When I was a kid growing up in the 1970’s we made things. That is what my friends and I did for fun. Since that decade the world has changed a whole lot. Computers, internet, cellphones, online movies and many other things absorb a lot of our time and attention. While these things are all very wonderful, they have replaced some of the simpler things in life like the art and craft of making things.
Kids in today’s world have a whole lot of instant options vying for their attention and every parent or grandparent knows that it can sometimes be difficult to pull the kids away from an electronic device and get them to do something different. But, rather than fight the technology we can co-opt it a bit by understanding and tapping into what interests them.
And the newly released hobbit movie is a great opportunity for this. What kid isn’t excited about the hobbit book and or the movies? And what kid wouldn’t want to have the iconic Sting sword from the movies?
A transformation occurs when a child makes something. He or she crosses the line from a consumer being entertained to a creator. His imagination is ignited. He no longer watching Frodo carry the sword, he made the sword himself and carries it off to fight Smaug himself.
And this time making something is a great opportunity to spend simple time together talking and collaborating on a project. So, if you are looking for a reason to get the kids away from the television think about using a movie or a video game as the catalyst. Here are some suggestions from the Hobbit movies of inexpensive projects that you might want to make with a child.
Sting- the glowing sword that Frodo and Bilbo carry. – You can even use the non-toxic fluid in a glow stick to make your Sting glow.
The Dwarven Windlass – This is a unique type of catapult that is used to bring down the dragon Smaug. You can make your Windlass shoot straws or cotton swabs.
Our Merry band of Dwarves all carry unique weapons from a hammer to a bow, slingshot and polearm. These are all very fun projects that can be made cheaply with foamboard and a broomstick or dowel.
And the list of possibilities is endless. We don’t have to choose swords and weapons. The hobbit movies also offer us lots of other options. You can also make a hobbit terrarium complete with hobbit hole and live plants. This combines a child’s interest in hobbits and in gardening. It is a nice synthesis of subjects that gives us the opportunity to make something.
All of this applies not only to the Hobbit movie but it also applies to video games. If your son or daughter has a favorite video game you can certainly find something within the game that the child would like to make. So, with a just a few questions you can target in on something that your child or grandchild might like to make and turn it into a wonderful Saturday afternoon project.