I love what Thomas has to say in this piece. Giving children the appropriate materials, and the right tools (real tools) to work with those materials demonstrates a level of respect for their abilities–as does giving them the appropriate techniques and training to use those tools.
When we take away tools we inhibit learning and exploration. We take away a person’s ability to work effectively.
We do the same thing when we give children substandard materials, or encourage them to use “real” materials in naive ways. Our hands and minds want to use real tools and materials. Dumbing down the way we use materials, and making every blade, point and blunt object safer for little hands is not only unnecessary, it is disrespectful to our young people.
Again, I love what Thomas has to say in this piece.
Originally posted on Make::
Recently, while looking online for woodworking tools appropriately sized for my preschool daughter, I came across some construction sets geared toward children. Thinking fondly of the sets I had when I was little, I looked closely to see if I could find one suited for my kids.
I was intrigued by one kit that promised “real” construction play. While the kits that I played with in elementary school typically included glue, nails, and a rough picture of something I could build with a hammer and maybe a saw, this kit included foam “wood,” plastic tools, and plastic nails. The promotional materials stressed that these are “real materials” and “real tools.” Real: yes. Realistic: no.
The really surprising thing was that this toy is labeled for children ages 6+ and, on Amazon, has a manufacturer’s recommended age range of 6–15. Minutes earlier I’d been confidently pricing hand drills and hammers. Now this toy…
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