Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We Love DIY.org!

DIY.org Welcome Screen

My older two girls have been completely obsessed with DIY.org this summer. If you haven't heard of it, the gist of the site is that kids earn and collect different skill badges by completing challenges within each skill badge category. The purpose of the site is to foster a safe online community for children where they can be creative and learn new skills and techniques, while getting feedback from other kids in the online community. It's kind of like a modern, internet-based Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts mixed with safe social networking for children.

K making an omelet for her Chef badge

Here's how it works: there are different skill categories, which range from the crafty (Illustrator, Weaver, Interior Designer), to the scientific (Botanist, Oceanographer, Chemist), to the computer-related (Data Visionary, Frontend Dev, Gamer). After completing a challenge, the child uploads a picture or video directly to the site or via the DIY app, which makes it super convenient. When they have completed a specific number of challenges in each category, they earn a badge. The badges earned appear digitally in the child's profile header on the site. There has been talk of physical badges that will be available for purchase in the near future (which we can't wait for!) but for now the badges are digital. Each child's account must be linked to an adult account, no real names are to be used, and the parents can access everything the child has posted via the parental dashboard.

C making cookies for her Baker badge

 I discovered DIY.org last summer and created a profile for C, but we never really looked around the site, and we promptly forgot all about it. A few months ago, I saw the site mentioned on another homeschool mom's blog and I decided to go back to check it out. After delving into it in further detail, I realized it was right up C & K's alley! I created an account for K and reminded C that she already had one. They dove right in and started working on challenges. Now, every morning when they wake up they figure out which challenges they'll work on for the day. They're having so much fun with it! They're learning skills that they might not have had interest in until they saw that they could earn a badge for it, which is awesome. They're thinking outside the box and figuring out new ways to do things. The creators of the site add new challenges and badges all the time and we're excited to find out what will come next!

Solar Oven! They made yummy s'mores.