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Howdy, folks!  Yesterday was the last day of school for my 8th grade girl.  Today, when I get home from work, I will be greeted by her and six of her giggling friends who all came for a sleepover.  So please wish me luck.

 

That got me to thinking about when I was a kid around the same age.  If I had a nickel for every time I spent the weekends over at my best friend's house, I'd be able to retire right now.  Being kids in the 1980s, when we weren't building model airplanes together, we were were exploring the woods behind his house with either squirt guns, BB guns or an occasional .22 in hand.

 

That all got me to wondering....Those of you who have kids/teenagers, do they still do that anymore these days?  Do you have kids (or know of kids) who get together with their friends to build models or explore the back woods to go plinking, or have those days gone the way of the dodo?  I'm feeling like a fossil here.

 

Eric

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Some do, I know my three don't. My childhood outside of school was rather similar! bikes, skateboards, building three seperate tree houses, playing armies in the bushland nearby etc. Up before breakfast and home in time for dinner. I've now wound up with three step kids, 17, 15 and 10 and live in a beautiful area of Brisbane surrounded by parks, bushland, bike tracks and a massive skate park. Do they get out at all? Nope. It's all gaming regardless of weather. 

The question is would I have been the same given the internet? I don't know. It doesn't make me feel old, just sad to see what I liken to "dropping out" with a screen. The most obvious thing though is that they have no hobbies or other interests to speak of... Every now and again the internet goes down, or the power goes off... life is like that. These guys just sit around and stare at the wall and complain.

I look back at growing up the way I did, and it always brings a smile to my face. My only hope is that they'll be able to do the same!

Andy

P.s   Eric, whats plinking?

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Plinking is essentially just fun shooting. Finding cans or other things that make a "plink!" noise when hit with a BB or small bullet.

 

Emil at Skyway Models is a friend of mine and I see kids come in to the shop but a lot of the new modelers are "young husbands" with new kids needing a hobby they can do and stick around the house more. As far as the pure "do kids still do this?" question a lot depends on the kid and their interests. Andy's right that gaming is popular, but under the right circumstances that has driven at least a passing interest in models. World of Tanks and World of Warships did drive some people to take up model building to explore an interest in the vehicles they played in game. there were a couple of license deals struck but I don't think they were amazing success, but perhaps moderate in some markets. I think a savy company would try and capitalize on this, but with the lead time to cut molds and distribute, etc., it would be hard to get something to market in time to capitalize on a new game that is suddenly hot.

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Check out modelmakers on Reddit, plenty of young novices just getting into the hobby. As for guns, I don't know, BB guns are illegal in my city, I haven't shot mine in 20 years. 

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BB guns illegal in you city?????

What!!!!!

Kids these days won't do anything if they don't have money to spend.

These days, they think you can't have fun if you don't have any money. 

 

Tim

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5 hours ago, hawkwrench said:

Kids these days won't do anything if they don't have money to spend.


Some steal…. 😞

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One dynamic that has changed is most kids now have instant access to communicate with their friends through various means. We had 2 ways only for the most part. Either go hang out in person and interact or occasionally call them. But in the days of land lines, calling them in my house had to be a limited time so we didn't tie up the line. Now pretty much all kids have cell phones and social media accounts etc... They aren't necessarily getting actual real face time, but they are talking all the time (maybe not listening?). In some cases, WAAAAAY too often. It's a new world out there for sure.

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18 hours ago, hawkwrench said:

BB guns illegal in you city?????

What!!!!!

Kids these days won't do anything if they don't have money to spend.

These days, they think you can't have fun if you don't have any money. 

 

Tim

I took my daughter target shooting once with a couple different rifles. One was a small Marlin 39m and the other was a target rifle similar to what they used in the 1980 Olympics. She shot as well as her brothers with the 39m, but shot better than me with the bolt gun!! Never took her again! The very idea of getting smoked by a 12 year old girl is still embarrassing. I took my sons fishing all the time from when they were about four till their mid twenties. Daughter had little interest in fishing. 

gary

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I wouldn't trade my growing up time for anything, especially not the way today's kids are doing things.  My 'kid time' was in the 60s, and we did nothing but run and play outside all the time.  Though my primary hobbies, when I was alone, was building models...and reading.  My love of modeling must have stayed with me, as I've returned to it, 12 years ago (I'm now 62).  I really do think that today's kids are too used to things that move and provide active stimulus, hence, model building is something that doesn't provide nearly enough stimulation for them.  I'm happy to hear that there are some young people who are into models...my guess is that it's a smaller number than when I was into it, though.

