Shopping for holiday gifts looks a little different this year. Not only will holiday celebrations be smaller or virtual, the gift giving process will likely follow suit. And while winter break gives kids a chance to swap virtual learning for their favorite movies of the season, we put together a list of ideas for gifts that will hopefully put the screen away altogether. These ideas include ready-made kits and DIY projects that can be made with items around the house. All of these gifts would be a welcomed break from screen time and can begin to foster early interest in architecture.
A stamp kit is a great way to encourage children to explore their artistic side. There are plenty of options to purchase a stamp kit for children, but there are also ways to make the stamps at home. Based off an architectural stamp kit, you can create a library of building shape stamps, then mount each one to a block or sturdy platform and – voila! – you have a stamp.
This is a great opportunity to discuss how buildings are broken down into shapes. It also gets children thinking about the way buildings are formed. To take it a step further, fold it up and make a 3D building with stamps marking each façade.
To encourage those who like to work with their hands, an introductory building block set is a must-have for all ages. Block building individually or in a group helps spur imagination and problem solving. Using building blocks also helps children develop critical fine and gross motor skills. Wood blocks, Mega Bloks and Lego sets are all great starters and can be expanded as the child gets older.
For kids looking to build on a larger scale, a construction fort set is a great option. Kids likely already do this with couch pillows and blankets, but this kit has the flexibility to create any layout you can think up. This life size structure gets kids thinking about engineering, geometry and physical spaces they can experience.
For kids that like to read, “If I Built a House” by Chris Van Dusen leads the reader through his fantasy house complete with a racetrack, flying room and gigantic slide. The book encourages readers to dream up their own house, outside the realm of their current residence.
Another architectural book, “Architecture According to Pigeons” by Speck Lee Tailfeather, presents the bird’s-eye view of famous buildings around the world and describes pigeons as great aficionados of architecture. This book will open the eyes of readers to the variety of architecture found in different regions and cultures.
However you choose to celebrate this year, we hope you enjoy our gift ideas. We look forward to growing the next generation of architects and builders!