We all know that preparing the next generation of people that will make up the construction workforce will be built with a solid education. Luckily, we have incredible trade schools and apprenticeship programs throughout our state. And while we believe that training young people in their teens is critical to our future success, we believe that our reach needs to extend to young children to combat the ongoing labor gap.
But how can we capture the attention of this age group? The answer: harness their innate curiosity.
Children see the world in a different light than adults. In their eyes, anything can be created if they just imagine it. It’s up to us to latch onto this natural curiosity and plant the seed for a future career in construction. Parents and teachers, keep reading, because you have the power to positively impact the future of our industry.
Excite Young Children Through Play
Toddlerhood is a time of cause and effect. This is the age to show how much fun it is to create. The following activity is a great way to encourage construction curiosity and teamwork.
Gather recycled materials, such as cardboard boxes, paper rolls, lids, plastic bottles, etc. If the children are old enough, have them work together to build a tower, stacking one item atop the next. If the children are on the younger end, demonstrate how to build one piece at a time. Then, ask the children, “How can it be made stronger?” or “How can we make the tower stand taller?” Keep working together to build the best building possible.
If you don’t have access to the above materials, you can make this an outdoor activity. Sand and dirt combined with water make a kid-friendly brick, while twigs and other sturdy natural materials can help shape the tower.
Promote Problem-Solving Skills
Preschool is the perfect opportunity to expose children to some of the basics of skilled trades and test their interest. The following activity is a great way to inspire individual creativity.
For this activity, all you’ll need are toothpicks and marshmallows. Ask the children to create their own structures by connecting toothpicks with marshmallows. If you’d like to create a bit more structure to this building project, draw up some blueprints that the children can mimic to create cubes, prisms and more.
Tap Into Hands-On Learning Styles
When it comes to early elementary students, there are many opportunities for sparking interest in the construction industry. After all, many of our state’s students are stuck in a classroom setting that doesn’t serve their learning styles. Long days of sitting still and listening, rather than interactive experiences stifle many children’s interest in learning and future success. Shake up the day with hands-on activities like the below.
Gather LEGOs of all sizes for this building activity. Whether at home or in a classroom setting, building with LEGOs can have a powerful impact on children. Give them free reign to construct anything that comes to mind or create examples for them to try to replicate. Either way, the gratification of seeing the results of their work will be powerful.
No matter how you play, remember that the key to inspiring children is to spark their curiosity for creation.