When building something with children, the first thing to keep in mind is that the most important success in this project is that the Children still like you when it's done.
Once upon a time, I bought a book shelf that needed to be put together. I put it somewhere that wasn't in the way, and then I used it as a very advanced tool for collecting that most precious of all household commodities… dust. It was developing a fine reputation for its flawless performance when I decided out of the blue to ruin that progress, and finally put it together. One thing I have learned over the years is that if I'm doing something that 'seems' like it could maybe, possibly, kind of, think about, considering being the most miniscule amount of interesting, I suddenly develop some very eager, very curious, and very dedicated 'helpers' who could take no for an answer, but if I gave that answer I wouldn't be such a world class Father.
I followed these very simple steps:
- Putting the first part together was easy, I spread the pieces of the book shelf all over the place according to it's number on the directions.
- Then the children brought them back to me.
- Then I asked them to put them back where I had spread them apart to.
- Then I looked for the directions.
- I found where the children had 'put them away' at.
- Then I spread out the directions
- Then I pointed at very specific boards and called them by the name on their stickers and asked to have them brought to me.
- Then I put the fasteners into the boards
- I took the wrong fasteners out of the boards
- I searched for where the children had moved my pile of fasteners
- I redid all the fasteners
- Following the directions, I put the boards together in the right order
- With a surplus amount of help we slid the boards together.
- I searched for where the screwdriver had disappeared to.
- Practiced comforting the child that didn't want to give up the screwdriver
- Helped the child slowly turn the screws in the board
- Repositioned the pieces that had been just recently moved to another new location
- Started to nail the backing on the board
- Explained that I wanted to be the one to at least start nailing the back board on.
- Started the nails for the back board
- Gave each child a turn putting nails into the board
- Turned to console the one who didn't get to go first
- Stopped the one with the hammer from splintering the side boards further in his attempt to get the nail from the back board to the front board
- Finished the back board
- Let the children play in the finished product.
My Favorite part:
Me: Boy #2, Please remove the stickers from those boards.
Boy #2: I'm going to need the hammer.
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