By Meg Escott
I don't know about you, but we're in for a few more weeks of lockdown (and homeschooling).
I was having a chat with my sister in law who is in the thick of homeschooling her kids during lockdown.
We were talking about how much kids can pick up from online sources like YouTube and other websites about topics that they're interested in.
Why not see if your youngster is interested in working with floor plans?
Depending on their age and what they're capable of, they'll be developing lots of STEM skills:
They might even tidy their room if they decide to measure it!!
Let's cover what you'll need, then I'll move on to give some instructions. If you've got small kids, skip the tools and go straight to the instructions because small kids just need paper and pencil.
There are two main ways to do this - old school on graph paper, or using software.
If you think floor plan drawing might take off as an activity, consider getting some more paper based supplies in.
The graph paper you'll need depends on what measurement system you're working on: Imperial or Metric.
This page on drawing floor plans on paper is a good read with information on scales.
You can of course use plain paper, but it's slower and harder to keep things square so I think graph paper is the best way to go for kids to keep them moving along.
You can download and print 1/4" graph paper here. You can choose the color and paper size.
You can let one 1/4" square represent 1 foot. That's like working to a scale of 1:48.
Alternatively you can let one 1/4" square represent 2 feet. That's like saying 1/8" represents 1 foot, or working to a scale of 1:96.
I have some quick converters available for scale conversions...
You can download and print 5mm graph paper here. You can choose the color and paper size.
You can let one 5mm square represent 50cm. This is the same as saying 1cm represents 1m or a scale of 1:100.
Alternatively you can let one 5mm square represent 25cm. This is the same as saying 2cm represents 1m or a scale of 1:50.
I've split these instructions depending on the age of your kids. I'm not a teacher so I don't know exactly when key capabilities like spatial awareness and measuring concepts kick in or are taught.
You know your kids so just go with what you think they can do.
For small children that don't yet know how to measure the best way to engage them might be to ask them to do a drawing of their bedroom (or any room) as if they were looking down at the room from the ceiling. Get them to imagine what they'd see if they could float up there to the ceiling and have a look down.
You can ask what would the room look like if the bed was moved, or the wardrobe.
You could teach some concept of measuring by asking them how many steps it is to walk across a room. Maybe even give using a tape measure a go.
For older kids who have a grasp of measuring and a grasp of working to scale follow these steps...
If one room isn't enough for them, challenge them to do your whole home, or design their own home, or school, or airport!
Model making is also a possibility, with lego or you could get some model making supplies.
There are some great video games out there that involve building things such as The Sims and Minecraft.
There are some great ideas for architecture themed model making kits and books for kids.
If your child is really interested in architecture. Then this pdf entitled Your House is for you. It's packed full of activities for kids.