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I have two girls (12 and 7) and while they do spend a lot more time in front of laptops, mobile phones and other technical things, they also love to run around, jump trampolin, or do sports (the older one is heavily into Karate and already quite advanced, next belt will the the brown one....).

 

Something they always love is building shelters or homes, using cussions, blankets, whatever they get a hold on. I did try to get them into modelling, my oldest finished three or four models with my help, but it´s not interested anymor (well, at least we both tried), the younger one will get a simple snap-kit as a starter next weekend for her birthday and I´m curious how she will like it.

 

 

HAJO

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I asked the guy at my hobby store this exact same question because I never see kids in there.  He said he does get some kids - coming in to get Gundam robots - and sometimes that leads to an interest in making planes or tanks.

 

I think it's a great hobby for kids, especially since most of them are too plugged in these days.

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Growing up, I had two younger brothers only a couple years apart in age.  We worked to earn the money for our plastic addiction.  We didn't get paid for our chores around the house and small farm we kept, so had to look elsewhere for raising funds. We started with a small paper route then assumed two of the adjacent routes from other kids who gave it up. [BTW, do kids even do paper routes anymore? I only know adults who deliver papers now.]  We enlisted a neighbor kid's help and hopped on our bikes with large metal baskets filled with papers on each side as well as the canvas sack over our shoulder and would ride all over half our town (about 7-10 miles each day) delivering the afternoon paper.  Winter time, we walked and used red plastic sleds to carry the papers.  Collecting from reluctant subscribers was another matter.  However, we made a decent amount.  The newspaper office was right on the Main street business district and the five & dime was a few shops down the street.  Many a Friday afternoon, after turning in our receipts and getting our route money, we would immediately head to the five & dime and purchase kits, paint & glue and then stop at the bank to deposit the rest before heading home to start building.  In the summers, with more daylight, we would start a kit on Friday before supper and finish it Saturday before supper; glued, painted and decaled.  Sometimes we would build production line style, with myself doing the cockpits / pilots, my younger brother doing the undercarriage and my youngest brother doing major subassemblies and ordnance, then each do the final assembly on his own kit.  We had a large picnic table under the back porch and would cover it with leftover newspapers and just go to town and paint it red, so to speak.  We still played a lot of baseball during the summer and did plenty of exploring in the back forty, but no guns.  Mom was dead set against guns, (she grew up in Holland during the occupation).  But we cultivated friendships with other neighbor kids with BB guns and would "plink" cans in the ravine.  Many a day, we would leave after breakfast and morning chores and come home for lunch.  Then in the afternoon go out again and one of us would "volunteer" to go in early before supper to help Mom peel the spuds or chop vegetables, set the table, and another of us would milk the cow, feed the hens, gather eggs, etc...  In fact, we would often drink straight from the garden hose, instead of go in the house with our dirty Converse All-Stars (Chuck Conners?) and risk getting Mom's floor dirty.  Oh, I almost forgot, we never wore bike helmets or vests.  It was a little before skateboards came into vogue, but one of my youngest brother's friends got one and promptly slipped off it and broke his elbow.  You guessed it! Skateboards were Verboten!  It's a wonder we survived our youth!

Edited by Dutch
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Funny...you mention drinking from the garden hose.  We did that, too, even in our white-bread, homogenized suburban existence. Far too much time to head into someone's house and get glasses of water, not to mention, as you said, a bunch of dirty, sweaty kids traipsing through one of our friends’ parents’ home...not that that was much of a big deal.  So much easier, faster, and, frankly, convenient, even at 5,6,7 years old, to do it that way.  

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Dutch and Curt, you guys really jogged some memories!  I remember being a kid and, I swear to God, most of my dietary fluid intake came from the garden hose!  To me, there was no better tasting water than that which came from the hose.  There were more than a few occasions where I also drank from the creek that ran through the woods behind my best friend's house.

