My kids love playing Minecraft ; even our own Junior Style Blogger has expressed a little bit of an obsession with the game. Similar to our love of LEGO, Minecraft has a way of encouraging creativity and community with my kids. While looking for ways to expand on their interest, I stumbled upon a fabulous online DIY community just for kids.
Whether it’s building their first birdhouse out of wood scraps or helping to start a cooking fire when camping with the family, kids love being involved and learning new things. DIY.org builds upon this desire adding with it the badge system we remember from having our kids in Beavers and Brownies. I loved earning my badges when I was in Girl Guides and it was the only thing that kept my oldest daughter interested in Brownies.
DIY.org encourages kids to become Makers: “The big idea is that anyone can become anything just by trying – we all learn by doing. Our company and our community strive to make it easier for Makers to build confidence in their own creativity.”
The site consists of real life skills that a child works on by completing a number of hands-on challenges. The challenges start easy and build-up in difficulty though you don’t have to complete them in order. For example, the Block Builder skill (the skill that drew me to the site due to my own children’s fascination with building in Minecraft) starts with simple challenges such as Stack a Tower or Make a Block Creature and then moves into more complicated challenges like Construct a Sculpture and Make a Stacking Game.
Each challenges shows an example from outside sources to inspire kids and get them thinking. Once they’ve completed a challenge, they must submit proof of their work in a video or photo format for approval. Kids can pick the challenges they want to work on under a skill and to achieve a badge they need to successfully complete at least three of the listed skills. I love how the challenges vary; giving kids a variety of options to work on toward their skill based on interest and ability. When successful, a badge will appear within their profile page for the skills they have achieved.
Kids can also work toward achieving different skill badges at one time. My son has earned his Block Builder badge and is working on his Skater skill badge as well as his Gamer skill badge. Our Junior Style Blogger is working on a number of skill badges too, such her Chef skill badge, her Interior Designer skill badge, and her Club Maker skill badge.
I must admit, I am impressed with the number of different skills kids can work toward and DIY.org keeps adding new ones. It’s great to see my kids working on ideas in the real world learning skills that can benefit them but they also might discover a true interest or passion in a certain field they want to continue exploring.
Within the community aspect of DIY.org, kids can get inspired by other kids as they see their finished work, they can also support and feel supported as they comment on the work displayed in the community. It’s one thing to look at an artists work as an example but seeing work completed by someone your own age is much more awe-inspiring and encouraging.
DIY.org is a member site, though there is no membership fee. The profile pages are very simple, asking for and providing very little information. The profile pictures are predetermined animal faces kids can choose from and no personal information is gathered. It’s a page to show your work and badges. The community connection is limited to simple comments with no social sharing beyond that.
There is even a parent community, where I can choose how much I want to be kept in the loop. I can see my children’s profile page, get emails on the challenges they’ve submitted or completed, see profile pages they commented on and those profile pages they follow. Seeing the creativity of my own kids and the others within the growing community, I can’t help but feel inspired to try my hand at a few new skills.
There is also a DIY.org app you can grab from the iTunes store. This enables kids to submit their work right from their apple device, which is usually the way my kids update their challenge completions.
If you’re looking to build upon your child’s current interests, expand their skills into other areas they’ve never thought of, or just want to keep them occupied, you should checkout DIY.org. Perhaps you have a Detective or Solar Engineer living in your midst, waiting for a little encouragment.