Meet Nancy B at Creative Kidstuff!

Meet Nancy B

Hey Minnesotans! Join Nancy Balter, founder of Nancy B’s Science Club™, as she performs some super-cool science experiments at Creative Kidstuff stores around the land of 10,000 lakes!

Find Nancy at the following locations: (appearances are scheduled for one hour)

  • 7/30 Creative Kidstuff in St. Paul store at 10:00 AM.
    1074 Grand Ave.
    Saint Paul, MN 55105
  • 7/30 Creative Kidstuff at Mall of America at 1:00 PM.
    166 South Avenue
    Bloomington, MN 55425
  • 7/31 Creative Kidsuff Minneapolis Store at 10:00 AM
    4313 Upton Ave. S.
    Minneapolis, MN 55410.
  • 7/31 Creative Kidstuff Galleria Mall at 1:00 PM.
    3555 69th St.
    Edina, MN 55435

A scientist and a mom, Nancy Balter is passionate about sharing her love of science with children around the world. With degrees from Yale and USC in biology and science education, respectively, and two young children of her own, Nancy is captivated by the natural curiosity of children young and old(er). Nancy B’s Science Club™, her namesake brand featuring scientific tools and activities that encourage young girls to explore and pursue the sciences, launched to critical acclaim in 2013.

Can’t make it to her demonstrations? Bring the fun home with 25% off of all Nancy B’s Science Club™ products during our Get Smart Sale (sale ends 7/31).

For more details about store hours and exact location, please visit Creative Kidstuff.

Ready? Set. Imagine! Easy ways to encourage imagination and creative thinking.

Let's Make Believe Imagination comes naturally to kids and there’s a reason. Child development experts agree that imagination is key in helping kids understand the world around them as well as process things they aren’t able to experience first-hand, like Ancient Egyptian civilization or the eating habits of dinosaurs. Nurturing imagination is developmentally important and crucial for cultivating creative thinking. For some fun – and easy – ways to encourage your child’s imagination on a daily basis, give these tips a try.

Talk!

  • Tell YOUR story. Share stories from your own childhood, or your parents’ – and be descriptive! You’re passing down family history and wisdom; your child is stretching his or her imagination by picturing you as a child, your childhood home, and the rest of the scene you’re setting.
  • Make believe. Choose a person in a store, painting, or magazine ad and ask your child to tell you a story about that person. Where did he come from? What’s his job? Favorite food? Hobby? Pet?
  • Pass It On. Start a story, then “pass it on” to your child. Once they’ve added to the story, take it back and add a bit more. Continue until the tale is told!
  • Imagine that…Ask your child to imagine unbelievable scenarios and share his/her thoughts. Imagine that you’re the size of an ant. Imagine that you’re the only person on Earth. Imagine that you live underwater.

Dino - Talk

Create!

  • Make a collage. Cut out pictures from magazines or newspaper ads – people, pets, body parts, cars, nature, etc. Give the pile to your child, along with a sheet of paper and a glue stick, and let his or her imagination run wild.
  • Build a fairy house. Collect natural items like pine cones, acorns, cotton fluff, and seed pods. Then find a cozy corner of your yard and build a fairy house using your finds as furniture. An acorn cap makes a great bathroom sink!
  • Doodle an abstract shape on a sheet of paper and ask your child to turn it into something – and tell you a story about it, of course!
  • Get cloudy. Does the shape of a cloud above remind your child of anything? What does it look like? What could it be? What is it turning into as the wind blows?

Fairy Garden

Play

  • Role play is a child’s way of exploring his place in the world. Pretend to be a baker, doctor, business person, or vet. Stuffed animals, dolls, and action figures make great supporting characters.
  • Collect an assortment of random household objects like a toilet paper tube, ruler, and empty box and watch your child repurpose them for pretend play. Drive a toy car through the toilet paper tube tunnel and across the ruler bridge, balanced on two piles of books (of course).
  • Put on a puppet show! Whether you use a hand puppet, sock puppet, paper bag puppet, or Puppet-on-a-Stick™, puppet shows are a great way to encourage imagination. You might have to direct the script at the start, but you’ll be amazed at where your child takes the plot.
  • Take it outside. Head out back and cultivate a pretend garden – plant rocks as seeds and sticks as markers. What will you grow? Who will eat your crops?

