Artist and Engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci once said, 'Learn how to see. Realise that everything connects to everything else.' He demonstrated this by combining and connecting science and art to make important discoveries.
Why does this matter? STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) focused on science concepts. Kids who learn creative methods with STEAM (including Art within the acronym) make connections between concepts, learn to inquire and problem-solve in new and exciting ways.
So finally, art and creative methods are being acknowledged more than ever as vital for future-ready employees in business and industry. One way we incorporate STEAM into our play is with marbles to encourage our kids to be creative and challenge their engineering skills.
We were inspired to create our own version of Marble Runs and Trampolines from this post on Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls - thank you so much Mama Sarah for your amazing ideas that helped to grow my kids basic understanding of physics concepts!
WHAT WE USE:
Try dropping a marble on a balloon to see it bounce! Then get to work creating marble runs that include your trampolines! Our first track was simple, and we used wooden blocks to support the wooden bridge train tracks. We also used masking tape to attach the paper towel rolls to the blocks.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
Not only is this a great collaborative and engineering activity, but a great way to learn physics concepts and observation skills for older kids. My two sons enjoyed observing the following challenges I gave them:
I would love to hear what you think in the comments section!
Go to Amazing Mazes, Painting with Marbles and Sensory Play with Light for some more creative STEAM activities.
Dinosaurs, digging and tools are a few of my boys' favourite things. So, when they discovered how to create mini ice excavations to free frozen dinosaurs, it was NEXT LEVEL!
This STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths) and sensory play has since become the kids' favourite activity not only because it's fun and easy to do but it also helps them to focus on something engaging, quickly. There is nothing quite like hammering away at blocks of ice to unwind and release energy!
In fact, we always keep an ice tray full of frozen creatures - preferably near the ice packs for injuries - in our freezer. What is the method behind the madness? When the kids get a small bump or bruise, they like to excavate ice to distract themselves from the stinging pain of cold-ice-pack-on-owie!
Why? Because experts advise the art of distraction is often effective to help calm kids down, especially when they are hurting or need to let go of tension. Now, the kids' play-dates request this activity when they come over; win-win for everyone :) Learn how we do it, below.
WHAT WE USE:
Invite the kids to place a creature figure in each open space of the ice tray. Then, help them to pour water into each space and put the ice tray in the freezer. When the water has frozen, remove the ice tray from the freezer and extract the ice blocks onto a large surface (preferably on the ground, outside). Then, let the kids excavate away at the ice blocks with their toy tools to free the fossilized bugs or dinosaurs! Another option is to use water sprays to slowly melt the ice blocks. My kids also like to find different things to freeze to keep it interesting, such as tiny trinkets and water beads.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
Not only is this activity super fun and helps to distract and release energy, it also engages the kids in:
To learn more about STEAM activities, refer to Fun Marble Runs! To learn more about letting go of tension, refer to Creatively Connecting to Control Emotions.
Drop any questions, suggestions and experiences in the comments section and if it resonates, please share with your parent friends! As always, I look forward to connecting with you via the Creative Mama community on Facebook.
Who likes to daydream? Who has ever dreamed of flying? And who has ever tried to fly? Well, that is what Arya’s Flying Dreams is all about.
Who likes to read books? Who has ever dreamed of writing a book? And who has ever tried to write a story? Then you have just planted the seeds for your own book that you could be the proud author of! Because in dreams we plant the seeds of our future...
These were some of the discussion points used to engage 200 Grade 2 and 3 students during my Book Talks for Book Week at local primary schools.
We all have a story inside us that we dream about making into a book and sharing with the world. The feedback from the teachers, including my sister, was that students felt inspired with practical tips to write and publish their own children's book.
It was a fun family affair to help support and promote Arya's Flying Dreams with my older son participating in his Grade 3 Book Talk. Then, my middle son dressed up as Arya and my niece dressed up as Arya's Mum in their respective Book Parades.
Did you know that the word ‘inspire’ originates from the Latin word 'inspirare' meaning to ‘breathe into’, as in to breathe life into an idea? Our stories are simply ideas that we bring to life, using our imagination. Here's what I covered in my Book Talk to inspire you to breathe life into your idea - your story:
What I did:
The topics I covered:
I expanded on the above topics and included sneak-peaks of my original sketches that my illustrator, Valerie Bouthyette interpreted beautifully. In particular, I covered brainstorming ideas, creating structure for your story, identifying themes, utilising literary devices, practicing and editing your writing voice and the publishing journey.
