If you have been following my Facebook or Insta timeline, you’ll know how we love DIYs in our family! Do-it-yourself, popularly referred to as DIYs is the activity of doing or building something by yourself. Except for the electronics stuff, all other decors in my children’s play room is handmade – the wooden tables, cardboard bookshelf – everything! And a n number of playthings! From time to time, there will be some designing, construction or invention happening at our home. And I’ll tell you How DIYs are interesting to children!
This post is a part of a series of posts on this blog on The Things that really matter to Children. Click the link or scroll to the bottom of this post to see the complete list of posts in the series.
DIY: How Do-It-Yourself can be interesting to Children?
Before I go further about children and DIYs, let me show off a gallery of our favourite DIYs we’ve done in the past.
At around two, when my boy began to ride his toy cars on the floors and the walls, he developed an intriguing interest to observe the real cars on the road. Most children do! The traffic signals, speed breakers, zebra crossing, petrol bunks, mechanic sheds, car wash, sign boards – to children, roads make one of the first observations of their outside world. My boy would ask us about everything he sees on the roads and would try to imitate his observation in his playtime with toy cars. That was when, one day, I thought he needs a road play mat which mimics real roads.
Four years past now, we’ve made five different versions of our road set ups, mostly each one lasting for around six months. He has travelled innumerable times on the toy roads, waited for traffic lights, slowed down at speed breakers, paused for pedestrians crossing at zebra crossing, made accidents, rescued the injured in an ambulance to a hospital, filled petrol at petrol bunks, been a traffic police, chased robbers, climbed bridges up and down, replaced tyres at the mechanic shop – if you really understand what this kind of a play means to a young child, you’ll know the power in such DIYs. Yes, road play mats are available in shops but they are more of a 2D kind and don’t come with functional components. And if anything in our mat was to tear away, we will know exactly how to repair it.
Next we made a play house. A real house with door, windows, two rooms, a kitchen, a backyard and a counter opening from the kitchen to the backyard cafe. It took several days for me to complete it. But he was with me at every step of the construction.
Though it was troublesome having him at the side, I wanted to give him that experience of watching how something is built. I wanted him to know how simple things at home like thermocol and cardboard can be used. I wanted him to observe how we we do trial and error when we want to fix things. I wanted him to develop a sense of value for everything that is made, either by a hand or machine. I wanted him to realize how ideas can be manifested into reality with effort. Believe it or not, young children are capable of picking up such details more efficiently than we think.
We have pursued several DIYs from then on. Simple things, hard things, everything we fancied for his playtime. To children, DIYs are interesting, especially when it is done in partnership with an elder. It feels very precious to them – the whole process of discussing an idea, setting up a workplace, procuring the materials and tools, outlining the work and working on it step by step. There’s excitement and anxiety as they wait for the completed work. There’s a sense of achievement and a sense of appreciation as they see a finished work. Not to be missed, there’s a special bonding that develops during the work. It’s a special time for them because their team is focussing on that one thing which is extraordinarily amazing to them.
To my boy, his mom is the best carpenter, because she made his first house ever!
Arts and crafts that parents do together with the children or children doing by themselves also come under DIYs. When you observe the interest they carry throughout their projects, you’ll know how they matter to children. It really doesn’t matter to children if the finishing is perfect or if it looks like a shop piece or if it’s worth a few thousand rupees. It’s made with real hands at home. That’s what matter to them!
Wherever possible, extend the DIYs in your home. Make paper bags, make bookshelves, make a kite or make simple racks. It demands time and effort, yes, but if you can dedicate a couple of hours in a week to make something interesting, it is going to stay a precious memory in their minds, we are helping the next generation to progress towards sustainable living and most importantly, we are allowing children to explore a resourceful component of their childhood.
Making, creating and building with their own hands matters to children!
You may want to check all our DIY posts with step-by-step instructions.
List of posts in the Series
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