Last week, we introduced you to 3 cool kid inventors who we actually got to meet and chat with on behalf of our sponsor Autodesk. Well, since then, my tween Quinlan, who actually interviewed the inventors on Facebook Live (so fun!), has been learning how to use Tinkercad. She’s been playing around with this free web tool, creating 3D designs the same way those remarkable kids created their own inventions.
I’ve been so amazed seeing how my daughter can just take an idea from her own imagination, design it, and use a 3D printer to print and hold it in her hand.
And did I mention it’s fun?
Take a look at what she’s been making. I think you’ll agree!
– Don’t miss our upcoming Facebook Live where we’ll be showing Tinkercad in action.
See details below! –
Use Tinkercad to create custom Minecraft characters
If your kids love Minecraft — as in, all kids these days — then they will love Tinkercad. At least, that’s how Quinlan put it.
Here she is above, giving Steve a brain. Ha.
Because Tinkercad is a 3D design tool, kids who are well-versed in Minecraft will easily be able to apply their understanding to Tinkercad, except, and this is the parent speaking here, they’re learning a super valuable STEM skill that can be used throughout life.
It really is easy for kids to jump in and start designing; Quinlan had already created her own character while I was still immersed in a Tinkercad tutorial at the Kid Inventors’ Day.
Plus, she loved that once her design was completed, she could download it for use, or just share it with the Tinkercad community. And you know how much kids love getting accolades from other kids about their work.
In fact, kids can even collaborate with siblings or classmates to work together on problem solving, which is why Tinkercad is also a tool that’s used so much in classrooms around the country as part of STEM education.
Use Tinkercad to create original animation
Considering Quinlan is really into animé and comic book art, it was no surprise that she was excited to create animation using Tinkercad. Right now, she’s working on taking her journals full of artwork and trying to render characters in 3D with the Tinkercad tool. But obviously that’s a pretty advanced project requiring some commitment on her part.
What really impresses me is that any kid at all can start making an animated short in a snap. Whatever their illustration skills.
Quinlan played around with the basic tools and loved it. You simply create a scene (or frame) by selecting one from the gallery or even just drawing something easy like a circle. Then download it, and replicate it with slight tweaks. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Then, repeat some more.
Granted, she hasn’t completed her proposed two-minute animated film just yet, but for someone like her who has wanted to try animation but doesn’t own the software to do it, Tinkercad has been the perfect introduction to the process.
And because it’s free, I am thrilled as a parent that I don’t have to invest in animation software that my daughter may not end up liking or using a whole lot.
Use Tinkercad to think like an inventor, and make an existing design better.
Often, it can be challenging for kids to look at a blank sheet of paper, or in this case, a blank screen, and figure out what to do next. The idea of creating something from nothing can be overwhelming, even for adults.
With Tinkercad, I discovered that even young kids can tap into existing designs to customize them, improve on them, and make them their own.
Above, you can see a letter die that Quinlan found. Playing around with the online tools, she was able to quickly copy it then personalize it more to her liking.
(Also: bonus for kids whose names start with the letter Q or Z or X and don’t tend to see that stuff in gift shops.)
The process of analyzing an object that already exists then tweaking it — well, that’s just how many scientists and inventors work. What a fantastic lesson for kids about problem solving, and using their minds to build better mousetraps.
And because your kids’ final designs can be 3D printed on your own machine or through a Tinkercad partner, it’s a wonderful reward for their hard work, and brilliant motivation for kids to keep thinking, keep working, and keep imagining how to improve on the world around them.
Join our Facebook Live event!
This Thursday, January 26 at 8pm EST, Quinlan will be live on Facebook, demonstrating how she’s been using Tinkercad. I think your kids will love it! If you or your children want to ask her questions on how Tinkercad works, please join us! We’d love to hear from you.
Thanks so much to our sponsor Autodesk for encouraging creative kids to think in new ways and for making it so easy for them to bring their designs and ideas to life.