My seven year old has taken to designing his own homes. Last night’s creation was a two story with a diving board on the second floor.
My hope is that he will be writing for Dwell soon.
The program we are using is a free Google desktop 3D modeling product called Sketchup. With this program one can manipulate basic three dimensional shapes, color them with an assortment of patterns (like bricks or grass), and then fly around or walk through your newly built structure. Its so easy a first grader can do it.
Actually, I help him with it; we are not born with the ability to rotate objects in 3D. But that has been a large part of the charm. Flying underneath a swimming pool for the first time causes giggles; it also accelerates his spatial awareness and creativity. Father son geek time at its best.
My one fear is that he will prefer this type of drawing to hand drawing so I have promised myself to double back to the paper once we have a basic mastery of the program.
The lessons don’t just stop with one’s own creation. A robust part of Sketchup is that you can import other people’s designs from the web, for example, the Coliseum. Insert history and cultural lesson. Maybe tonight we will take our diving board to Rome.