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Making a Maker... anyone succeed in getting their kids interested?

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  • Making a Maker... anyone succeed in getting their kids interested?

    First off, there's an old thread here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...ng-to-children

    Interesting, but it kind of went sideways at the end and I didn't want to revive that. So I'll very loosely paraphrase:
    • Kids sitting in the shop notice more than you think
    • Have projects with results they can take home that day
    • Wood is a good start, then blacksmith (fire and hammer), then machines.
    • Taking stuff apart is good.

    Then, there's the whole nature verses nurture debate that kind of morphs into the idea that even so-inclined kids still need the exposure, and how to get them interested in that while competing against video games et.all.

    So, anyone succeed? What worked? What didn't work?

    Me, my kid is now 6. When he was younger and still sitting is a stroller, I could give him a tablet to play with and I'd get an hour of shop time, at least some quiet stuff. I was starting to think my kid believed all I did in the shop was clean These days, he knows that if he complains then we wrap it up, so I get maybe 5 min. I've been very careful to not make "shop time" anything negative. Never forced him to stay. Sigh... it is not going well.

    He loves watching videos of trains, books on trains, and he like playing with his toy trains, though doesn't particularly show much interest in running said trains on tracks. I have enough plarail and lego duplo track to go around our entire condo (seriously). He'll stand there at his computer watching a train video while toy trains run around his feet. He's a tough nut to crack.

    He has Rubbermaid tubs full of lego... I keep buying it, he barely shows interest. He does like playing with the firetrucks or planes I've assembled for him. The best I can say is that he's at the point now where he will patiently wait, and sometimes watch, and for a few moments actually help, me do the assembly. He has other assembly type toys and fake hand tools that he shows no interest in.

    My new tactic is subterfuge... I joined the local model engineer's society and am working on getting him addicted to driving trains... yeah... train pusher I am. I'll admit it. The intent is to get him to, one day, say "Daddy, let's go to the shop and work on the train." He does like driving the train. I might win this one, maybe.



    So... should I keep trying the way I've been going or just give up and let him scream in the shop until he learns to like it... or ELSE!

    And, yes, I'm a little jealous of Mattthemuppet,

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 12-25-2016, 08:30 PM.
    http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Your kid may not yet be old enough to be a maker. And it is possible that he may never be interested in being a maker. Or it might take some maturity for him to desire to make. In the meanthime, find things he enjoys, and that you enjoy, and enjoy doing those things with him. He is an individual, unique human being and, while he he may not ever take an interest in all aspects of your habby, share with him when he will listen and youmay find that someday later he will want to learn some of these skills.

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    • #3
      Do not force an interest.

      Originally posted by kf2qd View Post
      Your kid may not yet be old enough to be a maker. And it is possible that he may never be interested in being a maker. Or it might take some maturity for him to desire to make. In the meanthime, find things he enjoys, and that you enjoy, and enjoy doing those things with him. He is an individual, unique human being and, while he he may not ever take an interest in all aspects of your habby, share with him when he will listen and youmay find that someday later he will want to learn some of these skills.
      I am wonderfully blessed, Both my children became interested in their early years, and they still are. My neighbour for 30 years had two children, and despite his and my efforts to interest them, neither of them have the slightest interest in our hobbies which encompass, model engineering, antique car restoration, home machine shop for profit and others as the fancy takes us. The only advice I dare give is, just be yourself,If your son takes an interest then encourage it, if he does not then encourage him to become good at whatever interests him and enjoy your shop time by yourself. Regards David Powell.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by David Powell View Post
        ... and enjoy your shop time by yourself. Regards David Powell.
        CRY!!! that's the whole point. I can't... I have to watch my kid. I'll admit it... I'm selfish. I want him to enjoy the shop so that I can too. I'm lucky if I can get a half day a week in the shop. Right now, I have 10 days off work for the winter break. So, my wife goes full-time at work and my kid's off school, and here I sit. ARGH! The best I can get is banging my head on the computer, learning to draw in Inventor.

        I'm sitting here doing the math... 52 weeks a year, maybe 40 shop days, another 8 years before my kid grows up and doesn't want anything to do with me besides being a cash and taxi service... I barely get enough time in the shop to maintain the shop. Motorcycles just sitting there... van and car falling apart. ALL those projects calling to me. Sigh... (Oh, my shop is across town from where I live... makes it worse).

