Why do teachers send home big projects for kids to do, like missions and solar systems? These really aren’t projects for the kids… it’s just more homework for parents! Well, my son had to do a mission, and after lots of glue, paint, small plants, dirt, and scraps of construction paper all over the place, I think we did a fairly decent job…
A few tips I recommend:
- I DO NOT recommend buying the ‘mission’ kit… they really suck! Some of the solar system kits are alright, but you have to take out Pluto because, unlike how we were taught in school, it is no longer a planet?!?!
- Before beginning a mission project, make sure you know which mission it is and you can even look up pictures of what it looks like online! Isn’t it amazing what technology allows us to do these days?
- I do recommend just getting some cardboard, construction paper, and paint to build it from scratch.
- Make sure you have PLENTY of extra supplies on hand… just in case you measure incorrectly, drop an important piece into the paint (the wrong color at that!), or glue the wrong pieces together.
- Learn how to make it look like your school-age child cut, drew, painted, and glued the project by themselves (this isn’t too hard to do… for most people, including me!).
- If the project looks ‘too good’ then your child will likely not get full credit because the teacher won’t believe that your child did the project (personal experience).
- Cut and paint all of the pieces PRIOR to gluing everything together (it’s not easy to paint and add pieces AFTER gluing them to the base).
- Give your child big and small pieces to do, not only so they feel like they helped, but so they can say that they did the project (it’s never good to ask your child to lie to their teacher… ).
- Solicit ideas from all of your children. The fountain in this picture has pipe cleaners painted blue sticking out for the water spitting… this was my daughter’s idea. As parents, our imaginations have diminished significantly (at least most of us).
- Start the project as soon as your child tells you about it. This way, if something goes horribly awry during the process, you have time to start the project again… and again… and again…
My son and I had a fantastic bonding experience during this project… I’m worn out now!