During a lecture, a parent asked me, “What can I do at home to introduce architecture to my children?” I was thrilled that she asked, and my response was, “You already are.” Of course, I elaborated. Architecture is something that EVERYONE experiences, but not everyone is aware. The only thing that parents could do differently is identify the architecture in her child’s experience and point it out to them. If you need examples of how to do that, I have them. Here are 6 ways you can introduce architecture to your child.
- When they play in section…
PHOTO: POTTERY BARN KIDS
Children who play with dollhouses are playing in section. Sections are a cut through a building or space from top to bottom that allows you to see how the spaces interact vertically. The perfect dollhouses that allow children to grasp the concept are the ones that have a hinge and allow the child to open the house.
- When they play by building…
Blocks, cards, and magnets are just a few examples of items children use to build. When the child builds, they are taking their creativity out of their mind and recreating it in a tangible form. That process is called design. Tell them what they are doing. Also, make sure to mention that it is the same process architects use when they draw or build models of their designs.
- When they play with miniature scenes
Children are always fascinated by miniature replications of the world around them. Model trains and miniature houses are the most popular. When your child encounters these works of art, point out the level of detail that is used to replicate the real thing. Again, reiterate that architects and urban planners build models like this to understand how the architecture fits in the context of entire cities. They will begin to have an awareness of the vastness of architecture.
- When they help in the kitchen
When you are preparing a meal, and your little one is assisting, point out how the kitchen flows with cooking. Is it easy to get from the stove to the sink and the refrigerator? The architect must think about all the functions that will happen in a space while he/she is designing. If your kitchen doesn’t have a great flow, ask your child how they would design it better.
- Host an architecture charrette with Next Great Architects
PHOTO: NEXT GREAT ARCHITECTS
We have a variety of design charrettes for children as early as kindergarten. Architecture is endless in possibilities, and we can create a customized charrette based on the needs of your group. We are also a resource to collegiate students in pursuit of architecture related degrees. For more information click on the contact us tab and complete the form with your charrette request.
- Read “Jamila Pearl, The Architect Girl” to them
PHOTO: THE ARCHITECT GIRL
If you haven’t heard already, we have published our first children’s book! It is about a little girl who wants to be an architect. The book series will follow The Architect Girl through her life from the perspective of architecture. To purchase your copy, head on over to www.thearchitectgirl.com.
This list is only a fraction of the ways you can introduce architecture to your children. Which tip are you going to try first?