Basic Model Building for Kids

By Carissa Lawrence
Many kids enjoy building and collecting model cars.
Many kids enjoy building and collecting model cars.

When you think about model building, a picture of an old man bent over a ship in a bottle may come to mind. However, model building isn't just for the retired or adults in general. There are many ways parents can engage kids in the craft of building models. While they may be reluctant at first, many kids quickly find model building to be an enjoyable hobby.


Model building can become a lifelong hobby for kids. It encourages them to do something with their hands besides playing computer or video games. While they are building models, kids are developing planning, problem solving and logical thinking skills. For younger kids, model building provides opportunities for fine motor development and teaches patience. Model building is also beneficial because it allows parents and kids to engage in an activity and spend time together. A finished model is something that gives kids a feeling of accomplishment.


There are a number of routes parents can take when introducing their kids to model building. For younger kids, many companies offer snap-together models that don't require any gluing or painting. Older children should be able to assemble plastic model kits, commonly called scale models, that involve paint and glue. Both snap-together and scale models come in a variety of subjects including cars and trucks, planes, boats, robots, people, dinosaurs and other animals.


Most likely, kids will need help from a parent when building even the most basic model. Before they start the assembly process, kids should read through all of the instructions thoroughly. After they have an idea of how the model needs to be put together, they should also make sure all of the required parts and materials have been included. If making a scale model, kids should paint all the necessary parts and allow them to dry completely before assembly. When building either type of model, it's important to follow the directions accurately.


When choosing model kits for kids to build, parents should keep their age and developmental level in mind. Model building is a hobby that is meant to be relaxing and fun. If the model is too hard for a child to complete, the experience may become stressful instead of enjoyable. There are also safety concerns related to model building. Many scale model parts need to be cut out with scissors or a sharp knife. Parents should make sure kids know how to use these items safely. It's always a good idea to supervise kids when they're using sharp objects.

About the Author

Based in Gainesville, Carissa Lawrence is an experienced teacher who has been writing education related articles since 2013. Lawrence holds a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Florida.