        Yes, I love my kid. Yes, I treasure the time we have together. We went for a hike today and it was great. Yes, I encourage him to explore and succeed at the things he shows an interest in. I do try to be a good Dad. Honest. But... am I such a bad Dad for wanting to find a way to get him interested in hanging around the shop? Even if I have to be sneaky about it?

        There has to be a way

        David...
        http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          When my kids were young (late 1970s, early 1980s) I managed to play with some of the early consumer grade computers such as the sinclair 80, atari 400, etc. So the kids grew up knowing that you could make them do things. I liked gadgets, so we had CB radios, video games and home computers before they were "the thing". I had limited space and limted budget, so I had virtually no tools.

          Fast forward to 1990. Neither of them had any interest in making things, but both had their own computers (which they helped assemble) and were active on the forums of the day.

          Today one of them is in the technical field (a computer geek) , the other has become an artist. The artist makes "artisan jewelry" using small baubles from bygone ages.

          There is no way to tell how kids will develop, nor what their interests will be.
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

          Location: SF East Bay.

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          • #6
            I think my son will be, I cannot go into the garage without him demanding to go too. What ever I touch, he has to, and he learns very quickly what tool is used for what just by watching. Unfortunately, my shop is not safe for a 2 year old, too many things that spin with no guards, too many sharp things, too many oily things laying around. At least I put all the poisonous stuff into a cabinet.



            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              Careful with that RB211.

              My youngest son (now an artist) was playing with his toys in the garage as I worked on my motorcycle. I was called away for a few minutes, and when I came back he had my wrenches carefully spread out on the floor, sorted by length. Well, all except the one that was now hanging off the bolt that clamped the axle of the front tire to my motorcycle.

              Who would have expected a 3 year old kid to be able to back off a 12mm bolt several full turns?

              Dan
              At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

              Location: SF East Bay.

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              • #8
                that's a tough one. I only have a sample of 2 - one who loves mechanical stuff, the other who is more girly but still likes making stuff. I'm not sure any advice I could give would be very useful as every child (and their relationship with their parents) is different, but here's how I went about it. First, get them involved in everyday stuff, like RB above. That way it's familiar and tools/ machines are part of everyday life. If something breaks, fix it with them or for them. Second, follow their lead whenever possible, it has to be something they're interested in (presents for mum is a winner in my experience). Third, give it time. I've been trying since Sophie could toddle and it's only been the last couple of Christmases that she's been the driver of the project (she's nearly 11). The rest of the time she's had the idea and I've done most of the work, as she got bored quickly.

                As David said, you can't force it. Kids will do want you want to please you, but if their heart's not in it they'll end up feeling guilty for not really wanting to do it.

                And I feel for you about the limited shop time. I get an hour a week or so during the semester and then go bonkers during the holiday to catch up. Sometimes I just go out there, drill a hole and then go to bed. Still, at least we have shops! Every little bit helps

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                  I think my son will be, I cannot go into the garage without him demanding to go too. What ever I touch, he has to, and he learns very quickly what tool is used for what just by watching. Unfortunately, my shop is not safe for a 2 year old, too many things that spin with no guards, too many sharp things, too many oily things laying around. At least I put all the poisonous stuff into a cabinet. ...
                  Yeah, I was a volunteer Big Brother a long time ago... we were putting together some soapbox derby cars for a fundraiser and the fairly new baby of another guy was there. One thing led to another and I ended up watching the kid for a while... he was plunked down on the board while I was spinning on nuts (it was a kit-car thing). Within a minute, it was clear he wanted to try... couldn't talk yet, but I got the idea. Within a minute or two, he got my circular pantomime to spin it in the right direction. Another few minutes and he was using a wrench. 5 minutes after that he refused to allow me to do any of them. Yeah... my kid's not like that.

                  I will say, to my advantage, that my kid is extra careful. The worst he's done to himself is nick a finger while reaching up inside a printer. Well, a few skinned knees over the years. But, he doesn't grab stuff, never burnt himself on the stove. Only kid I know that actually backs off and stares when you say "be careful." Always been that way. It's enough of a thing that I worry my wife and I will get complacent and he'll end up getting hurt on something stupid.

                  David...
                  http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fixerdave View Post
                    These days, he knows that if he complains then we wrap it up, so I get maybe 5 min.
                    Congratulations, you've lost. Your child is now in charge. My friend had the same problem. We would want to go sailing or work on his sailboat
                    but he also had to watch over his two boys. We started by teaching them that whiners get nothing. If they behaved, we would do something
                    they wanted when we were done with the boat.
                    Location: Long Island, N.Y.