Puppet Show

Just Beat It! Drum Your Way to Math Success With Our Maker Project

Nothing beats this Maker activity for sheer fun, total creativity, and yes, it’s true, math practice! Believe it or not, exploring different beats and rhythms is a fun way to introduce patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions – and what kid doesn’t love to bang and pound? Follow the instructions and mix and match the materials suggested below to create an amazing array of percussion instruments and mix and match different drum bases, skins, sticks, and (optional) fillers and explore the different sounds each combination makes.

For our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects!). And if you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out the rest of our DIY Creativity Camp activity blog posts and don’t forget to share photos of the things you’ve made on Facebook.

One-Man Band DIY KitDownload PDF:  One-Kid Band Percussion kit steps

One-Kid Band Percussion Kit

Materials:

  • Cardboard tube (toilet paper)
  • Packing tape
  • Chopstick, pen, or other “drumstick”

How To:

STEP 1 – PACKING TAPE

  •  Stretch a piece of packing tape across one half of the top of your cardboard drum.

STEP 2 – MORE PACKING TAPE

  •  Stretch another piece of packing tape across the other half of the top of your cardboard drum.

STEP 3 – EVEN MORE PACKING TAPE

  •  Stretch a third piece of packing tape across the middle of the top of your cardboard drum so that the opening is completely covered with tape.

STEP 4 – TEST YOUR SOUND

  •  Use your drumstick to tap the top of your drum and make sure there are no holes in your “drum head.”

STEP 5 – A BIT MORE TAPE

  •  Wrap a final bit of tape around the edge of your tube to secure your drum head.

STEP 6 – MAKE MORE DRUMS

  •  Repeat steps 1-5 to make several more drums, set up your drum kit, grab your sticks, and bang away!

 Alternative Materials:

    Drum Base Materials:
    • Metal coffee cans
    • Tupperware
    • Plastic cups
    • Pots
    Drum Skins Materials:

      • Packing tape
    Drum Sticks:

      • Chopsticks
      • Mixing spoons
    (Optional) Drum Fillers:

      • Beans
      • Rice
      • Bolts
      • Paperclips

 Brain Boosting Benefits:

    • Encourages imagination and creativity
    • Enhances fine motor skills
    • Introduction to beats and patterns, a key early math skill

If your mini maestro can’t get enough of music making, check out our Rainbow Jam™—kids can compose unique tunes simply by touching RainbowJam to different colors!

So… what’d’ya make? How did it turn out? Is there anything you’d like to do differently or other materials you might like to try? Remember, Maker is a state of mind – anything you see, you can make – your way!

Losing Your Marbles? Try This Maker Project for Mini Engineers!

Ramp up the creativity with Marble Mania! This fabulous, out-of-the-box, brain-boosting, activity is perfect for filling a lazy afternoon out of the summer sun and kids who enjoy building with Legos and blocks will love creating their own marble runs. This unique twist on traditional building reaps the same benefits as construction play – developing fine motor skills, introducing early math, science, engineering, and architectural principals and vocabulary, encouraging team work, and much more.

So let’s get rolling! Follow the step-by-step instructions to create your very own marble run. Don’t forget to share photos and videos on our Facebook page and if you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out the rest of our DIY Creativity Camp activities on the EI blog. And for our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects!

Marble Mania

Materials:

  • 10 Sheets of construction paper
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape or heavy-duty masking tape
  • A cardboard box measuring approximately 12” x 12” x 9” (the box can be larger but then you’ll need to make more tracks)
  • Marbles

How To:

  1. Fold a single sheet of construction paper in half, lengthwise.Step 1
  2. Fold folded construction paper lengthwise again.
    Step 2
  1. Staple the folded edge four times, evenly spacing the staples.
    Step 3
  1. Fold one side upwards, to make a wall.
    Step 4
  2. Fold the other side so that the paper forms a “U” shape.
    Step 5
  3. Follow steps 1-5 to make 5-8 additional marble runs.
  1. Arrange your tracks around a medium sized box (the one pictured below is 12” tall, not including the top panels). Begin by taping the first track at a 45 degree angle, as shown below.
    Step 7
  2. Make a 90 turn with two tracks by wrapping them around the box. Just cut a small notch in the tracks and put two tracks together using the notches, as shown below:
    Step 8
    Tape the outside of the angle so the wall edge is firm (this will keep the marble from rolling out when it goes around the turn). Test your turns to see if the marble rolls down or falls out. See video of the first section being tested with a marble.
  1. Continue attaching the runs to the box, experimenting with different angles. You’ll notice that the steeper the angle, the faster the marble goes, but don’t make your tracks too steep or the marble might jump the track.
    Step 9

And Then?

