DIY Spring Fridays are all about inventing, and for the month of April, we used The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires to learn about the tricks – and trials – of being an inventor.
In the book, the regular girl has a plan. She hires an assistant, gathers supplies, and gets to work. When it doesn’t come out right she gets frustrated.
Preschoolers can relate to that!
But the world needs inventors, and today, more than ever, we need creative problem-solvers who can see something magical in the materials available. We need to use what we already have.
The kids don’t know it yet, but I do have a plan for our sessions. This season, I want to make a ball drop. I want to mount it on the wall outside my office, and I want it to be… MAGNIFICENT.
Before we get to that, I need to help them… see.
Henry Ford, inventor of the automobile, once said:
If we’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses”…
Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant Mr. Watson – to whom the first tele-phone message, to “come here, please” was delivered in 1876 – had the same mindset. He was amazed that four telegraph messages could pass along one line.
Bell, on the other hand, saw an avenue for something different. Something magnificent – and his ideas have evolved into devices of all shapes and sizes, that most people count among their everyday essentials. You have your phone, right?
Inventors are outside-the-box thinkers who believe in more than one answer to every question. Just like preschoolers! As we age, we start to believe that the world is only as it seems, but that’s where team-work, brain-storming, and anything-goes-art can shake things up.
What if you wanted to make a city where fighting fires was safer? What could you invent? How would it look?
As the sun shines down on DIY Spring, there are so many opportunities to get outside, and while Sarah laughs at my alley-walk fieldtrips, and treks down to the construction site Re-Store in South Vancouver, those are the perfect places to find materials for our Magnificent things.
The trick is to see the potential in everything. Keep an open mind!
Just like preschoolers!
The season continues through May and June, and our ball drop pieces are coming together. We’re still in the material gathering stage, but by the end, you will be amazed! … hopefully…
Invent! is our Friday Big Kids Club class, every week from 1 – 4pm. Join us!
In a world of mystery, and magic, science, and sensations, for young children who are still learning about the forces and rules, it can seem like anything is possible.
A box could be a replicator, obviously, but it could be a castle, or a robot, or a special tool for cleaning up the daycare. (That’s my favourite!)
Some of the world’s most practical inventions were dreamt up by children – including the popsicle and the earmuff – and this season, I’m hoping to engage that power of limitless imagination, and put it to work solving one of the world’s biggest problems: namely, what to do with all the things we already have. (Have you seen The Story of Stuff…?)
While these little cuties give me the warm feelies, Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling is becoming a mantra without meaning. Reduce what? Reuse how? Recycle…? Everything? Is that possible? Isn’t everything possible??
For the DIY Spring season, we’re putting it to the test.
As you may have noticed, my classes tend toward the broader topics of world citizenship, and luckily for me, I’m not even close to the first person to consider children’s role in our future. There are dozens of books about this topic, and in all of them, the idea that holds the most magic is the simplest: things are not only what they seem, they are also whatever you imagine them to be.
We’ll be looking at:
We’ll be exploring electricity, and generating light from lemons, carrying sound down the line, a la Alexander Graham Bell, and for the season finale, we’re going to collect, collaborate, and create a class project that keeps everyone’s imaginations, attention, and hands busy!
Common people think you can’t schedule a Eureka moment, but creatives know the trick: keep your eyes open, and your childish sense of wonder strong.
By teaching children to see beyond what is there, to what is possible, I plan to engage their inventive nature – to save the world.
invent! goes down Fridays, from 1 – 4pm.