For Parents

Is your child interested in architecture and design?

There are many ways to spark the interest of a young child: provide access to good books about houses and homes, places and spaces, buildings and structures; and provide building toys — the kind you buy, plus large-scale “found” building materials.

To support children of all ages, share their enthusiasm: encourage them to observe, draw and photograph interesting places, spaces and buildings; and encourage them to develop and draw their own design ideas.

For older children, you could first provide a simple set of drafting tools: a drafting board, T square, triangles, scale templates, graph and tracing paper, a pencil and a good eraser. Have them try building scale models from materials like small, plain boxes, oaktag or cardboard or foamcore.

Supplement their drafting tools with a simple CAD (computer-aided-drafting) program, while continuing to encourage the hands-on work of drawing and model-building. Inexpensive CAD programs can be a good start; and CAD programs of varying complexity can be downloaded from websites.

High school students can begin to explore architecture and design as a career by:

  • Reading books about architects and architecture, and going to the AIA’s ArchCareers website.
  • Talking with professional architects, visiting an architect’s office or job-shadowing an architect for a day
  • Contact LBD:MA to make a connection to a designer in our area
  • Looking at websites about architecture, architectural firms and architecture colleges
  • Attending the BSA Architecture/Design College Fair
  • Researching related fields such as interior design, landscape architecture and planning

To enable your child to participate in hands-on architecture and design programs for youth:
Ask your school or community center to offer LBD:MA teacher workshops and children’s programs
Browse our  resources page and look into community programs in Massachusetts, including Archi-Camp (SMARTS Collaborative Attleboro); Architecture Studio at DesignCamp (UMass Lowell College of Engineering); Center Summer Academy (Boston Architecture Center); Career Discovery, Harvard Graduate School of Design; and Pre-College Design Academy, Umass Amherst.

Note: Out-of-state parents – please contact A+DEN (Architecture & Design Education Network) [#] to learn about local K-12 programs, and American Institute of Architects to find local AIA organizations.

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