KidsBuild IS ABOUT GETTING CHILDREN INTERESTED IN TECHNOLOGY
KidsBuild provides schools and youth clubs with model kits (e.g. model boats, planes) and the required tools to run small model building projects, and executes the projects in collaboration with the schools/youth clubs. There is a lot of talk about getting Britain back to its engineering roots – KidsBuild is a grassroots, hands-on effort to accomplish this task.
Why get involved?
Young people can discover model building as an exciting hobby, allowing them to express themselves and be creative, while discovering technology in a playful manner.
Model building is also a very social hobby, and is cultivated in many clubs around the country: Youngsters can discuss their models with their peers and adults, and can get inspired by others’ ideas.
Participants learn handicraft techniques, work with different materials, and see the tangible output of their work. Planning their project requires patience and diligence which are great skills to master.
Technology and engineering as a career
Youngsters who have been model builders in their youth often later pursue technical careers, such as engineers, physicists, etc. The initiative also correlates closely to the broader societal theme of “getting Britain back to its engineering roots”.
What can be built?
Many different project fit under the KidsBuild umbrella. including boats, balsa gliders and mosaic. It clearly depends on the age group of the kids, the skill level, and the context of the project.
The Rotary Club of Westminster East has had very good experience with the rubber band boat for 8-11 year old children. The reason being that it is rather quick to build, it leaves room for creativity (decorating, painting), while crucial skills are being taught (using fretsaw, measuring, etc.). Above all, the fun factor is very high since the project usually involves an excursion to the park to play with it.
For very young kids or mixed groups, we have used classic paper boats as a fall back for the younger ones, who will not yet be able to work with a fretsaw etc. At our project at St. Marylebone Parish, the boat building exercise fitted well into the discussion of Noah’s Ark at the children’s service.
What can be built?
What materials and tools are needed?
The internet offers many resources for craft projects, whether it is building kits or creative projects involving household “waste” such as boats made from corks or milk cartons. Please see on the side a list of ideas to get started, there are no limits.
The materials required depends on the model you intend to build. Paper boats just require paper and some coloured pens. The rubber band boat can be bought as a readily configured kit for example at Opitec-UK (~2.20GBP), but it is also possible to cut wood strips to the right length and buy nails, rubber bands etc. separately.
In terms of tools, fretsaws, hammers, sanding paper and a ruler are the basic requirements (for the rubber band boat). When working with balsa wood (e.g. balsa glider), a balsa knife is very suitable.
Links to Further Resources
- 20 boat craft ideas: http://www.redtedart.com
- Other craft ideas for kids: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk
- Rubber band boat (incl. instruction manual): http://uk.opitec.com/opitec-web/articleNumber/103015/kssc
- Balsa glider (incl. instruction manual): http://uk.opitec.com/opitec-web/articleNumber/102021/ksfl
- Model boat kits for the serious enthusiast: www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk
- Opitec: supplier of craft kits: www.uk-opitec.com
- Easy to build model boat plans: http://eezebilt.co.vu/index.html