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DS, age 5.5, keeps having these really elaborate ideas -- a rover to send to Neptune, a pop-cork cannon, a parachute in a backpack, a laser-beam defense system for the creek near our house, etc. -- and wants to build them. My husband and I are strictly arts-and-letters type but we try to help him by suggesting materials, doing some of the tool work that he can't manage, etc. The problem is that, as you might expect, many of these projects do not meet his vision of what they should be -- they don't work, or he can't take them to the level he wants. He ends up frustrated and angry, and I feel like I've become so negative ("that won't work", "you can't do that", "we can't afford a laser", etc.) He has always been a super-upbeat, creative person. I feel like I am crushing his spirit. I've tried to explain that people who build things usually fail many times before they succeed; that maybe we should try some simpler projects so we all learn the skills to do more complicated things; etc.

I hate to see him give up even trying to think of these things. But I also hate that we spend a great deal of time these days frustrated and angry. Any suggestions for how to channel his desires into something that might satisfy him? For example, building models, or trying to construct some of these things out of Legos, or drawing them? He has always had elaborate ideas, it was just much easier for us to help him realize them when they involved puppet shows and things like that!
 

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one of my younger brothers went through a phase when he was really into drawing "plans for his inventions". which i'm guessing was my mothers way of creatively helping him create things that were "impossible", but because our father is an engineer he suggested using graph paper, rulers and pencils with different weight lead so the plans looked more professional. it also made my brother feel like his ideas were being taken seriously.
 
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