Build, Make, Hack, Grow With

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Check out this video from DIY, the community for kids who make. They are calling it their ‘Anthem’ and it’s the latest step in their goal to inspire kids around the world to get their hands dirty and make stuff. Watch the kid assume the identity of his avatar, build a kite and then see the inspiration flow from there, all set to some nice uplifting music. More importantly of course, share it with your kids, and see where it takes them!

If you’ve not heard of DIY before, we ran a post back in April when the site first launched which covers the basics of the service, but in a nutshell it’s an online community for kids to share their creations. Unlike sites/services such as Artkive and Art My Kid Made which seem to be used mainly for flat paintings and drawings, DIY users are encouraged to upload all sorts of creations – including cardboard sculptures, Minecraft mods, electronic experiments, Lego models, photos of plants they’ve grown or cakes they’ve baked and so much more – take a look at the Explore section of the site to see what I mean. The whole process is aimed more directly at the kids themselves, with parents kept in the loop of course via email and a special dashboard.

Over the last six months, DIY has added many more features to the site including multiple photos per project, video uploads, social sharing buttons and comments – all of which have improved the offering greatly and made it much more like a ‘grown-up’ social network. Along with the Anthem video, DIY have also released a series of ‘How-To’ videos on their Vimeo channel, which can all help with their other big new addition – Skills. Think of them like the badges kids can earn in the Scouts or Guides. There are nearly 40 different skills already, including Physicist, Stitcher, Zoologist, Instrument Maker, Astronomer and even a special one for Halloween – Darkness Engineer. Each skill contains a number of challenges, complete any three challenges by uploading photos or video and you can earn that skill and have the patch displayed proudly on your profile page.

Cowbell Farm completed the 'Paper City' challengeCowbell Farm completed the 'Paper City' challenge

Cowbell Farm completed the ‘Paper City’ challenge

My daughter has already completed three of the challenges for Papercrafter (her current preferred medium) and earned her first patch. Now, after watching the video, she wants to try and get them all, so it looks like we’re going to have a busy weekend. I might have to learn some new stuff too if she wants to go for the Circuit Bender or Hardware Hacker ones! You can also retroactively complete challenges with projects you have previously uploaded with a couple of clicks. If the DIY Skillmaster agrees, you’ll complete the challenge and maybe earn another patch.

The whole site is totally free to use at the moment, which leads me to believe that it’s only a matter of time before the Skills Patches make the jump from the beautifully designed and illustrated virtual tokens to real-world embroidered patches just like those scout and guide ones, available to purchase for a couple of bucks each when you’ve earned them. I’d certainly buy them for her if that’s what it takes to keep this great service going.

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