangible that they can say: “Look at what daddy/mommy and I made.”

On this site I decided to turn the projects into teaching moments.  Instead of just posting things others and I have built, I talk in detail, sometimes too much detail,  about the planning and principles in the design.  Projects do not have to always be that complicated.  This is especially the case once you have experience in the construction.

My granddaughter was over visiting and saw the crane boom I am constructing.  She wanted to use it like a bridge and drive toy cars though it.   Today was her fourth birthday so I bought all the parts and pieces so her and her daddy can construct a bridge as well as several toy cars to drive across it.

Not only do children get to feed their creativity, but they get probably the most important thing anyone can get out of life.  The feeling of “I can do it”. The self-esteem of not feeling captured by situations but one of “Bring it on – I can figure it out.”  With parents sitting next to them and assisting they learn trust and how much better things are with cooperation.

I posted this picture on my personal facebook page and an Egyptian friend and I had a nice long conversation about what we would make out of this stuff if we were children.  Imagination!  She said she would make a bridge across an imaginary river and strap some of the sticks on one of the cars to take them to her garden and make a boat out of paper with a stick for the mast of a sail.   I said I would probably form some kind of chute out of the sticks and roll marbles down it.  (Actually I did do that as a kid with old venetian blind slats and wood blocks.)   So there it is: two adults from two very different cultures and very different backgrounds being kids and enjoying creating our own environment.

Colored paper, craft sticks, glue, and water colors are relatively inexpensive and the time spent creating and building will make this the most valuable investment you can do with your children.

It does not take “high-tech” or all the math to build and create.  It just takes imagination.  Try to give that to your children and try to not rob them of that with toys with some marketed cartoon character. Feed their individuality.

A late addition to this post: I really should have linked the site that tells just about everything you need to know about popsicle bridge construction.   Model Bridge Design That site is dedicated to making them good and strong…. In this case I am interested in making a toy but developing an interest.



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1 comment to A softer side of create-and-make… Teach your children.

  • Gary

    I really should have linked the site that got me interested in popsicle stick construction, I cannot remember how I ended up running into it but it got me interested in constructing things on a small scale. Model Bridge Design – http://www.garrettsbridges.com/ is a good place to find a lot of details and he actually sells plans and kits. He is more interested in building them for high strength to weigh ratio. For my 4 yr old Granddaughter I am only interested in getting her interested in making things at this point. I think she will enjoy making a bridge to drive small cars across.

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