Can you mend a puncture?

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This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post challenges you to share simple how-to skills with children. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here.

Can you change a puncture? Brilliant if you can – now, can you show someone else how to do it? That’s what Vince (see pic), who loved BMXs and riding about on bikes as a kid, and I did with some of the kids at our kids’ after school club. To our surprise we were mobbed, and asked to come back and show another group of children in a fortnight’s time. There’s a real appetite to learn from small children, even from the ones who are five and a half years and hope to be getting a Blackberry for Christmas… (let’s hope their families don’t oblige).

I’m forever blowing bubbles
Vince showed the kids how to pump up the tyre, hold it in water and look for bubbles. There’s lots of tricky bits here – what sort of valve do you have? How to use the pump etc. But not so tricky that our group of 10 children couldn’t soon pump up a tyre, or identify exactly where the hole was. We used two different puncture repair kits and found that the children preferred using glue on to stick on patches.

One girl, in Year 6, admitted that her bike had been thrown away after it had got a puncture: well she won’t have to now. Or even if a puncture does happen again then she will know that it can be mended, if not by her, than at a repair shop. The good news was that every child knew how to ride a bike, and this is an inner London school – apparently the cycles used in the playground by the afterschool club have helped the children learn how to get their balance.

See here, the London Cycling Campaign, for lots of cycle related info.

Over to you
Here’s a challenge: can you teach someone’s child (or your own) a simple skill, like how to mend a puncture, that will improve their future?  Or swap what you know for another skill (eg, mend a puncture/sew on a button in order to get your friend to teach you how to knit yoghurt/bake bread or paint a window)? If children can be involved so much the better, but it’s still good if they see you doing something that slightly bucks the super-consumer role so many of us have accidentally ended up playing. Good luck.

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One Comment on “Can you mend a puncture?”

  1. nicola baird Says:

    From Facebook:
    Penny: I was wondering what you were doing this afternoon with that bucket on your bike. What a fantastic idea and good ol’ Vince. What a star!

    Alice: Great article. I’m especially intrigued to find out how you knit yoghurt…


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