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85. Junk-Modelling

Sep 19, 2020 • 7 min read
85. Junk-Modelling

There is construction play - and then there is junk modelling. Junk modelling is by far the most creative and challenging type of construction play for young children. Toys like Lego and wooden blocks are excellent and rightly popular - but their strength is also their greatest weakness.

There is construction play - and then there is junk modelling. Junk modelling is by far the most creative and challenging type of construction play for young children. Toys like Lego and wooden blocks are excellent and rightly popular - but their strength is also their greatest weakness. Regular sizes and straight lines make construction easy for small hands, but they also limit the extent to which a creation can morph and change.

With junk modelling, children are encouraged to engage in divergent thinking. This is super important! Convergent thinking is for tasks that have only one outcome, such as puzzles. On the other hand, divergent thinking is for tasks that have several possible solutions and the child has to find the best one.

A child fashioning a robot in a junk modelling session might need to ask: what’s the best material to use for my robot’s eyes? Should I cut up toilet rolls, or use those foil cake trays from the recycling? How will I attach them? Glue or tape? If glue, I have to lie the robot down until the glue sets otherwise the eyes will fall off. And so on. Thus, the junk modelling child is setting herself challenges and finding solutions independently. It’s also a great way to put a dent in your recycling pile. A few suggestions for successful junk modelling:

  • Keep a box for junk modelling so you’ll always be ready
  • save cereal boxes, egg boxes, toilet rolls, plastic spoons, aluminium foil - anything!
  • Connect together with tape, glue, string, blu-tack, paper clips, pegs or whatever you can find
  • Turn it into a race by setting time limits, or give your modelling a theme by creating an army or family, or setting a scene

Alexis

I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. Now I write about all things play here on the blog. Read more

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