Age 5, Age 6, Age 7, Creative Projects, Creative Thinking, Education

MaKey MaKey: an invention kit for everyone

makey makeyWhen the lady at the Kid Inventors Day invited us to make music using a keyboard of bananas, Mr 6 and I were more than intrigued. Sure enough as we touched each of the six bananas, to our joyful surprise musical notes played through the nearby laptop. The magic making this fun possible was the brilliantly simple little electronics kit MaKey MaKey. We had to find out more! Continue reading “MaKey MaKey: an invention kit for everyone”

Craft, Creative Projects, Creative Thinking, Preschoolers, Rainy Day Ideas

Easy Catapults: Physics Fun For Preschoolers

FlyingStartKidsCatapult Rain. Non stop. For WEEKS. If you were a fly on the wall in any number of rain drenched Sydney households over the past few weeks you would swiftly have become familiar with the noise of rampant tearing out of hair as exasperated parents were constrained to entertaining small children AT HOME. Facebook mums groups erupted with calls of ‘HELP!! ANYONE know where we can go…?’ Libraries overflowed with prams and tempestuous toddlers. Living rooms all over the city were demolished and redesigned by an army of tiny expert hands. The certain taste of parental desperation permeated the soggy Sydney air. In less sun burnt countries this much rain would warrant barely the raising of an eyebrow I’m sure, but here in Aus we’re pretty much set up for doing everything outdoors and the sound of gentle pitter patter on the roof strikes dread into the heart of many a fraught home bound parent. With all the indoor based creating, cooking, dancing and meltdown management (of both kids and self) I have been doing these past waterlogged weeks surely I Continue reading “Easy Catapults: Physics Fun For Preschoolers”

Creative Projects, Creative Thinking, Preschoolers, Story telling

Creative Storytelling Ideas

Recently I’ve been trying to jazz up the old bedtime routine. You know how it is when you try to leave the room – the kids just wave you happily night night as they snuggle cozily under the blankets. No? Us neither. Sometimes it seems like designing a spaceship to take you to the fourth dimension would be easier than negotiating your way out of a kids room at bedtime. So I decided to change it up a bit and introduced a fun story activity so we can have a few laughs before bedtime and alleviate the rush to get everything ticked off the list before bed.

These cards from Eeboo are just brilliant for prompting creative story telling. Our 4.5 year old particularly loves the Robot set of cards, but they come in heaps of varieties.

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We’ve recently started Skyping with Nana in England once a week at bedtime so she can read the boys a bedtime story and we’ve introduced these cards into the routine after the story. Everyone has fun with them and hearing the way out extrapolations L Star comes up with can be quite hilarious. It’s interesting not only for creative thinking but also memory retention as L Star will often bring back something at the end of the story which was briefly mentioned right at the beginning.

Even little Cool A has fun with the cards and loves to be involved, mainly in handing out the cards and collecting them back into the box. Mmm, yeah, really tidily of course…

We also have this Magnetic Playboard from the same company which L Star got from a friend for his birthday. It has the same characters and is another fun way to explore story telling. Plus it features magnets which are always a hit.

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If you want to test the waters to see how your kids go with using cards like these, you could try printing a few fun free versions from these sites to get going: for Diego fans from Nick Jr, and another set from the fab folks at Kiwi Crate

And if that’s not enough Creative Story telling wonderment for you, you can always check out these ideas from the ever fabulous Kids Activities Blog: 10 Creative Story Telling Ideas. Happy story telling!

Age 5, Craft, Creative Projects, Preschoolers

Fractious siblings? Try RICE!!

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It was a usual morning at our place. Kids had been wrangled into clothes for the day and convinced to at least sit at the table and look at breakfast. All was fairly harmonious and contained, until, we reached the notorious second stage… the END of breakfast. This day we had no plans, so no rushing around getting snacks and shoes. The boys slid off their seats, had precisely one nano second of ‘playing nicely’ and smoothly proceeded to the inevitable squealing, fighting, snatching and pouting.

But! I was prepared. Today we were making balloon yoyo’s. I love a simple craft activity and this was one of those ones where I already had everything in the cupboard. Inspired by this post I thought this would be a good one for engaging both boys. OMG. How did I not know that RICE would turn two Tasmanian devils into happy little lambs? I kid you not.

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Two baking trays, 2 bags of rice, a variety of small cups, spoons and cardboard toilet roll tubes and we had major experimentation going on. I think in more experienced circles they call these kinds of activities Sensory Boxes. I hoped that they might play with the rice for a while before we got to the yoyo part, but they played FOR AN HOUR. With me in attendance, it wasn’t that amazing that I could sit and… well, even just sitting would be good, but they stopped trying to kill each other and were totally absorbed. I added lentils, kidney beans and any other dried pulsey type things that were dying in the back of my pantry. More the better. L Star was making ‘breakfast’, then a whole little world for sea life, whilst Cool A mainly enjoyed scattering everything on the ground and filling up small cups.

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Finally L Star started to investigate the balloons I left on the table and started to fill them up with the mixture he made, completely of his own accord. We worked out how to make our own funnels from cardboard, I added the elastic bands and we went from having a fairly tranquil activity to a super active chaotic fun one. The boys went nuts with the yoyos. We took them to a play date and their friends went nuts with them. A few days later and they are still popular. In summer I’m going to make them with water instead of rice. This activity was a major winner on all counts for us, with so many creative boxes being ticked!

photoThe joy of a bouncy yoyo!

Craft, Creative Projects, Preschoolers

Cool Cardboard Castle Creation

Cool Carboard Castle Creation

How gorgeous is this home made castle playscene? Fun in the making and in the playing. With a random abundance of cardboard boxes at our place at the moment I thought this might be right up our street. And no purchase of (more) crappy plastic toys required. In fact we may even be able to eject a few to make room for this.
You’re looking at this thinking, yeah, she’s one of those super-handy-at-craft-type-people aren’t you? Well… no. I have no idea how ours will turn out and in fact I can almost guarantee it’s going to be more along that ‘Nailed it’ meme that’s going around the web (check out this cake one if you have no idea what I’m talking about, cracks me up).
The fun will be in the spending of time with L Star working on a project together, in the discussion of ideas and the act of creating. If I’m brave I may even post a pic of our probably slightly more disheveled cardboard masterpiece.
Click on the pic for the link to the super trendy Mermag blog for details and templates.