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                    • #11
                      My son didn't really care much about mechanical things until he was in his 30's. But now he takes an interest.
                      "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RichR View Post
                        Congratulations, you've lost. ...
                        Honestly, I've thought of that. With most things, he does as he's told and has learned that pulling the little tantrum routine is a fast way to getting everything he really doesn't want, at least with Dad. But, I've been extra careful with the shop... because I want him to like it, not put up with it.

                        So, I take it your vote is for "or just give up and let him scream in the shop until he learns to like it... or ELSE!" ?

                        I mean... that is an option. Just give up on him liking it and making him learn to put up with it. If he's got Maker in him, it might just come out if he's bored stiff otherwise. Seriously, believe me, I have thought of it, and it might come to that.

                        Then again... it is supposed to be his day. I do get my half-day in the shop a week while his mother watches. And, when those thoughts run through my mind, I tend to think if I were divorced and this was my custody day, how would I spend it? Kind of puts things in perspective for me. And, really, I am complaining because I'm only getting a half-day a week in the shop. It could be worse, I could have no day. Or, even worse, I could have all day every day in the shop. Perspective is good,

                        David...
                        http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I love my sons dearly but they are in the 98% part of Americans that go to work, come home, watch TV or play video, etc & have no time/interest to do anything else. My dad was the same. They were exposed to flying, motocross, scuba, mountain biking, snow machines, 4 wheeling, shooting , hunting, etc, etc.
                          I've helped several young guys set up shops & the latest young man is just great. My 4 year old Grandson seems to have the same spark as I to "make it happen". He HAS to know why & how things work, his mind is total black & white with no gray area at all & instantly knows what he wants & doesn't stop till he gets it. If you took him to a toy store he would not have to decide on what to get he'd know it when he saw it & then time to go. My goal is to have a business started for him so he doesn't have to work for anyone ever as with his personality it would probably be hard. I hope it all works out. That's my mission anyway, wish me luck!

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                          • #14
                            Mt Grandson has taught his parents the same thing. He's totally different when he comes to our house. He's well behaved, polite & loves Grandads shop. The only time he throws a fit is when his parents try to take him home as he wants to stay here because we treat him as a real person & not a problem.

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                            • #15
                              I have a girl and was concerned about the same things when she was growing up. However, my work situation was quite different than most. I worked in the Alaska bush and was home for 7 days and then gone for 7 days. So there was a whole lot of catching up when I finally got home. By the time she was 6 I was manufacturing parts by the hundreds for one of my inventions. She use to bring me coffee and beer in the shop, the coffee cup was always full but the beer was usually half gone or nearly half gone by the time it got to me, she loved the taste of beer.

                              When she was between 3 and 6 I would help her make things like stick houses, bird houses made out of junk pieces of wood, airplanes and cars also made out of my scrape pieces of wood. She wasn't thrilled with the shop but it was something to do because I was one of those hard nosed dads that didn't allow video games in the house.

                              When she was 6 I was deep into manufacturing parts by the hundreds for one of my inventions during my 7 days off. She had been to a few trade shows with me and her mom and kind of knew what was going on. So I asked her once if she wanted to help me in the shop and to my surprise she jumped at the chance. So I set her up at the drill press with goggles cinched up on her head and 700 pieces of 7075 T6 aluminum tubes to deburr on both ends with a special deburring tool running in the drill press. I figured she would peter out in short order but she deburred and stacked all 700 pieces just like I showed her.

                              She helped me and her mom (a picture framer) many times like that but as she got older it became harder to get her in the shop and keep her once she was there. She is now 31 and wants nothing to with a shop of any kind. I think I burned her out. But all is not lost as I have a couple grandsons now so if I play my cards right I may be able to get them interested in shop work.

                              I think you might be out of luck just like me. Even a massive amount of shop DNA didn't help me. My dad was a shop guy my wife and I are both shop people. My wifes dad was a big time shop guy (55 model engines, trains, boilers, tractors etc) as was his wife and my daughters great grandfather was a life time gunsmith. So there was no shortage of shop DNA but the kid just doesn't have the desire.

                              Good luck Dave.

                              Ron
                              Last edited by nc5a; 12-26-2016, 03:11 AM.

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