Piper – a Minecraft toolbox for anyone to create and invent with technology. Build electronics. Invent power-ups. Create the future.
So – the kids were pretty excited last week to hear from Mark at Piper all about their fabulous new toolbox for budding engineers who happen to like Minecraft!
As a family we tend to use ‘screentime’ as a reward at the end of the week, for best behaviour, and finishing homework without it being an excruciating teeth-pulling exercise. Minecraft is their favourite ‘go to’ game, and without further ado, read what our 10yo thought of Piper, and then watch the video!
In short, my son, 10yo RB says this:
“Minecraft toolbox – Build electronics with Piper. Piper is brilliant for seven and ups. I think it is really awesome because the instructions are in the game so it would make children and adults interested in making things outside of the game. Minecraft is a good way to get people that like Minecraft to play it. It will make a brilliant Christmas or birthday gift. It will entice people to play because it is easy to build so you can get started really quickly. Raspberry Pi is what all of the software runs on. Raspberry pie is a mini computer if you’ve got all the right equipment and gadgets luckily all of that comes in a really well made wooden box. The screen comes readymade and all fits in.
There are ten action-packed levels to complete in the game. You have to make your own buttons and fit the wires in the right places. The mouse comes with the box so you can look around.
There are lots more interesting exciting things about the game but they are for you to find out.”
RB Age 10 says – “NOW watch this video!”
How it works:
– First you assemble the wooden toolbox and connect it with the Raspberry Pi 2, a 7 inch LCD display, a power bank, and an assortment of electronics.
– Once assembled, you enter a Minecraft adventure map viewable on the LCD screen.
– Your Mission: guide a robot to rescue astronauts on a foreign planet. The robot’s hardware is damaged on the way over, and you have to build it in real-life to control the robot in the game to save the day!
How this educates kids:
– Each gadget you build gives you a special power-up and progresses you through the game
– First build the controller to navigate your robot. Add switches to activate hidden bridges and doors. A row of lights to serve as a proximity sensor and more.
So more brilliant Juice carton crafts today from the 11yo – who wanted to make a lamp…
Not any old lamp though, it had to be a blue narwhal of course, complete with pointy horn.
The milk carton is in itself waterproof, so will be coming camping with us this year apparently!
If you and your kids would like to have a go at this you will need:
1) Juice carton, or milk carton, empty (!) and rinsed.
2) Acrylic paint
3) Googly eyes
4) Scalpel (and a steady hand)
5) Battery powered tea light So 11yo got busy cutting the holes for the eyes. And cutting the shape of the mouth, with a fold back to make the tongue. The *Narwhal’s (a whale!) ‘tusk’ was created by twisting a piece of paper into a cone shape and sticking into the hole left by the juice carton lid.
The narwhal, or narwhale, is a medium-sized toothed whale and possesses a large “tusk” from a protruding canine tooth. It lives year-round in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia and according to 11yo, is blue.
My boys LOVE Star Wars… My boys LOVE Lego….So, can you imagine our delight to be invited to the launch party of the new Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles which is out now on DVD!
What a fab way to spend an afternoon, AND we got to meet a rather imposing REAL Darth Vadar, AND play with Lego too – all of us piecing together parts of a giant Yoda ‘jigsaw’ made of single lego pieces, it was quite a challenge! We have a great affection for Yoda, click here for our finger puppets!)
The kids really enjoyed watching the new DVD stories, and we are saving watching it again on our own DVD player, for a trip down the M4 to Swansea at the weekend, I’ve no doubt it will be on loop… ‘one more time please’! 🙂
And if you would like to WIN one of three copies of the #LegoStarYodaDVD click here!
Disclaimer: we were invited along to a family day out with the Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment team
What is it with skulls? There is something so graphically appealing about them… and with several small boys to entertain for yet another birthday party, I decided to involve them in making wrapping paper, and party bags… So we each carved a face into a potato and got printing!
It’s pretty simple stuff, you can see in the photograph of the potato, you slice it lengthwise, and carefully cut the mouth and eyes with a sharp knife. It’s essential that the potato is sliced FLAT otherwise the print won’t be nice and clean.
8yo (as he was at the time) enjoyed mixing the colours to get the murky grey, and we rolled out some brown packing paper on the table to print up the wrapping paper. The party bags are really easy to make too, you need a tissue box for a template and for an easy ‘how to’ vlog – click over to redtedart.com where one of my earliest appearances on video camera will entertain you…
Want to see me talking about this project and skull potato printing? Click the link and photo left, to watch via youtube…. Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art hosted a fabulous “Halloween crafts’ on Google+.
So Autumn is upon us, and time to look at a Mexican holiday celebration which is new to my boys: Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos which is the first two days of November.
Although the holiday involves artistic representations of skulls and skeletons, the occasion is festive, rather than morbid. Death isn’t seen as the end of one’s life, but as a natural part of the life cycle; the dead come back to visit every year. In the UK, around this time of year, Halloween’s images of skulls and skellybobs are spooky,eery, and scary. By contrast, On Day of the Dead, it’s about celebrating with the family both alive and remembering those who are no longer with us.
I asked the boys what they would like to make, and ‘masks’ and ‘bunting’ seemed popular and do-able choices… as they are 9 and 10 now, and love their Marvel graphic novels, they wanted me to ‘draw’ the templates in Illustrator for them to colour – so that’s what we’ve done… and I’ve attached a FREE Printable for you to colour and create your own Day of the Dead garland too…(you too can make your own ‘microwave dave’ character like the 10yo…)
Want to see me talking about this project and skull potato printing? Click the link and photo left, to watch via youtube…. Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art hosted a fabulous “Day of the Dead crafts’ on Google+.
You can’t miss the posters – Despicable Me is back (and I can’t help amusing myself by calling it ‘This Pic about me’ – as that’s what my small children thought it was called….)
So, as you know, I’m on a weekly panel of crafty So-and-So-s invited to ‘hang-out’ on Google+ by the every lovely Maggy Woodley at Red Ted Art.
Like Maggy, Hama Beads (or Perler Beads as I’ve heard them referred to) were always a bit of a mystery to me when my kids were really small, and them I realised what a great thing they were – appealing to both genders on play-dates, and across a wide age range too… When 10yo was sitting down making his Despicable Me Minion (the larger of the two in the photo) Maggy’s 5yo son was working away with a furrowed brow (glancing occasionally over at my 10yo’s) – great team work, delight all round as they were revealed from the greaseproof paper and hot iron – love them!
Ours were meant to be made into badges, however, it now transpires that they are destined to adorn their book-bags!
We each of us drew the Star Wars character Yoda from memory on a piece of paper, to establish a 2D representation, his ears and BIG eyes seemed to be the main recognisable features. We cut him out, glued him together and built up some fiddly layers to create his creased face and ears.
We had a bit of a debate about which eyes to use, as I was super keen to use the googly eyes with eyelashes. Funny how that got knocked on the head by the two boys… I was desperate to use them, so 10yo allowed me to add them to his Jar Jar Binks – you like?! Not perfect, but you can see a resemblance! I hung out on Google+ with some craft buddies to share these finger puppets – Anthea from Zing Zing Tree made some lovely hair pinwheels. And some beautiful rings (we’ve put our orders in! Lizzie’s little felt mice were adorable, and our host Maggy from Red Ted Art showed us my favourite felt doughnuts and strawberries.