Our world has become too safe. In our effort to keep our children alive, we have let fear get the best of us and took all of the fun out of childhood. Our anti-bacterial everything are growing super strains of infection, the playgrounds are timid and yawn-inspring, and our Chemistry sets no longer ship with radioactive material (ok maybe that is a good thing). Don't even get me started on the supposed learning toys with one button and no challenge.
I heard about Tulley and his Tinkering School a few years ago at Maker Faire and swore that when my kids were old enough we would do this stuff. I didn't want my children to feel like they lacked the basic skills to create or if needed, survive. Plus, I have said numerous times that my most formative experiences have been learning side-by-side with my parents or under a mentor.
So a week ago, my two year old son could not stop talking about how much he loves my keyless entry badge for work. From what I can tell, he enjoys pulling the badge and watching it snap back on the reel, looking at the picture of his Dad, and saying the word Google with the same playfulness that must have inspired Mr. Kasner.
I have always joked (it wasn't a joke) with my wife that when he was old enough, I would teach him soldering, programming, welding, etc. Well, now was as good a time as any. After a quick trip to Radio Shack we were ready to go. Now a two year old's attention is a funny thing, sometimes he wanted to help too much, and other times he wanted to go play with his toys and take a nap. Nonetheless, when I handed him his badge his eyes lit up with more intensity than the LED we put in it.
This was not the joy of a new toy, this was the joy that comes from being a part of the creation of something cool. My disclaimer is this is not my best work, but I hope that each year he and I can get progressively more challenging with these projects to the point where he is teaching me. With the cost of parts so low and the abundant learning resources I can't even predict what will happen over the next 10 years. Oh and don't think my soon to be born daughter is exempt, making is a family affair!
Before you say anything, don't worry I am not pushing for my children to be anything in particular, but our education system makes us masters of nothing and I want to make sure my children are equipped to follow any path they choose.
Watch the video below, and then please, please, please let your kids do something dangerous!
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