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Newspaper Roll Structure

Posted Oct 08 2012 10:20am
I rarely post craft and other project ideas. Mostly because I borrow other people's ideas and if they have already blogged about it, then why add to the repetition.

However, there is this one thing that my son's therapist came up with, that I absolutely have to share. I have not seen it online many times, except here: Life Size Building Blocks.

We have had a toy called Crazy Forts for a while.

You build things like this out of it. I like the concept, but it keeps falling apart though and I wish it would stay together longer. However it is fun building designs and going in and out of your life size creations.

Here is a structure made out rolled newspapers.

The rolled paper was really strong. It just didn't stand properly and kept collapsing. I loved it because it becomes an engineering challenge.

I always feel that we should do crafts and projects with kids that we find interesting ourselves. They can be simple like finger painting (which we love by the way) and don't always have to be something intellectually challenging for an adult, but if you don't enjoy making picture frames out of lolly sticks, then why make your kid go through that?

Here is the rolled newspaper structure.

My daughter is demonstrating how to hold it up and stand inside it. If she lets go it collapses on itself. Definitely something I will be revisiting as a construction and engineering challenge. The possibilities to teach out of this experience are endless. Even its collapsing and not working out perfectly for us was a teaching opportunity for my son. Dealing with the failure of your design is a lesson in life!

He enjoyed rolling the newspapers and watching the thing come together, holding things in place while an adult conceptualizes the design. You can draw layouts and structures like an architect and then construct what you have come up with. I love this thing. Coming up with a design for the first time was too complicated for him and we need to wait until he is developmentally capable and self regulated enough to add to the thing himself and make it his own.  However since he has proved that he is completely able to come up with his own design for things , with the marble run toy, I am very hopeful.

I just wanted to share this becuase it is a most excellent framework for teaching a number of things to a kid on the spectrum or any kid, regardless of age, verbal ability and so on.

I remember learning about structures and materials in A-level Physics and I remember trying to make a bridge that would hold a certain weight. I was hopeless at it because I was not trained to think like that, I was a text book kid. I knew the science but I couldn't apply my knowledge. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are the main student and you can re-learn everything, enjoy yourself, and transfer the love of learning to your children.
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