From the Playground to Pilot: How making a model can shape a child’s future.
The average 8 to 11-year-old now spends 4.5 hours in front of a screen every day, rising to 6.5 hours for teenagers, and a staggering 71% of children (aged 5 to 15) in the UK play video games online. Airfix, one of the world’s oldest and most well-known manufacturers of model kits, is today highlighting to parents how turning off the Wi-Fi and empowering their children to turn to model-making, can be a fun alternative to screen time, have multiple educational benefits and change family life.
Here, Dale Luckhurst, Head of Brand at Airfix, discusses just how children and parents alike can benefit from model-making:
Unleash their inner artist:
When children are challenged to focus on something specific, such as building a model, their creativity can flourish and the process of assembling, painting, or adding extra details to the finished model can be a great opportunity for them to highlight their personality.
As a parent, it is a lovely opportunity to watch and encourage your child’s imagination to be set free.
Help with physical fine-motor skills and encourage problem-solving:
Children are best equipped to become excellent critical thinkers when they are introduced to basic problem-solving at a young age. Building models alone, or even with supervision, offers ample opportunities to problem-solve. This can include determining what piece fits where, ascertaining what colour palette to use to match the original design, calculating the amount of glue required based on the volume provided, and how to affix the accompanying model stand.
Furthermore, multiple build/assembly techniques can be utilised in model making. Through these, children can develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination, which is crucial for other early learning areas such as handwriting.
A fun form of education:
A scale model is normally a replica of a real object or vehicle that is rich in history. As such, models tend to have a powerful story that you can explain to your child or encourage them to research themselves when they are making it. The more a child discovers about the model, the more passionate they may be about creating an authentic and detailed version of their own. In fact, it may lead to the exploration of a larger subject. For example, our Spitfire Starter Set could lead to a full discovery about the Battle of Britain.
Furthermore, unearthing a passion for an object or vehicle at a young age may inspire actual career choices. Many Airfix fans are members of the armed forces or are now engineers, or commercial pilots, with many attributing their career inspiration to building models as a youngster.
As any parent will know, attempting to engage with a child engrossed in a TV, phone, or computer, can be a challenge. Introducing a hobby such as modelling is a great way to bond as a family. It encourages children to spend time away from screens and improves their concentration, and it’s a great way to share your skills and experience, enabling your family to all work together on something you’re all proud of. Every model you complete with your children, simply reinforces what you can accomplish when you work together and creates lifelong memories.
Perseverance, patience, and commitment:
In a world where everyone expects everything immediately, whether it be ultra-fast broadband, next-day delivery, instant TV downloads, or online banking decisions, it’s safe to summarise that people are losing patience. They seem less willing to commit to anything long-term as their attention spans shrink. This is especially true among the younger generation. With modelling, you can show your children the rewards of perseverance, patience, and commitment to achieving their goals, while teaching them how to approach projects piece by piece.
In summary, making models with your children can start at any age. From a baby building and stacking blocks, a toddler building a basic wooden train set, or a young child building their first plastic model with arts and crafts materials, to teenagers building scale models and adults modelling with their children and grandchildren. You’re not just teaching children skills and attributes they’ll need later in life; you get to spend meaningful time together as a family, creating precious moments that will remain with you all for a lifetime.