Good to Know

Books About Building for Kids

reasons 2 read kids

This month’s list features books about building. There are books that explore the questions of why humans build, there are books that look at city planning and the structures within them. There are several books that include step-by-step projects, and there are some that take inspiration from nature and how other animals build.

Why Build?

These books examine the “why” of building with topics including renewable energy, walls, and why humans build up. Renewable Energy is a brand-new book that has a chapter on each renewable energy source. It’s well laid out with pictures, experiments, and small graphic novel explanations of the concepts. It even has QR codes that lead to additional web resources which do not disappoint! Although it’s easy to read through front-to-back, you can choose to go in-depth on any topic by following the fun rabbit holes laid out for the reader.

Walls is a book on the human history of building barriers which is thoughtfully written. The book is organized about the reason walls are erected: to keep people in, to keep people out, to protect crops and livestock, to protect the planet etc. The honest approach presents walls as a popular tool of humanity that can be used to provide protection or to commit atrocities. Since the topic is so narrow, many countries, cultures, and time periods are covered which makes it enjoyable for all ages and interests.

Building in the Human World

Cities is a book about how and why cities are built with lots of fun activities including how to decide on a city name and how to decide on the layout of the city by using cutouts of buildings. If you are interested in city planning, you can checkout Cities Skylines for the PS4 where you get to plan your city virtually. After planning, you can learn about smaller structures within cities which are covered in-depth in other books such as How to Build a Home, and Bridges and Tunnels.

Material based building

Building can be focussed on a result or objective, but you can also build with a specific material in mind. For example, Homemade Robots contains projects that use material found around the house. Additionally, Incredible Duct Tape Projects You Can Create and Cool Cardboard Projects You Can Create encourages kids to experiment with specific materials to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Honourable mention goes to LEGO which is the favourite building material of kids for decades. The CPL has many books of building projects for kids to attempt.

Project based building

Smithsonian has a series called Maker Lab which is perfect for learning by doing. Maker Lab Outdoors teaches science through experimentation including explanations and step-by-step guides featuring water rockets, kites, worm farms, and more. Math Maker Lab from the same series demonstrates the role math calculations play in experiments. Beneficial for reluctant math students because it shows the practical applications of math. Finally, the “How to Build Series” features step-by-step instructions for building small aircraft, cars, and robots in three volumes.

Other Animals build Too

Humans aren’t the only animals that change their environments with materials; birds, wasps, and beavers also build homes. You’ll notice that a common theme in building among animals is to achieve safety for themselves and their offspring. Bird Builds a Nest to lay eggs, Beavers Build Lodges to raise kits, and A Wasp Builds a Nest for her colony to withstand the weather. If you want to see beavers building in action, you can follow the “Bolton Loop” in Nicola Ross’s Loops and Lattes where there are a few newly felled trees.

Building can solve problems or create problems, hopefully this list shows that there is a lot to consider about how and why we build and there are plenty of projects to keep kids busy over the summer no matter what their interests are.

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Caledon Public Library

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