Gelatin Art: Treats That Wiggle And Jiggle

When you’re looking for something to do with your children at home, you might be tempted to use construction paper, markers and other supplies to make crafts. You can also create gelatin art and other items using the colored powder. One of the things about using gelatin is that it often leaves a delightful smell if you use scented varieties, such as grape or strawberry. The gelatin that is used is the same that you would find in a store when you want to make Jello-O in a bowl or in molds.

Using colored gelatin and condensed milk, you can create cubes that look like broken glass. Make each color that you want to use, and cut the finished product into small pieces that are then added to the condensed milk. When the mixture has set up, you can create blocks that look like they have broken pieces of glass inside.

Another fun idea for children is to create a fish bowl. This is easy to do with blue gelatin and a few colored gummy fish. Make the blue Jell-O first, putting the liquid in a fish bowl before it sets. Add the fish before the mix has completely stiffened. Items that you can add on top are Nerds candies to look like rocks or gum drops to looks like decorations at the bottom of the bowl.

A parfait is an idea for a warm day. Layer various colors of gelatin with softened cream cheese for a beautiful and delicious treat. You can always pour the mixture into molds to create fun shapes. Jelly pops can be made by pouring layers of gelatin into a cup before placing them in the freezer. This helps to get the Jell-O hard so that it can be held by a stick.

There are a few crafts that you can make that aren’t edible. Draw a picture on a piece of sturdy paper. Instead of coloring with crayons or markers, use different colors of gelatin with a Q-Tip. When you are finished, the picture will have bright colors and the smell of the powders that you use.

Image from https://www.cakeconnection.com/gelatin-art/

Image from https://www.cakeconnection.com/gelatin-art/

Teen Scene: Advanced Printing Projects for Fun and Learning

Craft projects are a fun and easy way to keep children entertained during the school holidays. Younger children are easily pleased with simple craft projects such as card making or playdough, but older kids and teenagers require something a little more challenging. Getting older children interested in crafts is a worthwhile endeavour as they can create useful items for the home or beautiful keepsakes that the whole family can enjoy. The following projects are ideal for teenagers and require little more than a digital printer, photo paper and some creativity.

Calendar

A personalized calendar is a fantastic project for an older child as it gives them the opportunity to try out their photography skills at the same time. Start by asking your teenager to take 12 photographs to use for your calendar or you can choose images online. Most word programs offer a free calendar template or you can use an online calendar creator. Once you have formatted your calendar, you can print it out using a digital photo printer. For a more professional result, use high quality ink cartridges such as those available from Stinky Ink.

Board Games

Board games are a fun pastime for all ages, and creating them at home allows you to really use your imagination. You can download board game templates online complete with illustrations and game rules and print them out at home. If you are feeling really adventurous, then you can have a go at creating one from scratch and include trivia questions that are related to a subject your teenager is interested in.

Books

Making your own book may sound like a huge task, but you do not need to print an entire novel. Ask members of your family to write short stories, poems, songs or even add drawings and illustrations. You can ask your teenager to organize all the material together in a scrapbook and print out any corresponding photographs or images to make your book even more special.

Wood Print

Printing an image onto wood is a wonderful way to display your most treasured photographs and would make an ideal gift for friends and family. Start by selecting a clear photograph that does not have too much clutter in the background or shadows. Trim a piece of baking paper to A4 size and load it into your printer so that the image prints on the shiny side. Print your photo onto the baking paper, and then immediately press the paper onto the wood with the image facing down. Slowly peel off the paper, taking care not to smudge the ink. Protect your image from fading with a spray of clear sealer.

Getting your children interested in crafts from an early age is a great way to help them save money and express their creativity. Digital photo printers are a great tool for those wishing to create personalised gifts, and you can purchase them relatively cheaply if you are prepared to shop around online.

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This article was written by John Sollars. He is a business owner of many years. When he gets the time, he likes to sit down and share what has worked for him. Look for his informative posts on a number of websites and blogs today.

FIRST Robotics: Raising Visionaries and Innovators

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg – they are the digital visionaries of our generation.  Aside from being successful innovators in the field of technology and being among the world’s most famous billionaires, they all have another thing in common – All of them were trained through STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Education.