Connect and Inspire...
In order to inspire the students to connect with and participate in the discussion, I set a simple challenge to listen for a few tips that would score them a few copies of Arya's Flying Dreams for their school library. I hope these tips encourage you to take small steps towards creating your dream story:
If you know a primary school, library or community that would be inspired by this discussion, I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com.
Please share Arya's Flying Dreams with friends. It is available online at Amazon, Book Depository and Booktopia. Thank you!
'Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain - unless it is done with play, in which case, it takes between 10-20 repetitions' - Dr Karyn Purvis
So, when this play-based activity to combine a beautiful story with playdough, hands-on learning and real-life experiences came along, we swam towards it! This Playdough Rainbow Fish is fun, easy to create and perfect for extending the kids' understanding of friendship.
What we use:
After reading and reflecting on The Rainbow Fish story and it's beautiful illustrations, we get creative with the playdough! The kids flatten a ball of playdough using their hands or a rolling pin and cut out a fish shape with a plastic knife or a cookie cutter. All that's left is to place the googly eye on the fish and adorn it with sequins for scales, before it's time for some fun learning! Ideas include counting all the same coloured scales on the fish, standing the scales up on their side and then flat on the fish, creating a pattern of scales such as row of blue scales and then a row of red scales.
Connect and inspire...
The kids develop language and conversation skills as we discuss the underlying messages of how we can share, learn to give and be friendly in The Rainbow Fish. Taking the kids to experience an aquarium also reinforces their understanding of the many real and beautiful fish in the sea. Apart from using their imagination to create colourful patterns on their rainbow fish, the kids learn fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and control.
In addition, the kids learn math concepts such as counting and experimenting with size and area. Using creative methods to learn math extends problem-solving skills in exciting ways. To learn more about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), please read Fun Marble Runs!
What are some other creative ideas in response to The Rainbow Fish story? Creative Mama Joanna recently created a colourfully crafted fish book with her son and we shared it on the Creative Mama Community on Facebook!
Painting with Marbles is an art activity for your kids that is super simple to set-up and do - again and again! So it can get a little messy...but the end result - a colourful and abstract piece of art - is totally worth it!
It's also a fun indoor play idea that combines art with movement, for kids who like to be active! This activity even encourage kids to apply basic creative skills as part of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) concepts into their play - what's not to love about it?!
To learn more about STEAM, go to Fun Marble Runs.
WHAT WE USE:
Drop a marble into each section of the muffin tray. Using a spoon, coat the marble with paint and then transfer it to the paper in the shallow dish. Lift the dish and tilt it from side to side so that the paint covered marbles roll around and leave trails of paint, creating interesting and colourful patterns on the paper.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
Depending on how much the kids are enjoying the marble painting process, more marbles can be added and can be rolled around the paper to blend colours, creating new colours and designs. Or, you can replace the painted paper with a fresh one and create multiple marble paintings for framing, along side each other. A little messy play is sometimes worth all the effort!
I would love for you to share your experiences in the comments section below and any photos you might have taken of your kids cool creations!
For some more creative STEAM activities, go to Amazing Mazes and Sensory Play with Light.
Here's a Lego maze that will amaze your kids! Mazes are fun and a great creative activity to encourage kids to apply basic Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) concepts into their play. To learn more about STEAM, go to Fun Marble Runs!
Mazes are also great for improving fine motor skills. They can be crafted, for example, out of a large cardboard box lid and straws or built from Lego. The boys raided their Lego box for some of the mazes pictured above.
WHAT WE USE:
Making sure that the path remains about 4 studs wide to comfortably fit a regular size marble, let your kids experiment with how they construct their selected lego pieces on to the lego flat board. Use different length legos shapes until they're happy with their completed maze. Then place the marble at the start of the maze and tip the flat board in the angle that the marble path is constructed to enable the marble to roll towards the finish line.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
This is an opportune activity for the kids to work together and collaborate on their ideas of how to construct the maze, what blocks to use or how complex they want to make it. They can even devise how tall the walls should be in order to prevent the marble from falling out!
Go to Painting with Marbles and Sensory Play with Light for some more creative STEAM activities.
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