 

Dutch, I really enjoyed your recollection of childhood especially your walks to the bank and the Five & Dime.  I didn't have a Five & Dime, but I sure do remember being 14 when the first Toys R Us opened up in my town.  I was too young to have a job (and yes, I had given up my paper route at that time) and too young to drive.  I didn't get an allowance either.  The only way I ever acquired money was through the cash my aunt and grandparents gave me for Easter, birthdays, etc.  I remember being just a couple of bucks short to get a particular kit I wanted and knowing I'd have to wait several months before the next holiday or my birthday to hopefully get some more cash.

 

Both my parents worked which meant if I wanted to go anywhere, I had to walk.  My childhood memories are filled with me making the six mile round trip to and from Toys R Us and coming home all hot and sweaty from the summer heat with a Toys R Us bag filled with at least one model and a bunch of paint.

 

Thank God for model kits and the childhood memories they created.  I think we were blessed for growing up in the days that we did.

 

Eric 

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Every other week when this topic comes up, it always makes me chuckle and sigh. The conversation is, more often than not, extremely one sided in terms of "when I was a kid..." forgetting that the world, and its inhabitants are very different now than they were way back then. (Whether its for better or worse is another discussion entirely.)

 

Look at the world that recent kids have been born into:

*the Internet fed Global Village in which we live, is constantly bombarded with fear mongering, making it seem like any activity done outside the home, is fraught with danger, so many parents are unreasonably risk adverse, not allowing their kids the opportunities to get out and be kids. 

Whilst bad things have ALWAYS happened, we're now that we're told about every single thing, every day. 

 

*Hand skills are looked down upon. Anyone remember the whole "Learn to code" thing?

Shop classes are being dropped from school, in favour of technology based classes. Because thats where they're being told their futures lie. Look at all the rich people who are plastered over the media for us all to idolise. Name a single one of them who's gotten rich through any form of hand skill? (It could be said that bull Gates physically built computers, but his money came from coding)

Kids aren't picking up hand skills from their parents either. When was the last time you tuned a carburettor just to keep your daily driver running? Appliances are disposable, so what do people actually bother fixing?

 

*families are moving to cities, because thats where the jobs are. There's nowhere to go "plinking" or to go exploring in cities. As said above, kids communicate with each other over the Internet, so the physical interaction isn't needed. 

 

 

The same discussion can be had about any pursuit that requires handskills. 

I work in the aviation industry, and it is another area that young people are turning away from in numbers never before seen. 

 

Before bemoaning their lack of interest in the things we enjoy doing, take a look at why they'd have zero interest in it, let alone no opportunities to try it for themselves. 

 

Denzil.

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Denzil, 

 

I feel you!  It is a different era today.  Like it or not, it's not progress versus regression, it's just different.  It's just a fact of the times. 

 

We felt it was important to keep the link of family history alive in our own nuclear family.  One thing that helped is that we never had network TV.  Still don't  We read books and letters aloud. (Thank God both my mother and my wife's mother were/are letter writers!)  Whenever we visited our parents with our children (i.e. their grandchildren) we would play a 20 questions game where the younger generation would ask the elder generation specific questions, such as: What was your favorite candy? How much did it cost? Where did you get the money for it? Where did you buy the item? How did you get there? etc... And so the elder generation passed on their story to the younger generation.  My parents walked or rode their bikes everywhere in Holland pre-and post-WWII, consequently their initial views on life were pretty insular until the Germans invaded.  After the War it became pretty international.  The Cold War had something to do with that as well. 

 

I was willing to let my kids try anything, knowing that they would probably not commit to everything, but only towards a few things they were inclined to or interested in. Only two of the five have any sort of mechanical ability and only one ever showed the slightest interest in models and now doesn't.  He prefers 1:1 scale guns, cars, etc...  All have musical training and ability, so I am grateful for that, as it seems to have skipped my generation.  The youngest is my mechanic, and usually helps me when he's home.  As it is, I am finding myself even busier now during and after COVID with helping others, that the hobby has taken a back seat for me.  I may have to give it up as well.... until I can interest the grandkids!  Hah! Revenge!  Um, sorry, did I say that? Anyway, that's the plan!

 

Happy modelling!

