Construction Play Dates

Do you have nothing but boys in your homeschool family? Or are you like me — you are the proud father of two (or more) lovable daughters… who happen to be tomboys.

Now, my girls can be feminine and frilly. My 7-year old still dons a princess tiara during tea-parties. And my 10-year old likes to wear a fancy dress when we go out to the theater. But for the most part, they like to climb trees, plays sports, and get dirty.

So, this week-end we did a very Tom-boyish thing. We got up at the crack of dawn (that wasn’t my idea, by the way, it was theirs), and we went to Home Depot. The girls decided that they wanted to build something — they didn’t really care what. And, best of all, they insisted that they were going to use their allowance money.

So, before we went, I asked them to brainstorm. They wrote out a list of different ideas (my 10-year old sketched some of her thoughts), and then they each decided on a project. The results: a “ground fort” (because we don’t have the resources to safely build a tree fort) and an airplane. That’s right — an airplane. However, they decided they would be happy if it was an airplane-shaped board on wheels.

Then, we got out some sidewalk chalk and the girls began making blue prints. They designed their structures by outlining their inventions on the cement in our backyard. Then, they got out the tape measure and took notes about the length of each piece of lumber they would need. (It wasn’t an exact science — but they came up with some good concepts.)

Now, as you probably know, wood is not cheap. However, most places such as Home Depot sell “scraps” of lumber that are no longer a specified length. We found a lot of great pieces, each for 50 cents. Not bad. We bought some wheels and a larger plank for the “airplane” (about the size of a boogie board). Finally, we went back home and spent the rest of our Saturday morning building stuff.

Then, we spent Saturday afternoon playing with the stuff they built.

I highly recommend a construction play date with your kids (and maybe their friends too). Just remember to offer words of wisdom as you go (“Measure twice, cut once”), and be certain all safety measures are followed. Use common sense, and have an uncommon amount of fun.