DIY Mini Toothbrush Robot Bugs -STEM Activity

DIY Mini Toothbrush Robot Bugs -STEM Activity

Robots on the cheap! A fun little project to enjoy with your kids. This introduces them to simple circuits.

Here is my video tutorial!

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Materials

A cheap toothbrush
A coin 3V battery
2 flashing LEDs
One mobile phone coin motor
One sticky pad and sticky clear tape

All of this id available in small quantities on eBay at low cost.

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Cut the handle off of your tooth brush and stick your motor to the toothbrush head.

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Now add your battery using the sticky pad. Make sure the negative (black) contact for the motor is under the battery.

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Tape down the other contact on the top of the battery. Your bot should buzz happily around table!

For more fun, slide two flashing LEDs for eyes on to each side of the battery under the tape (the long contact must be on the top of the battery).

Brill, flashy, buzzy fun! Enjoy!

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Autumn Art – Not Craft!

Autumn Art – Not Craft!

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“Step back helicopter parents!”

This time of year the web is stuffed with Autumn Crafts for small children.  As we all know attempting craft with any toddler is a bit painful and you end up doing nearly all of  it yourself.  Lets not forget about Art for Art’s sake.  The exploration of colour, texture and mark making.  Freedom to express without pressure.

Such activities are open ended and the final product is of less importance than the experience of doing.  Step back helicopter parents!  Bite your lips, refrain from interfering, sit back and watch you toddler’s brain grow.

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Here the hard work is in the preparing and the clean up!  Pick somewhere that you are not precious about (the garden perhaps) and set aside some time for clean up.  Some forward planning will pay off.   Have your clean up gear ready so that messy hands don’t get everywhere on the way to the bathroom!

Don’t be trapped into supplying paint brushes and paper every time.  We mixed it up  a bit by supplying a spray bottle of paint and a roller.  Pick some seasonal interesting items close to hand.  We’ve collect feathers, rocks and some leaves from the garden and some Autumn colours of paint.

As the work progresses and my little artist is fully engrossed in the activity, making choices for herself and experimenting.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching her and no tantrums or power struggles in sight. Joy!

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Hot Wheels-Tastic! Toddler Activity

We changed our climbing frame into Hot Wheels heaven for the afternoon using scrap. Let me take you on a tour!

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We used all our junk to create shoots. We taped drain pipes and cardboard tubing to the climbing frame and even added a lift!

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Our Geoboard made a great addition to the slide, sending the cars in all directions!

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We added on our homemade Sensory Car Track made from scrap materials too!

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We got a whole afternoons fun out of this!

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Fruitful Veg-ucation: Changing a Fussy Eater in Two Weeks? Prioritised Eating

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My son became a fussy eater from the age of about two and a half and is currently four years of age. During this time the foods he would eat consistently narrowed. He would avoid all vegetables, salad and most fruits, rice, pasta and potato other than waffles, chips and croquettes. He would eat bread, baked beans, tinned spaghetti and fish fingers. All other meat went untouched.

I am a believer in serving up foods time and time again eaten or not, hoping that eventually they will start to eat them, and I am against giving alternatives when they are refused. As long as they have had the opportunity to eat, if they skip a meal so be it.

However over such a prolonged period I began to bend to the pressure of wanting him to eat something! The feeling when throwing out the food he had refused wore me down and the repertoire of meals I would serve shrank drastically.

The Stick Or The Carrot?

In the early days we tried the stick. Pressuring him to eat up and making him remain at the table. This was extremely negative and a very traumatic experience for us all and resulting in tantrums and awful scenes.

We quickly abandoned the stick and went for the carrot idea, promising rewards such as pictures for his reward chart and puddings for trying / eating certain foods. This actually got us nearly nowhere as my toddlers stubbornness was do strong that just trying anything new was out of the question and brought tears and tantrums.

Many meals skipped and much guilt and frustration later we may have turned a corner and it is so simple I am cursing myself for not thinking of it earlier.

Prioritized Eating

Think about your own eating habits, what parts of a meal do you prefer or, eat first? With a nice Sunday Roast I always eat the Yorkshire pudding first and broccoli is defiantly last.

I had an idea to try and hold back one preferred item on a separate plate a basically use it as leverage to get him to try the vegetables and meats I new would normally be rejected.” No sugar snaps, no potato waffle”

This was of course met with tears and resistance the first time, but I stood my ground and he did try them in return for some if his favored food.

After each meal I decided to draw the foods he had tried on a chart and let him colour them in. I hoped in some way this could help the memory of these sink in and I rewarded him with pictures on his reward chart.

The second time was easier and the third was met with no complaints except haggling over how much he had to eat before he received some of his preferred food. Each time I pushed further to get him to eat more and to try foods further outside of his comfort zone.

Within one week my fussy toddler ate; chicken legs, butternut squash, sugar snaps, carrot, strawberry, beef stew, jacket potatoes, cabbage, pear, grapes, roast potatoes and spaghetti Bolognese! Is this the same child?

