An impulse purchase while at the St. Jacob’s Market with my kids in the fall committed me to making a large batch of pickles. I have done canning plenty of times before for my favourite salsa recipe so all I had to do was learn how to make pickles. Turns out there is plenty to do in preparation for the canning.
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
On time and under budget to boot! Work tasked me with making five prize wheels. I estimated it’d cost $50 to do and got the go-ahead. Approximately it cost me:
- $10 for the mdf to make the wheels
- $6 for the dowel for the clicker
- $10 for the hardware
- $10 for the wood for the stands
- Free! for the clicker (just a strip of plastic cut from a lettuce box)
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
Time for another fun kid-friendly tutorial! This time, we are going to make a pull-back airplane! Pull-back all the things!
Consumables needed include:
- 1 popsicle stick
- 1 elastic
- 1 paperclip
- 1 straw
- 1 small ball of Plasticine, clay, play dough, whatever
- duct tape
- 1 styrofoam tray (15 cm x 21 cm pictured here)
I was recently was bitten by the knitting bug, and I have just got it out of my system. I have knitted before, but I find the process too simple and repetitive and have a hard time relaxing (if something is too repetitive I get stressed out, I prefer a little variety/challenge to my simpler tasks). Plus, knitting with needles make my hands cramp easily. However, I taught myself how to knit hats with a loom, and I found it had just enough variety to its simple tasks that it became quite enjoyable.
The most striking thing I noticed, however, was how knitting with a loom was so similar to another activity, which may be familiar to parents of young children: Rainbow Loom! Read more
Today, I am going to demonstrate how to make a simple electric motor. This is a great activity for kids and adults, on rainy days or for science fairs. I’ve done this one with kids aged 8-12 ish, but it is a good all-ages activity, depending upon the amount of preparation you can do in advance, as well as the amount of help you are able to give while running the activity. Read more
Once upon a time, back when my wife and I lived on our own together, we used to cook a lot. Not that we don’t cook a lot now, but back then we took courses to expand our abilities and tried new things. Today, due to having three young kids, our cooking is usually on the simple, “kid-friendly” side of the spectrum. Read more
I consider myself a Maker, and have been looking to expand the tool set that I have available to create projects at home. One of my main focuses was to put together a small CNC mill. Ideally, a mill good enough for small wood/hardboard projects that I could also re-purpose as a circuit mill. The Shapeoko seemed to fit that bill. Read more