Saturday, March 01, 2008


This week's obsession has been construction. We started the week off right with cracker structures for breakfast on Monday.It took the Agents two days to build this train station out of cardboard. The vestibule (based loosely on Washington DC's Union Station) is built of interlocking toilet paper tubes.* I love the detail that went into this project. You can not see it very well in this picture, but there is a train in the tunnel and people are waiting on the platform.

*We read about "TP tube tower blocks" in Steven Caney's Ultimate Building Book. Cut four equidistant slits on one end of each tube. To connect the blocks, hook the unslit end of one tube over a tab on the block below it. With practice, you can make rigid panels, slanted walls, or huge towers out of the tubes.
Here is Agent 002's wooden block house just before demolition. The wrecking balls have been a big hit all week.
As you would expect, we also read many books about construction. Agent 002 selected the books and checked them out on his very own library card. Here are quick reviews of our favorites.

Steven Caney's Ultimate Building Book by Steven Caney

Not a story book (or even a book that small children would like to page through), this is a valuable resource for a parent or older child. It is full of creative ideas like "TP tower blocks" and "cake blocks and frosting mortar." It also provides technical explanation of why certain structures are stronger or more efficient as well as the history of many of the materials.

Underground by David Macaulay

Again, this is not a story book, and the vocabulary is far beyond a preschooler's comprehension. Nonetheless, this is Agent 002's favorite book because of the detailed illustrations. He was fascinated to learn about the infrastructure of a city and all of the goings-on below the surface.

Up Goes the Skyscraper by Gail Gibbons

A step-by step description of how a skyscraper is built. The book is approachable for small children but does not oversimplify the process.

A Day in the Life of a Builder by Linda Hayward

Like the title implies, this books follows a builder throughout the day as he supervises the construction of five homes. It is cute, simple, and introduces the business and customer service sides of construction.

Construction Zone by Tana Hoban

A picture book, Construction Zone provides an action shot and a close up of various pieces of construction machinery. The only words are the labels on each page, although there are verbal descriptions of each machine at the end of the book.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Hey thanks for your comments about my bread. Your way sounds really smart, mixing it in the morning and having bread for a few days. Have you heard of No Knead Bread? People keep talking about it throughout this intense french bread challenge, and I'll have to give it a try.

(sorry this comment isn't related directly to your post... I don't think I know your e-mail address anymore)