My son didn’t have a great year of school last year. At one of the parent-teacher conferences, his teacher suggested we didn’t do enough “enrichment” with him at home. His teacher later suggested to my son that he should be building models at home.
Neither my son, nor I knew exactly what this meant. My son decided to set to work calling his Lego creations “models” of this or that, and I started researching online. It seemed like most models I think of when I think of kids building models, are not age and dexterity appropriate for a 6 year old. But alas, I ended up buying two rubber band model airplanes, thinking it might be fun for the whole family.
During the last week of summer vacation, I covered the dining room table in flattened cardboard boxes and we set to work on one of the models.
It took the whole week. I did the vast majority of the work, as, yes, the work required much patience, fine motor skills, and tedium. But everyone helped a little. My 9 year old got the most entertainment out of the experience. She was not remotely interested in the model, but thoroughly enjoyed X-acto knife sets left out for chopping, carving and whittling whatever scraps she found or materials she brought into the room, she had lots of fun cutting up one of the sticky rubber wall climbing spiders.
My 11 year old proved that these projects are really for her age range and above. She could sit the longest actually able to decode the directions, cut the pieces accurately and glue them into place. My husband was a good sport and helped out too. My son had no interest other than wanting to paint it once it was finished (which we decided not to do after we saw it fly!)
By the time the plane was finished, none of us had much interest. None of us are that interested in planes in general. When we tried to fly it, it was just like a really good paper airplane. A boat may have been a more interesting model project for us.
I watched a couple YouTube videos of similar planes flying and tried to fly it again yesterday, but the rubber band snapped and busted the plane apart in a few places!
So it was not a resounding success, but in the end was pretty fun to put together. We also thought it would be fun to fly into a fire the next time we built one.
Building the model did feel like doing a jigsaw puzzle. I think these models would be awesome for someone who can’t move around much or are waiting (I wonder if the glue is safe for hospital rooms or waiting rooms). You do still need to be able to concentrate, hold still, see tiny things and move/reach stuff, so has to the the right not moving around situation. You do need a bit of space to spread out and leave things out for a while. It also might be great for a family vacation to leave out and everyone add a little at a time, and then see it fly at the end. A 7 year old neighbor came over the other day and saw the plane and said he’d love to see it fly because he’d read about a similar plane in a Berenstain Bears book, so maybe my son and I just needed to read the right books at home before starting this project.