Tinker Crate

For Christmas last year, we got the girls subscriptions for Kiwi Crates – the Tinker Crate for Molly and the Doodle Crate for Megan. They look forward to receiving the box of crates every month (they come packaged together) and can’t wait to see what the next project is going to be.

First, a little info on what it’s all about: The Kiwi Crate brand offers several monthly subscription boxes with educational themes targeted at different age groups.  They offer Cricket, Koala and Kiwi Crates for younger age groups (8 and under); Tinker and Doodle Crates are for kids ages 9 and up. Tinker Crates have mechanical and/or science related projects and the Doodle Crates have more involved art projects.  The kits come with almost everything the kids need to complete the project, plus supplemental information and additional project ideas to further their experience.  The only things they leave out are what you’re sure to have at home…scissors, water, etc. Megan’s last Doodle Crate even came with a hole punch!

Each kit comes in a cute and sturdy box decorated like a crate. Molly stores her projects in these after she’s done with them and some projects use the box as part of the base.

The project in Molly’s Tinker Crate this month was Fiber Optic Stars. She got out the instructions and set up all her pieces to get to work.  The instructions are really easy to follow, they’re illustrated, and she can usually follow them completely on her own.  They also offer videos on their website for some of the trickier bits like the wiring for this kit does (incidentally, she didn’t need it, but it’s nice to know it’s there in case she did!)

Hard at work on her project. The stand for the LED light was well labeled and showed exactly where all the parts went. Assembling the foam board with the fiber optic strands looked like fun.

I love that she got to practice building a circuit and learn about constellations in one project!  And she loved that the project was also simple enough occupy her for the space of a rainy afternoon (it did require a bit of drying time for some glue). The kit even came with enough extra supplies that she can make another constellation from the templates or make up her own design some other time.

Molly chose to make the Leo the Lion constellation. Here she is with the finished product.

If you’d like to purchase a Tinker (or other) Crate subscription for a special kiddo in your life, you can do that here. Using this link should give you a $10 discount on any subscription and will also give us a credit to use on future purchases.

Dying Easter Eggs

The girls are on on spring break from school this week, so I took off the afternoon today and the rest of the week to hang out with them. We decided to dye Easter eggs this afternoon. A few years ago, we decided not to get the kits with the little dye tablets anymore and to use food coloring and vinegar instead. It makes really vibrant colors and you can customize it at much as you want. We found a nifty chart on the McCormick’s website that shows how to combine the food dye colors to make lots of pretty egg colors. We had a ton of McCormick’s food colors left over from a Girl Scout project so we were all set!

Top: Megan getting organized. Bottom: Molly hard at work.

It struck me how differently the two girls approached the project.  It probably shouldn’t have, since their personalities and work styles are so different. Megan got out her notebook and planned out how she wanted to color her eggs.  She wrote down the colors of dye to make and even made a chart of how to arrange her dye jars to make sure she could keep track of what color each one had in it.  She numbered her designs, wrote down the steps and planned out the order to make them in.  Molly, on the other hand, picked some colors she liked, mixed them up and started dunking her eggs in. By the time they had sat in the dye long enough, she was surprised by the colors they came out. She was done in under 10 minutes while Megan was still at it half an hour after starting.

The favorites of the finished eggs. Molly’s are on the green grass and Megan’s are on the blue.

We tried a few new techinques this year from some ideas I had saved on my Pinterest Easter board. They wrapped rubber bands around some of the eggs and masked others off with tape to make patterns. We had trouble getting the rubber band technique to work as well as the tutorial (isn’t that always how it goes?) For the taped designs, we used washi tape because we didn’t have any regular painter’s tape. We did polka dots and stripes with the tape. The dye seeped in around it a bit and made some blended lines.  Even though the eggs didn’t quite come out how we planned or expected, it was neat to try out some new ideas.

Despite their different approaches, both girls made some pretty colorful and fun eggs.  And we had a nice afternoon hanging out together, trying out some new dying techniques and playing with colors. Now, I think I need to go buy another dozen eggs so I can have a turn!

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