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

 

DIY Instruments That Really Rock!

Let’s make some music! Music is a wonderful way for kids to express emotion, release energy, calm themselves – and so much more. Playing with beats and rhythms provides a fun, early introduction to patterns, division, and fractions. Plucking and strumming introduces the scientific concepts of vibration and amplification. Making music also enhances self-esteem, promotes discipline and practice, develops fine motor skills, and boosts short-term and long-term memory.

Sign you up, right? You just need one thing—an instrument. If you don’t have a piano or violin lying around, don’t worry! Follow the instructions below and we’ll show you how to make your own instruments with just a handful of rubber bands and objects from around the house.

What are we waiting for? Let’s rock!

For our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects – and if you enjoy this one, be sure to try the rest of our DIY Creativity Camp activities.

Rubber Band Rock

Materials:

  • Rubber bands – a mix of different kinds (lengths, widths)
  • Shoe boxes, Tupperware, paper cups, and other receptacles to amplify/resonate sound

How To:

  1. Choose your first “resonator” (box, cup, container)
  2. Stretch your rubber band(s) over your resonator.rubber_rockband1 rubber_rockband4 rubber_rockband2
  1. Give each rubber band a pluck. Listen for different notes. Stretch them tighter (or use thinner rubber bands) for higher pitch notes. Leave them looser (or use thicker rubber bands) for lower pitch notes.

    rubber_rockband3

  2. Start strummin’! Try different configurations of plucking to make different tunes.

There! You’re not just a music maker – now you’re part of the Maker Movement! And Makers share what they’ve made and how they’ve made it so others can give it a go. Please be sure to share YOUR wonderful creations by posting photos on our Facebook page. We also encourage you to build upon these projects and make them your own – change the materials, try a different construction, add something new – and share again!

Brain Building Benefits:

  • Encourages creativity and imagination
  • Introduces early math and science concepts
  • Enhances fine motor skills

Add Some Smoosh to Your Summer With… Marshmallow Math!

DIY Marshmellow

Slip some learning into your summer with marshmallow math! Your kids will love this tasty take on construction play and the benefits of construction play are nearly endless, including the introduction of basic science, math, architectural, and engineering principals and vocabulary.

So go ahead – try a tasty twist on traditional building with this fun—and edible!—construction activity. Using marshmallows and toothpicks, follow the step-by-step instructions below for a sweet summertime activity guarantee to keep those school skills sharp.

For our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects and don’t forget to post your results on Facebook. And if you enjoyed this activity, you’ll find other DIY Creativity Camp activities on our blog!

Snack-ometry

Materials:

  • A box of toothpicks (plain or colored)
  • A bag of mini marshmallows (white or multi-colored)

How To:

  1. Insert the toothpicks into the marshmallows to design your own, colorful creations. Practice making simple shapes first.
    Step 1 - Marshmellow Construction
  2. Once you’ve got the hang of it, try creating more complex shapes and structures.
    Marshmellow Construction 2
  3. Try breaking the toothpicks into different sizes.
    Marshmellow Construction 3

When you’re done – and before you start snacking – please be sure to share your edible constructions by posting photos on our Facebook page. We also encourage you to build upon these projects and make them your own – change the materials, try a different construction, add something new – and share again!

Brain Boosting Benefits:

  • Encourages creativity and imagination
  • Introduces simple engineering and architectural concepts
  • Introduces key geometric shapes and vocabulary

Bonus! If your kiddos loved constructing geometric shapes with this exercise, they’ll love the shape-shifting, cube-contorting challenge of RiddleCube™ the Game!