Launch your marbles and watch them fly!

Brain Boosting Benefits:

  • Encourages imagination and creativity
  • Enhances fine motor skills
  • Introduces simple engineering

 

Ultra-Creative Project Ideas Your Kids Can “Maker” Themselves! Just Gelin’ – An Edible Art Activity!

Take a break from the summer heat and get creative with an art activity you can eat! Kids love creating custom designs out of Gelatin shapes and you’ll love the brain-boosting benefits of this out-of-the-box project, including inspiring creativity and imagination, building fine motor skills, introducing key early math concepts and vocabulary, and more.

Patterning is a basic early math skill and lays the foundation for learning the building blocks of addition, times tables, and skip counting (counting by 2’x, 5’s, 10’s etc). A pattern is really only a pattern when it repeats at least twice. Follow the instructions below and encourage your child to pattern the colors and shapes – try an AB, AB pattern, then ABC, ABC, then ABAB, and so on. Then let your kiddo get creative, designing their own abstract shapes or creating recognizable objects like houses and cars, using the mosaic shapes you’ve cut out of gelatin!

Let’s get started! Follow the instructions below, using the materials below, and be sure to post a photo of your fantastic creations on our Facebook page. And, if you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out the rest of our DIY Creativity Camp activity blog posts!

(For our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects!)

Jello Gelatin Art

Download PDF: Picture Perfect Gelatin Art Steps

Just Gelin’: Picture Perfect Gelatin Art!

Materials:

  • 5 pouches (1 oz each) of clear gelatin
  • 3 small boxes (3 oz each) of flavored gelatin (my daughter chose red, orange and blue)
  • 1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
  • Water
  • Plastic wrap
  • 3 Containers/pans for your flavored gelatin (4″ x 4″ or bigger)
  • 1 Large container/pan for mosaic making
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups

How To:

STEP 1: MIX GELATIN AND LET SET

Jello Art - Step 1Jello Art - Step 1

Line your containers with plastic wrap so you can easily remove the gelatin.

Mix one pouch of clear gelatin with 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl. Stir until dissolved. Then add one box of colored gelatin to this mixture, stir until dissolved, and pour into one of your containers. (Note we recommend less water than stated on the gelatin package so the gelatin blocks are firmer and easier to work with.)

Repeat step two for the other two colors. Refrigerate all three containers for at least three hours.

STEP 2: CUT GELATIN INTO TILES

Jello-Art-step2bJello-Art-step2

Remove all colors from the fridge, remove the gelatin from the containers, and cut each color into 1” x 1” square tiles, about .5 thick.

Return cut cubes to their containers and put them back in the fridge.

STEP 3: MAKE MILK GELATIN 

Jello-Art-step3In a mixing bowl, mix two pouches of clear gelatin with 1/2 cup of cold water.  Let this sit and thicken for a few minutes.  Add 1.5 cups of boiling water to this and stir until dissolved. Then add the can of condensed milk and stir until smooth.

Pour a thin layer of this milk gelatin (no more than 1/4″ thick) into your large pan, place in the fridge, and let chill a few minutes – until it thickens up a bit. Leave the rest of the milk gelatin to cool on the counter top – do not put this batch in the fridge.STEP 4: CREATE YOUR ART

STEP 4: CREATE YOUR GELATIN MASTERPIECE

Jello-Art-step4When the milk gelatin has thickened a bit, remove it, and your cut, colored squares, from the fridge and place it on the counter or table where you’ll be working. Then use the colored tiles to create patterns, designs, or pictures by placing them directly into the milk gelatin pan. When you’re done, return the milk gelatin to the fridge for a few minutes.

Tip! Try cutting your tiles into different shapes to help with your designs, like the blue and orange below:

 

STEP 5: SPOON MILK GELATIN BETWEEN TILES

Take the pan out of the fridge and carefully spoon some of the extra milk gelatin left in the container on the counter to fill the spaces between the gelatin tiles.

Jello-Art-step5

STEP 6: VOILA

Refrigerate until set and “Voila!” Picture Perfect Jello Art!

Jello-Art-step6Jello-Art-step6B

Brain Boosting Benefits:

  • Encourages imagination and creativity
  • Enhances fine motor skills
  • Introduces basic geometric shapes and vocabulary
  • Introduces patterning, a basic early math skill