Kid Reporters

Dream Builders

TFK chats with one of the hosts of the new reality show, The Dengineers

January 06, 2017
DCI

The Dengineers TV series chose Ben, 11, to be one of the kids who got the chance to create their own den on the show. His survival-style space includes a secret entrance.

The Dengineers is giving kids a chance to build their dream dens. The new reality show is filmed in England, where a "den" is known as your own personal room. Co-hosts Lauren Layfield and Mark Wright travel to children's homes and help them customize their dens. The kids are involved in every step of the process. The only limits are their imaginations.

TFK Kid Reporter Trevor Shooshan spoke with Layfield about the show. The 11-episode first season premiered on January 3. New episodes air on Tuesday nights at 7 PM on Discovery Family.

TIME FOR KIDS:

The Dengineers co-hosts Mark Wright and Lauren Layfield pose in front of one of the dens they assisted in creating. The show gives kids a chance to turn their dream playrooms into reality.
DCI
The Dengineers co-hosts Mark Wright and Lauren Layfield pose in front of one of the dens they assisted in creating. The show gives kids a chance to turn their dream playrooms into reality.

How did you get involved with the show?

LAUREN LAYFIELD:

I was working on another show for CBBC (the UK equivalent of the Discovery Family Channel) and was offered to audition. I was very excited. My co-host, Mark Wright, had already been chosen. I met him for the first time at my second audition. It was really funny, because Mark is super famous in the UK. I was only used to seeing him on TV, in magazines, and newspapers. It was really weird meeting him for the first time, but he was really nice and we got along fine. After that I got picked for the show. It was the best day ever!

TFK:

Do you have a background in den building or engineering?

LAYFIELD:

(Laughter) No, not at all. Before the show, I was barely able to hang a picture in my house. I was really bad at DIY (Do It Yourself). What's been brilliant about The Dengineers is now that I have done loads of DIY on the show, I am really good with a hammer and a saw. Now I can finally hang up all of those pictures in my house!

TFK:

Who pays for the amazing projects?

LAYFIELD:

The kids on the show ask us that question all of the time. We're happy to tell them it's free for them! We do it for children who really deserve it. For example, maybe they have been sick, maybe they've done something really good in school, or maybe they have been really helpful to their mom or dad. There is something about these kids that they really deserve this den so we do it for free.

TFK:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to build?

LAYFIELD:

In the first season, these kids wanted a music den. We wanted to make something really cool on both the inside and outside. They asked for a gigantic amplifier, so we built this huge speaker for them. It was so big and peculiar, and all of the neighbors could see it from wherever they were. The best part was the kids wanted it to be bright orange. The mom did not like orange, but I think she grew to love it.

Kid Reporter
Trevor Shooshan

TFK:

What’s the funniest thing that has happened on the set?

LAYFIELD:

I think when Mark gets the giggles. He is like this grown-up, kind of mega star in the UK, but some things he really finds funny. He's one of these people that when he starts laughing at something, he can't stop laughing. So then he makes everyone else laugh along, too.

TFK:

I see you take the kids on the show to some really awesome places. Where is the coolest place you’ve gone?

LAYFIELD:

Yes, we take them for "Den Days Out." These are days where the kids can engage in hobbies they like and get ideas for their dens. I have two favorites. We did a Hawaiian den, and decided we couldn't do that without going surfing. So we went to a place for indoor surfing and it was the most fun ever! I was terrible at first, but the little girl getting the den was amazing! We also did a kitchen den for a little boy who wanted to be pastry chef. We went to this amazing chocolate factory. I ate so many sweets that day!

Nyobi, 9, poses in her new art-themed den, complete with plenty of desk space and art materials
DCI
Nyobi, 9, poses in her new art-themed den, complete with plenty of desk space and art materials.

TFK:

What has been your favorite thing about working on The Dengineers?

LAYFIELD:

My favorite thing is the fact that we end up, in some small sort of way, changing the lives of the kids that we work with. Some of the children don't come from the richest or most privileged backgrounds and for them to win the den really means a lot. They can't believe that they won against thousands of other kids who applied, they really feel so lucky. It is really important that they are part of the whole process from start to finish. They really feel invested in what they make. Seeing their faces right at the end, when they see the final product is priceless.

 

TFK:

Will kids in the U.S. be able to participate in this show?

LAYFIELD:

Ah, now there's a good question. As soon as Mark and I heard that the show was going on air in the U.S., we were so excited. That would be amazing. I guess it just depends; we need to see if everyone in America likes the show first. I think it would be cool to make dens across the U.S. Keep your fingers crossed!


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