STEM Education is what FIRST Robotics wants to emphasize in its programs that focus on robotics literacy.  FIRST Robotics is the country’s pioneering center in the field of robotics.   It uses state-of-the-art materials that allow children to design, build, and program robots.  Children as young as 4 learn to be creative and resourceful in a fun learning environment.

Age-Appropriate Programs for Future Innovators

FIRST Robotics has age-appropriate programs that enhance skills, encourage learning, and foster hard work.

FR 4+

Kids age 4 – 6 are taught basic building concepts that develop their fine motor skills and enhance their creativity.  At FIRST Robotics, they also discover how people, animals, and things move then they learn how to build their own models of these.   For this age group, LEGO Duplo is used.

FR 7+

For kids age 7 – 8, LEGO WeDo is used to introduce young kids to information and control technology (ICT).  They learn how to make inanimate objects move using basic visual programming.  They build models of animals and things using sensors and other mechanical parts then use a drag-and-drop software to make their models react to stimuli and move.

FR 9+

More advance concepts are taught to kids age 9 and older using LEGO MindStorms.  At this stage, kids are not only able to build their own robots but are also able to design their own programs to control the robot’s movements. They are given the challenge of designing, building, and programming robots that perform specific functions such as going through various obstacle courses or doing useful tasks.

Make Dreams Come True

Most of us have had grand dreams when we were very young. We dreamed of becoming astronauts, scientists, and inventors. Unfortunately, not all of us are given the resources to put these dreams into reality, especially those of my generation when technology was still limited.

Fortunately, there are now plenty of opportunities for our children that aid them in fulfilling their own dreams.  As parents, we must strive to provide them the means to grab these opportunities and to encourage them to work hard for their dreams to come true.

Make your little one’s dreams come true and bring them to  the place

“where fun learning rules”!

For more information about the programs being offered by FIRST Robotics, visit their website at www.FIRSTRobotics.ph or check out their Facebook page at First Robotics Learning Center.

To read about my kids’ fun learning day at FIRST Robotics, visit Taking Legos to The Next Level at First Robotics.

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Taking Legos to the Next Level at FIRST Robotics

Books, building blocks, musical toys, board games, and sports equipment – these are the only things my children are allowed to play with during weekdays.  Call me old-fashioned but I’d rather my kids play with the games I used to play than spend all their spare time with their faces plastered on digital screens. Among those I’ve mentioned, books and building blocks are their most favorite.  They can spend hours reading a book or building whatever their imagination wills them to.

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4-year-old Jakei fascinated with the pulley we built together. 🙂

This is also why I signed up for the FIRST Robotics event organized by the Mommy Bloggers of the Philippines last August (yes, this is a superduper late post! wondermama was not so wonder-y the past weeks).  What better way to spend the weekend than learning how to build robots!  So cool!

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Upon arriving, we were ushered to the waiting area for kids.  In here, kids can play with LEGOs while waiting for their classes to start.  There’s a separate waiting area for parents in the lobby but since we were there to learn more about FIRST Robotics, we were allowed to stay inside the rooms.

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Before the trial classes began, we were given a short presentation about what First Robotics has to offer. Read all about it at FIRST Robotics: Raising Visionaries and InnovatorsAfter the briefing, we were led to the different rooms.  Each age group has its own room where age-appropriate materials are provided. Those age 4 – 6 use LEGO Duplo to develop their fine motor skills. Age 7 – 8 kids learn how to use basic visual programming using LEGO WeDo. Those who are age 9 and older are taught how to create their own functional robots using LEGO MindStorm.

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Although they were only one year apart, my two kids belonged to different age brackets and had to stay in different rooms. I chose to stay with Jakei knowing that Jade would be able to manage on her own. So off Jade went to the World of Science and Technology room while Jakei and I went to the World of Adventures and Inventions.

Jakei’s FIRST Moving Lego Robot

Since Jakei has been very adept at building LEGO models on his own at home, I didn’t assist him that much during his class.  Their lesson started with a short story about two friends who were playing hockey and who needed another player for their team.  Building this players became the task of Jakei and the other kids. They had to build a hockey player that had a movable arm for hitting the puck into the goal.

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After successfully building their robots, the kids tested them out through a fun competitive game of hockey.

