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In an earlier post I recommended a Battat take apart toys so kids become familiar with tools and assembling things. Another toy I found that helps with the same skills is the Create a Dino triceratops. We bought this totally out of chance at a Christmas shopping trip to Marshalls. Our son LOVES triceratops, so we knew he would love it.
And so arrives Christmas day, and as predicted, he loved it! Not only was it a toy of his favorite dinosaur, but something he could use a “power” tool and build. He opened the box and got to it. First he started with disassembling the dinosaur using the provided drill. He was doing pretty good, but at some point got stuck at removing the head. This is the conversation I had with him:
Me: Have you read the instructions?
My son: *grabs the schematic in the picture. “Can you help me take off the head?”
Me: “I don’t think the head comes off”
My son: “Yes it does, see” as he points to the part of the exploded view drawing that says it does…”
You see, unlike a Lego kit or other “follow the instructions” toys, this toy did not include step by step instructions on how to take apart the toy. It simply provided a drawing (which you can see in the picture) of how to assemble the dinosaur. In the engineering drafting world, this is called an exploded view of the drawing. Usually these are provided to engineers and mechanics as an overall depiction of how to construct something (machinery, piping system, structures, etc.). They are usually accompanied with detailed step by step instructions, because most people have difficulties reading these types of drawings and determining what to do first. But kids are different. They don’t see that everything has to be done in the same sequential order all the time. They don’t know that this drawing should be difficult to read, so my 5 year old just saw it the same way he saw the instructions for his Lego; as the instructions on how to play with his toy.
Enjoy watching your kid be an engineer!
Looking for other ways to introduce you kids to engineering? Check out some of my other posts!
Tinker Crate: Circuits and Optics
Teach Your Kid to be a Reliability Engineer!
Teach Your Kid to be a Mechanical Engineer!
Teach Your Kid to be a Project Engineer!
Be a Process Engineer: Play “How’s it Made?”
Learn about Forces at the Splash Park!
Exploring Energy: How Are Height and Distance Related?
10 Books that Inspire Kids to be Engineers
Toys that Teach Engineering