One of the prerequisites of being a parent in Germany is the ability to craft (basteln). It is one of the givens of society along with the hot lunch, no noise on Sundays and goal-oriented neighbour observation. A birthday party is never a birthday party without a crafting corner, kindergartens frequently require parental attendance at craft evenings (Bastelabenden) and crafting is one of the subjects in junior school. While I completely support the notion that a homemade gift can be a wonderful thing (especially if it is a homemade cake), and I cherish the fact that my kids are learning to craft, I am rubbish at it. All those little pieces of paper that flutter messily to the floor, the guiding of shaky hands as they try to cut out complicated shapes and fail so you have to draw the shape again, and the arguments as you try to work out how best to render a birdie out of paper. Not for me.
So when Lily brought home a Bastelprojekt – to make a car – I did the obvious. I handed the project over. To my husband. He grew up watching Blue Peter, so he is not scared of making a giraffe out of a shoe-box and three wine corks. He gave Saturday over to crafting the car. Which was so successful that he had to make a car for Ollie and a plane for Daisy, turning the last couple of days into a Bastelwochenende, and the dining-room table into a Bastelwerkstatt. He made all three objects with found materials around the house, and only needed to purchase straws, kebab sticks, pin tacks and some glue.
Here are the results:
Bastelprojekt 1: Lily’s car
Please note sun-roof and sliding-door. Also important to note: this car goes!
Inside view, of steering wheel, seats and people
Rear view, with straws for exhaust pipes
Here is Bastelprojekt 2, a racing car for Ollie:
And the cars, along with Bastelprojekt 3, Daisy’s plane:
So now I know, next time kindergarten requires parents’ attendance for a craft evening, who I will be sending along.
Although he still insists on calling it engineering.