Each time he ate something from his plate he was rewarded with a small amount of something he preferred. Once he had tried something he often decided it wasn’t so bad and was happier to eat some for the reward.

I’m counting this as a major breakthrough because I placed a bowl of pasta and Bolognese sauce in front if him this evening (no reward food) and he ate it. No argument. He then asked for more.

Anyone who has a fussy eater can imagine my relief!

One question remains.

Why the hell did I not think of this before!!!

I now have hope. And I also hope it helps someone else with a fussy eater. Every toddler and fussy eater is different so Good Luck and I feel your pain!

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Fused Plastic Bag Collage Toddler Activity

Fused Plastic Bag Collage Toddler Activity

I found inspiration from this picture and decided to have a go at Fused Plastic Bag Art!

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Found at this link:
http://greenupgrader.com/13280/fun-with-fused-plastic/
This is brill and gives loads of info on what you can make from fused plastic bags but we’ve kept it as a nice and simple art activity for the toddlers to enjoy.
Cutting plastic with toddler scissors is hard so they needed help with this, but they are great with a glue stick and these are their creations (after I ironed them on a low heat between two pieces of grease proof paper).

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Not bad for two, four and five year olds. You can probably guess who’s is who’s!
I love the randomness of toddler art, they ignore all conventions and clichés. Truly Art for Art’s sake!

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Glittery Glue Peels

Glittery Glue Peels

Love love live this!

The Pinterested Parent

IMG_33881As the mother of a toddler I often look around my house & try to remember what it looked like before kids. I vaguely remember having a clean home once upon a time. I will be honest I have not been the best at keeping a tidy house since the birth of our daughter. I find it exhausting trying to keep her thousands of toys & books organized. This became even more the case once I started introducing sensory play and arts & crafts into our regular play. If you can get around the mess that will be made in your home from this kind of play, it can be very rewarding for you & your child.

My daughter loves arts & crafts, the messier the better, so when I found this craft in one of our library books that combined glue & glitter, I knew that she would have a…

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No Glue Window Collage Toddler Activity

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This activity has bags of learning potential and is great fun. You can create a collage with any age toddler, using any number of materials from around the house from cotton wool to bottle tops and pop sticks. Today we are exploring paper and card.

For this activity you will need:

Sticky back plastic,
Scrap paper/ card e.g old birthday cards and sweet wrappers,
Toddler scissors,
Optional extras are paper crimpers and shape cutters.

My two little munchkins set about cutting and crimping paper and card developing their hand strength and fine motor skills.

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The fruits of their labour get stuck to their sticky window. Will (4) puts stars in a row counting them and Poppy (2) places objects randomly.

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Things progress to outside and some flowers from the garden are added by Poppy and Will uses a glue stick to add more layers to the collage.

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It’s lovely to have the light come through the collage and have the backdrop of the garden. The best thing about this collage is it can be changed about and worked on all day! 🙂

Coat Hanger Copy Challenge

Coat Hanger Copy Challenge

If you are looking for a wet weather activity to keep the kids busy here is something to try. Suitable for any age.

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Grab a couple of coat hangers, some pegs and pens. We used left over wallpaper to draw on.
How many drawings can we make at once? Tape the pegs to the coat hangers and clip in the pens to make multiple pictures!

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We taped our coat hangers together to make more copies.

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Have fun!

Super Simple Blinky-Bug Robots Kids STEM Activity

Super Simple Blinky-Bug Robots Kids STEM Activity

Start STEM early! This is a great introduction to circuits for kids. It’s cheap and lots of fun! You will need :
A peg
A 3V button battery
Two LEDs (these cost around 20p)
Two sticky pads or some tape
One 0.09 metal guitar string (one string can make 2-3 bugs bots and costs around £1).

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Slide the battery between the contacts of the LEDs. These only work one way round so flip them round if they don’t light. This is the simplest circuit to show your child.
Sticky pad them in place and bend two of the contacts up as in the picture above.
Bend a length of guitar string into a V to make two antennae. We’ve put tape on the cut ends for safety. The tape also catches the breeze making the antennae move!

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Place your antennae on the battery and sticky pad them in place to form a sandwich.
Bend your antennae towards your LED contacts and when they are close form little hooks out of the LED contacts.

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Now it’s time for your peg!

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Add your legs, wings or whatever. You can fiddle around with the positioning of your wires so the Blinky Bug eyes are off until the antennae move, or easier for young children is that they are on until moved! One LED can last a couple of weeks continuously with one of these batteries. So no need to panic that they will run the battery down too quickly.
Wiggle to start the fun!

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Painting With Fresh Fish

Painting With Fresh Fish

Here is a slightly off the wall, educational, toddler and Pre-school activity. We made prints while learning a bit about fish. My toddlers and I made these lovely detailed prints by dabbing our fish with ink pad sponges.

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We pressed our paper on to the fish and pealed it back to produce our rainbow fish prints.

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My two found the fish very interesting. They were surprised by how sharp it’s teeth were!

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We got our inspiration from this picture we found on the web.

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