Dutch

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Dutch, I'm sort of in a similar situation.  I have two kids, both girls.  My oldest one is in her late teens and is always helping me fix things around either our house or my mother-in-law's (her grandma's) house.  She's helped me install new door knobs, electronic locks, light switches, shelves, ceiling fans, you name it.  The last time I had to fix something at my MIL's house, my daughter came with me and I asked her why she likes to help me out the way she does (NOT that I was complaining).  She said that she's observed her two older cousins (both boys) who have zero mechanical ability whatsoever.  I'm talking none.  Zip.  Zero.  They're 25 and 21.  She told me she knows that someday soon, she'll be out on her own and she wants to have the know-how to fix things and not be so reliant on others.

 

My younger daughter, an early teenager, doesn't have much of the mechanical aptitude, but what she lacks in that department, she makes up for in music, art, culinary skills and creativity in general.  It's also interesting to note that while she may not have the mechanical abilities, she does remind me of when I was a kid in that she'll hop on her bike, meet up with her friends and go exploring all throughout the neighborhood to meet up with other friends.  My older daughter is more a homebody.

 

On a side note, I am sorry for bringing up the topic.  I didn't realize it was a tired one that is brought up every other week.  I do apologize for that.

 

Eric

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My six year old girls just built two snap models with me yesterday, and then played with them for the next hour. They are lego fanatics ( one more than the other but they both do them) and are building sets well above their age. They have no issues following the instructions but do need help at times when their little fingers can’t snap the pieces together properly. They love to help with anything around the house, dig holes in the backyard, go on nature walks, explore our backyard which is home to 4 lizard species totalling  at least 30+. They get about an hour of TV a day spread out in two 30 min allotments and about 30 mins of tablet time mainly doing ABC mouse or other educational games. 
 

They read daily, they have a chart to complete 100 books to read before summers end and are well on their way. We also read to them daily. We also have them write short letters to family and friends and keep a daily journal that has a daily question to answer. 
 

we make learning as fun as possible, and never a chore. If they want to read nothing but Disney princess books we let them do that as they are still reading. 
 

my wife is into crafting and has passed that on to them, they will paint, draw, glue and make stuff for hours if we let them. 
 

so I’d say that stuff is still alive and well in some form. Would I let them get on bikes and ride around the neighborhood for hours like I did as a kid in the early 80s? Or walk to the corner store? Nope, not a chance in hell with the traffic around here. But that doesn’t mean they’re stuck in front of a TV or playing video games all day either. 

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You know, after reading through this thread and pondering a little, I came to the conclusion that our hobby is in a pretty good state, more items, better more detailed kits, way too much aftermarket items, etc.... And I know that this particular topic has also been discussed ad nauseam here, so will just say that I am not worried one bit. 

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On 6/10/2021 at 12:01 AM, ExchefAndy said:

The question is would I have been the same given the internet?

For me the answer is definitely NO. My brother owned a PC, when these were still unknown to most teenagers (and adults) and expensive back in the mid-late 80s. Even though he had some interesting games in floppy disks I was never fond to ask him if I could play, neither when he was not at home attempt to open his computer and play.

 

I was an adventure-junky like most of the kids of my age. BMX bikes(man, those were the days!), to explore new routes in a near forrest, scale modelling and magazines, comics, some television, music (though I was not following any fashion trend. I only liked the music until, those European guys invented the Techno music🤮) and chasing girls (not literally).

 

It has to do with the mentality someone builds as a kid or, the one his parents are contributing to build. If you allow your kid to focus from a very young age on only one thing then guess what will happen; he/she will only focus on that thing and in this case, smartphones, tablets, and the internet.

 

Recently, I went for a cup of coffee with some friends and some of them brought their kids with them. Guess what happened in the first minute? Each kid got out of their backpacks their smartphones and tablets and they were asking for the coffee shop's wifi access code!

 

I tried a couple of times to "transmit" to my brother's son the interest for our hobby by buying him some models, and the assorted accessories but, very soon he lost his interest (he already had a smartphone!).

 

One of the things that I believe has significantly contributed to "sticking" to our hobby and not losing our interest for it to a certain extent, is the difficulty it carried with all those missing details, and inaccuracies that a lot of the kits had, as well as the fact that every step to get completed it required some considerable time (to join two plastic parts, putty to dry, paint to dry, decaying, etc.). Therefore, I don't think that the fact that in nowadays our hobby is a lot easier from many perspectives, can bring more kids to get to know it and build an interest for it.

 

Just my two cents.

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