January 2019

Happy 2019!  I hope everyone is ready for a new year of making and exploring.  Let’s get started!

Make Your Own Straw Firecracker:  To celebrate the New Year, this is a fun and easy craft kids can make.  It is low supply and low cost which is a frugal way to start the new year for sure!  This idea comes from two straw rockets ideas I got from Simple Play Ideas and Fantastic, Fun and Learning.  I took the two and merged them into my own creation.  Click here to download my instructions.

  1. Take a piece of tape about 2.5 inches long.
  2. Cut 6 pieces of ribbon about 8 inches long.
  3. Tape the “firework” string decorations to the edge of the tape.
    Straw rockets 1
  4. Roll the tape with the ribbon around the end of a straw.
    Straw rockets 2
  5. Roll the straw in your hand and watch the fireworks fly!


Make a Winter Optical Illusion:  The blog Red Ted Art has so many easy and fun craft ideas for kids.  My students love optical illusions.  We make Jack-O-Lanterns in October one year and they thought it was just the coolest thing they way two pictures could morph into one.  So, I decided to continue that project with some winter themes.  For the Red Ted Art creation, click here.  I adapted it a bit, by putting my optical illusions on the ends of straw that students could roll in their hands and use as bookmarks… double fun!.  You can download my direction sheet here.

  1. Take 2 pieces of paper. One with a design or a make your own design and the other with a blank snow globe.  (The Red Ted Art website has all these to download.)
  2. Color and cut your circles.

Winter Optical 1

  1. Put your design circle upside down on the table.

Winter Optical 2

  1. Tape the end of the straw on the piece of paper on the table.
  2. Glue your snow globe circle onto the design circle. Make sure it is the same direction as your design circle.
    Winter Optical 3
  1. Roll the straw in between your hands to see the snow globe with your image magically become one image!


Chinese New Year Pattern Block Challenge Cards:  I had these out in December, but decided to keep them out in January as the Chinese New Year actually occurs on Feb. 5th this year.

If you do not follow Malia and her Playdough to Plato blog, you simply must!  She has so many wonderful ideas not just for MakerSpace, but lower elementary teachers in general.  True, most of her things are on Tpt, but she has some that are not and just reading her blog will give you ideas and inspiration.  This month, I found her Holidays Around the World STEM Pack and for $5 you get everything you could possibly need for 8 different activities which is a pretty good deal.  I was lucky enough to get it 25% off during her holiday sale, so keep your eye out for deals from her.

Although there are 8 activities, the one I thought would be best for my leave it and do it kind of MakerSpace was the Chinese New Year pattern block challenge card.  I simply printed out the cards, laminated them and left them out with a sign, blocks and rulers.  Simply, yet so fun!

pattern blocks        Holidays Around the World STEM Challenges






Click-n-Create Cubes:  I used some of my Scholastic Dollars from my book fairs to purchase a crate of Click-n-Create cubes.  The set includes “600 colorful cubes that link together to create fantastic shapes and figures. The simple design allows for open-ended construction that stimulates creativity and helps develop fine motor skills.”  When I saw them, my mind when to Minecraft and it’s block world.  The kids thought the same thing.  As soon as I showed them how they click together a student announced, “I’m going to make a Minecraft World!”  Let the creating begin!

click createclick create2