I can’t believe that it is December already! Even more than that, I can’t believe that it’s been a year since my first Monthly MakerSpace Moments post! December 2017 marks one school year that I have been posting my MakerSpace activities each month. Thank you to everyone who has visited and I hope your making has been a wonderful adventure! Here are some new ideas for this month, but be sure to check out my ideas from December 2016 as those are different activities for your MakerSpace.
Save the Gingerbread Man: I don’t know about your school, but here at White Eagle, our kindergartners go crazy over the Gingerbread Man. They read stories, make Gingerbread houses, go on scavenger hunts to find him, etc. The older grades quickly catch Gingerbread Fever as they recall their kindergarten adventures so it only makes sense that one activity in the MakerSpace would focus on this crafty little guy.
- Idea #1: My students love Magna-Tiles or any variation of them. For my library, I actually have a brand called Best Choice Products that I found at Walmart for half the price and still work great. With the Magna-Tiles I am challenging the students to save the Gingerbread Man by building him a house to hide in, boat to sail or bridge to cross to save him from the crafty fox. I can’t wait to see their creations. Click here for a direction sign you can use. I even put out little plastic Gingerbread Men to add to the fun.
- Idea #2: If you don’t have Magna-Tiles and no budget to do so, don’t fear. Put out those consumable items like Popsicle sticks, empty towel rolls, cardboard, straws, etc. and challenge your students to build/craft a house, boat or bridge to save the Gingerbread Man using these items.
- Idea #3: Smart Chick on Teachers Pay Teachers has a FREE Gingerbread Man activity you can download. The goal is to make a trap to catch the Gingerbread Man. Grab the free activity by clicking here.
Update: The kids LOVED using the MagnaTiles to create all kinds of things for the Gingerbread Men. They showed such an interest that I ended up doing this as a MakerSpace activity with each of my kindergarten classes.
Snowflake Challenge: This is an easy challenge and one that is pretty well known, but my students still love to do it! Simply put out some paper (I use “Be Nice, Use Me Twice”) and let the kids make paper snowflakes. You can then hang them throughout your library for fun. Here’s an easy set of directions if you’re not sure how to fold the paper.
If you want to take this activity to a higher level, you can challenge the students to design their snowflakes a certain way like some of these ideas:
- Design a snowflake with a heart in the middle.
- Design a snowflake with a diamond in the middle.
- Design a paper snowflake that looks like a real snowflake.
- Design a snowflake that is round on the outside.
Update: The kids seemed to enjoy making snowflakes, especially when with a friend or two, but a couple mentioned that they had made snowflakes before so it was “easy” for them. Something for me to think about.
Pattern Block Fun: Every month, I try to take out a MakerSpace item as a focus for the students to explore and create with. This month it’s Pattern Blocks. You can put them out for kids to create or explore, but you can also guide them with Pattern Block Challenge Cards or pages. There are plenty of resources on Teachers Pay Teachers that you can use for a small price, but there are also free resources I found. Here are just a few:
- Pattern Block Mats from Prekinders Blog.
- Jessica’s Corner of Cyberspace has all kinds of mats organized by type/theme.
- Confessions of a Homeschooler has letters of the alphabet mats and pattern cards.
Keva Bot Maze: I don’t have a huge budget for my library, but I do try to find new products once in a while that I think the students in my library will like. The important thing to keep in mind when buying items for your MakerSpace is to always think about your students. Ask yourself what do they like to do, what are the items in your MakerSpace they really like, what are their interests and then use those to guide you. My students really love building and creating things in the MakerSpace, but also like the various devices I have like BeeBots and Dash. When I saw the Keva Bot Maze (Target, Amazon, Mindware) I thought this might be a great way to combine the two.
The Keva Bot Maze has students using Keva Blocks and plastic connector pieces to create mazes that little “bots” go through. The kit comes with pieces that you (or your students) can use to make various obstacles for the bots to add to the maze. I am really looking forward to seeing what my students create.
Update: The students LOVED these! They had just as much fun making the mazes as they did watching the bots go through them. It was so fun to hear their conversations about strategy and adjusting their mazes to help the bots win.
I hope these ideas help inspire both you and your students. See you next month!