Online DIY community for kids teaches offline skills

DIY.org community
Screen capture DIY.org

Some of the best kinds of learning happens independently, outside of schools and formal classes, when kids just set out to make something on their own, either from scratch or by emulating what someone else has done. Many times, the skills that kids learn from watching others, or by doing it all themselves, are not the ones taught in school anyway, especially when it comes to learning about ways to live more sustainably, which could be some of the most important lessons for the future of humankind.

An online DIY community for kids, and its accompanying app, is helping to making that learning and doing and creating process a lot more rewarding, by offering a wide range of skills and projects for kids (and their parents or teachers) to explore and improve upon.

"We’ve all seen how kids can be like little MacGyvers. They’re able to take anything apart, recycle what you’ve thrown away – or if they’re Caine, build their own cardboard arcade. This is play, but it’s also creativity and it’s a valuable skill. Our idea is to encourage it by giving kids a place online to show it off, so family, friends and grandparents can see it and easily respond. Recognition makes a kid feel great, and motivates them to keep going. We want them to keep making, and by doing so learn new skills, use technology constructively, begin a lifelong adventure of curiosity, and hopefully spend time offline, too." - DIY

DIY.org, a project from Zach Klein, one of Vimeo's cofounders, has a wide range of projects listed, but also includes a variety of green living skills that can be learned (and improved upon) by kids, including Backyard Farmer, Beekeeper, Forester, Gardener, Bike Mechanic, Mycologist, Baker, Pioneer, and more.

Parents have to sign up for their kids for the free DIY account (if the child is under 13), which includes a portfolio for each child where they can upload images and videos of their own creations (using either the web or the iOS app), and for each set of skill challenges they complete, kids can earn embroidered skill patches to display their progress.

The DIY community also has social features, so kids with common interests can comment on projects, ask questions, or favorite the projects of others, and has an option for DIY Clubs (as well as instructions on how to start a DIY Club if there isn't one nearby).

As a homeschooling parent, I like to see these kinds of empowered learning opportunities that are geared directly toward kids (YouTube is not a very kid-friendly place without parental supervision) and that feature other kids, and I think that classrooms, parents, and community organizations can all find some relevant DIY green living projects and skills worth pursuing on DIY.org.

Tags: Do It Yourself | Kids | Technology

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