* This is an article I sent out in our January Maker Club newsletter. Have you signed up for our newsletter yet? It comes out monthly with news, events and project ideas. You can sign up for our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/GMbrX *
I often start my workshops with a book. I like books where the characters make stuff. I like books about the process of making and the challenges that are faced. Some of the books I use have a lesson. Some of the books are great at sparking creativity. "If I Built a House" by Chris Van Dusen is one of these. The boy in the story is thinking about what kind of rooms he would build in his house. He starts off with rooms we're familiar with, like livingrooms with trampolines and ball pits. Or kitchens with robot arms to cook and cleanup. (Ok, that's my favorite!) But then the rooms start becoming more creative. A Flying Room, a Racetrack Room, a Fish Tank Room where you swim with the fishes. The kids love this.
After we read the book, it's fun to build our own rooms. I supply cardboard boxes and found objects, paper, glue, scissors. I keep a hot glue gun going in the corner of the room for some of the harder pieces.
Some kids enjoy making blueprints (the inside cover of the book is filled with great blueprints of imaginary houses).
Other kids go all out building their rooms. I like this one - it's got a football field, a basketball net, a GIANT flat screen TV and a rocket ship. It's also got a dinosaur museum, but you can't see it in this shot. A lot of work went into this room!
This one is great too! It's got a swimming pool and multiple slides. One slide goes right down into the swimming pool so you can swim with the fishes. It's also got another feature that took me a while to figure out. Do you see that googly eye in the swimming pool? Those were stuck on every side of the house, too. Can you guess what it is? A home monitoring system, so you could see what was going on all around the house. Love it!