Car combinatorics

Car combinatorics

I run a regular program at WPL called “Discover DIY” (formerly known as “Mini Makers”) for children aged 2-4. Each week I set up and run 1-2 new activities with the kids, interspersed with some story time.

Recently, I had an idea for a program for the kids where I could use up some scrap wood from my workshop. I would cut the wood up into regular-sized pieces, and give the kids instructions to make cars with them. I brought in some thin dowel to use as axles, some thick dowel pre-cut into thin strips and drilled with holes for wheels, and I brought in a power drill to make axle holes wherever the kids wanted with my help.

I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of the creations. These are kids aged 2-4, while they all have an idea of what a car is, it isn’t as cut-and-dry a definition as what an adult would have if you asked them to create a new car. Below is a sampling of the results of the kids’ work: Read more

Laser cut snowflake activity

Laser cut snowflake activity

It’s that time of year! Christmas! I have put together a tutorial on how to make some quick snowflake decorations. This is a great activity for kids and adults, and can be used as decorations for the tree, gifts to be given, even little tiny add-ons for your presents. It is quick and simple, cheap, and awesome for last-minute ideas.

You will need:

  • Sheet of acrylic
    • available at most hardware and surplus stores. I used stuff 3mm thick.
  • Access to a laser cutter
    • often found at Makerspaces, some Libraries, Universities, and the occasional local service provider. I am a member at Kwartzlab (a Makerspace in Kitchener).
  • Inkscape installed on your computer
    • or any other vector editing software (Inkscape is free and Open Source)
  • Access to the Snowflake Generator site
  • Colourful permanent markers (I’ve used Sharpies without issue)
  • Glue gun and glue stick

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