With the spread of 3D printing in recent years, this manufacturing technology has proven itself in many industries. From art to architecture and from automotive to aerospace industries, the use of 3D printing seems unending. In fact, it is believed that 3D printing is going to be at the center of the next industrial revolution. 3D printing for kids can offer great career opportunities for the kids in the future.
However, for a lot of parents, this remains a mysterious topic. For the parents who want to introduce this exciting technology to their children, this article is going to highlight how they can stimulate their children’s imagination with 3D printing.
3D Printing for Kids and Safety
As with any other technology, safety should always be a major consideration when using a 3D printer. In general, children should never use the printer alone and should only use it under the supervision of adults. After all, a 3D printer is a tool, and like a sewing machine or a hammer. It can be harmful to health, even unintentionally. Between high temperatures and moving parts, they can become dangerous if left unattended. This is not an extensive list of issues to pay attention to when it comes to safety, but a mere reminder for children’s protection.
What Makes 3D Printing Special?
Why 3D printing should be made accessible to kids is a great question. Usually, when there is something new and shiny, and people flock and rush to get it, but nobody stops to ask “why”. So, what is the value of 3D printing besides being cool and new? Well, in short, 3D printing has the potential to “change the world”. This is not an exaggeration.
It is not just 3D printing that has evolved to the point where we can build whatever we want. But it is the way this process is done that distinguishes it from other technologies. Think about efficiency, expenditure, scalability, risk reduction, and durability – 3D printing has many advantages over conventional modes of production.
Why 3D Printing for Children?
When we talk about 3D printing for children, think of it as opening the door to creativity and innovation. In other words, just as colored pencils, crayons, and inks enhance the skills of novice artists, and computer screens allow children to move from pencil drawing to full graphic work, 3D printing allows children with strong imagination to take their skills and creativity to the next level.
As for the parents, they need to be involved as well. Their involvement should include supervising the activity, educating the kids about safety, and answering any curries that they might have. When used properly, parents can stimulate their children’s imagination with 3D printing. If there are any issues, parents can contact the customer support. There are also Facebook groups, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, forums, blogs, and much more for each printer.
Benefits of Using 3D Printing
Here are some of the ways 3D printing can be used and its benefits for teaching children.
One of the unique benefits of 3D printing technology is that it positions kids as creators. Rather than acquiring or consuming someone else’s work, they become creators who identify the need and create the solution. Take the example of William Graham, a young boy with diabetes himself, invented the world’s first sanitary device to store used blood strips. With the appropriate tools, resources, and support, the children can come up with truly innovative solutions and inventions.
Revival of Art
Art has made a small return with the arrival of STEAM learning, but 3D printing has the potential to push them to the top. With 3D printing technology, students can become designers and creative professionals who use the latest tech to envision and shape their imagination. Not to mention the improvement of students’ spatial thinking skills. It has proven to be an indicator of future success, as they better understand the transformation from 2D to 3D.
Reluctant and Introvert Learners
3D printing is still a budding technology, which is not easily available to the average consumer. The “wow factor” of 3D printing can attract reluctant and introvert learners. It is a great new way to educate and motivate children. They get excited about this new way of learning. Enthusiasm for learning in general increases significantly. Children who usually do not want to learn to find using and learning from 3D printers much more fun.
Using 3D printers in the class allows students to participate in the online 3D printing community. Makers Empire, in particular, allows students to like and comment on the designs of their classmates. Stimulating in-depth discussions teach them about what to do online and how they can be responsible digital citizens.
Hands-On Learning Experience
If there were one word to describe 3D printing for kids, it would be ‘hands-on’ experience. Whatever the children want to learn about, and they can design and then print them. Interested in learning about ancient civilizations? Design and 3D print a mummy or pyramid model. Studying about landforms? Design and 3D print a mountain or a peninsula model. In short, this list is endless, and children can create not only models but also creative and innovative solutions for real-world problems.
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Solving Real-World Issues
Engineers and scientists are leveraging the prowess of 3D printing technology to create solutions or real-world issues. Putting the same technology to kids and introducing them to the challenges faced by communities can result in innovative solutions. They learn to empathize, work in teams, and solve problems by working on real issues. Do not be surprised if your kid comes up with a solution you have not thought about. There are numerous examples from the recent COVID-19 crisis, where kids used their 3D printers to print different types of PPE and other related care or health care workers.
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