I love architecture, and had a wonderful time sharing this interest of mine with my kids last month in Berkeley, California. Berkeley has some amazing, even jaw-dropping, examples of architecture, from Victorian to Modern with lots of style in between. So if you happen to be somewhere where good design abounds, do take advantage of the opportunity to talk to your kids about architecture, and all that is involved in the process of planning and construction! (And if you have no idea yourself, well, just wing it!)
Here are two examples of wonderful architectural styles which are numerous amongst the homes in the North Berkeley hills: French Normandy inspired fairy tale type homes from the 1920's (love the little turrets!) and California Mission Style, very elegant stucco homes, with Spanish/Mediterranean inspired details. And hey, look at that tree, it's actually a humongous Yucca, (from the Agave family) we have some in pots at our house!
There are so many little details that may be obvious to us, but really need to be pointed out and talked about in order for children to appreciate them.
Post and beam wooden construction is quite common in Berkeley, having originated in this area in the late 50's, and seen in this Japanese inspired home probably built in the late 70's or so. Don't forget to talk about how things are built, like this fun red gate for example also inspired by Japanese garden design and quite simply constructed using 2x4s.
I love this stream-lined mid-century modern home with its flat roof, set amongst the trees, and of course we just had to talk about this nicely preserved Volkswagen bus, since my kids had never seen one!
On the UC Berkeley campus there are some amazing examples of architecture, including the Hearst Mining Circle Building designed by the architect Julia Morgan, and Bowles Hall (I think?), a dormitory that looks like it was lifted right out of an English boarding school!
And of course, the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus is a wonderful site to behold on a clear day, and especially since its chimes are real bells that play a concert every 1/2 hour! What exactly is the purpose of the Campanile? Well that's something else worthy of discussion, right? Ask your kids to think of three reasons why, for example, someone would build a tower like this one.
Start talking to your kids about everything and don't stop, they'll benefit immensely! And in fact, in many cases children would much rather have conversations with you than do craft projects, alack alas, so do rise the occasion and help build your children's future by encouraging creative thinking. I'm with you, I'm going to try just a little bit harder too!