Where does the manufacturing experience begin? You could follow the timeline back to high school machining class or even further back to helping your parents fix the kitchen sink or simply when you learned how to use a screw driver. The manufacturing experience can begin as early as a toddler playing with toys. Children’s toys are designed with a purpose. They have the ability to help with memory, build motor skills, and problem solving. The toys also allow children to create and build things. Whether they are building a stack of blocks or a wall for their play house, children are gaining the cognitive thinking skills they can develop as they get older.
Building blocks are among the most basic of children’s toys but have a large impact on a child’s learning environment. Fisher-Price’s Brilliant Basics™ Baby’s First Blocks are the perfect introduction to the manufacturing experience. This toy has different shaped blocks for children to stack and build. What makes this toy interesting is that it also comes with a storage bin with holes in the lid that match the blocks’ shapes. This allows for children to develop their problem solving skills and cognitive thinking by fitting the shapes through the holes on the lid. Children are beginning to make the hand-eye connection at 6 months; the same connection that is made between a screw and a flat-head screwdriver or a wrench and a bolt.
The manufacturing experience only expands from there. Take Lego, for example. Everyone has played with Lego blocks. They come in different shapes and sizes for many different age groups. Lego kits have step-by-step instructions that when followed correctly allow you to create something like a skyscraper or even a car. Children are essentially following blueprints to build things with their hands. This is a fundamental skill in manufacturing and engineering. And although it may be a child’s toy, some of the Lego blueprints are very elaborate. Lego has a 558 piece kit to build the StarScavenger™ from the Star Wars movie for children ages 8-14. Children are following the blueprints and in the end have a something they can hold in their hand that they created.
So how do we know we like to make things? The passion for creating things begins when we are children. Some children like to draw, some like to play house, and some like to build things. This is where the education process can begin. Children are enjoying what they are doing and learning for themselves before they are in a classroom setting by playing with the simplest of toys. The manufacturing experience is all around us at any age. Where it begins may be up for debate but it’s up to you to make the connection.