Max absolutely loved building the Leener-to from yesterday, so today’s learning merely translated that love into action. Learning about the physical properties of various trees and natural materials is an important step to using these materials in building, construction, and design.
Pinestraw, and straw in general, was a critical component of buildings and homes for many years before concrete paved the way for current home construction norms. Max was quick to discover completely on his own that pinestraw serves an insulating function when stuffed between cracks. I did not help him with this project in the slighest, so you can imagine my thrill to discover what a bodacious building this little man made!
Assignment: Build your own lean-to using only natural materials found in the backyard and woods.
Micah hangs out under the lean-to.
I decided to interview Max about his creation and the process so other young makers might be inspired.
Alina: So what do you call this construction?
Max: I call it the Super Insulated Lean-To.
Max: Because with a lot of people in it, it’s sort of like a jacket. But I have to finish filling in the holes first.
Alina: How did you build it?
Max: I used only natural ingredients found in our yard and from the woods. I had to hike into the woods a few times to find what I needed. First I took big sticks and lay them against a tree. I used our dogwood tree for this one. Next I took smaller twigs and pieces of vine and laced them in between the big sticks almost like a mesh. You make a mesh. Then you start filling in the mesh with pinestraw and leaves.
Alina: How long did it take you to build?
Max: To make this lean-to takes about four or five hours. I’ve been working on it all day. A smaller one with less stuffing wouldn’t take as long.
Alina: So what is the pinestraw stuffing for?
Max: To insulate it and to shelter from the wind.
Alina: Any big challenges as you were building?
Max: Yes, my little sister Micah. She kept stuffing plastic bags in the mesh even though you weren’t supposed to use man-made materials. Grrrr.
Alina: I love it.
Max: Yeah, it’s like an underpass tunnel with a station in it.
Alina: Thanks for the interview Max.
Max: Well, you can interview me anytime you want to talk about something I like a lot. I loved how you made yours- it was a good try. For a beginner, Mom.
Side view of lean-to.
The view from inside the lean-to towards the woods.
The view of the rear side of the lean-to.
Also linked to the winsome Play Academy chez Nurture Store.