My Jakei had fun during the game and, thankfully, did not throw a fit when he lost. I think having been able to build a robot with moving parts made him a winner already.

Jade’s FIRST Shot at Programming

After Jakei’s game, I checked on Jade in the 7-8 class.  They were almost finished with their robots when I came.  I was amazed that the kids were able to build their robots with minimal supervision. They were using the LEGO WeDo software that provided step-by-step instructions.  What was even more amazing was that they were able to program their robots using basic visual programming.

Watching my daughter’s eyes sparkle with excitement when her crocodile moved and made a sound was such a sight to behold.

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Free Trial Classes at FIRST Robotics

Lego + Robots + Kids = FUN FUN FUN!  

We definitely loved our experience at FIRST Robotics!  What’s not to love with learning being so much fun?! If you have kids age 4 to 16, I encourage you to enrol them in one of the programs at FIRST Robotics. Call (02)696-3333 to schedule a free trial class or visit their website at http://www.firstrobotics.ph/ for more information.

In FIRST Robotics, children become leaders not followers, problem solvers not whiners, and builders not daydreamers. And what parent wouldn’t want their children to become those. 😉

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To know more about First Robotics, read FIRST Robotics: Raising Visionaries and Innovators.

 

3 Skills Kids Learn Through Pretend Play

When we hear of the word “play”, we often associate it with engaging games of tag, sports activities, or physical exploration of environments. Physical play, though, is just one of many types of play that children engage in. There’s Constructive Play where kids learn to create things using blocks, clay, and other manipulatives. Competitive Play where they pit their skills with others and learn how to be true sportsmen.  Then there’s also Pretend Play.

In Pretend Play, kids assign roles and act them out. They pretend to be someone, or even something, else. As their imaginations come to life, kids develop a myriad of skills. They become creative, insightful, and well-rounded individuals.

Skills Learned Through Pretend Play

During Pretend Play, kids learn how the world works and how adults interact. Their gross and fine motor skills are also developed. Aside from these, here are three more skills kids learn and develop through pretend play:

Language Skills. Pretend Play encourages expressive language. When playing with others, kids learn that words give them the power to re-enact stories or create entirely out-of-this-world ones. Oftentimes, they use the words they hear from the ones closest to them so don’t be surprised to hear your own words (might be even in a perfectly good impersonation of you!) during their play.

Thinking Skills. There’s really more to Pretend Play than “just playing pretend”. Kids learn to solve problems, organize and plan activities, retell familiar stories, and apply gained knowledge. Their imagination, which is an important building block for learning, is greatly enriched.

Social-Emotional Skills. While creating their make-believe scenario, kids learn to cooperate and to negotiate in their role playing. They learn to take turns and share. Sometimes, they also learn how to deal with disappointment. While they pretend to be someone else, they also develop a sense of self and individuality. As they discover themselves and their capabilities, their self-esteem then increases allowing them to confidently interact with others.

How To Nurture Their Imagination

Allow Them To Create Their Own Scenario. The best stories unfold when children are given a freehand on who they want to be and where they want the stories set. It’s perfectly fine to be Batman riding a horse with Sheriff Callie while exploring a new red moon in outer space. Their pretend world is as vast as their imagination, give them complete control over it and watch them develop story lines a thousand times more interesting than your favorite stories.

Provide Props and Costumes. Dress up costumes from Smiffys would be wonderful but even old clothes would do. Kitchen sets, Doctor kits, Shop stands, and other toys help make pretend play more realistic. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg in props though. Even ordinary household items can be used in Pretend Play. In our home, a blanket becomes a tent, the stairs a mountain to climb, our chairs obstacles in a grand adventure. Empty boxes turn into airplanes, or boats, or cars, or rockets, or whatever else is needed for the kids’ imaginary kingdom.

Play With Them. Playing with your kids is a two-way learning process. From you, they learn how to communicate, interact, and rationalize. You, on the other hand, can learn to understand your kids more. You can even discover a few things about yourself too as kids are wont to mirror their parents’ behavior. So, next time your kids run to you asking you to be the High Queen in their kingdom, stop for awhile and play with them. Just a few minutes of your time is forever for them. Know that “play” for them is not just play – it’s a learning process.