How to make butter at home!

This is fun activity to do with the kids that requires no electricity or fancy gadgets – just a little patience!

Ingredients

  • Cream
  • Glass jar with lid

In New Zealand, you just need standard supermarket cream; in countries where cream is differentiated by milkfat, you want heavy cream.

Optional: You can add extras to your butter once it is made. Consider: salt; honey; a garlic herb mix; brown sugar and cinnamon; finely chopped lavender petals and honey.

Directions

  1. Half full your glass jar with cream and put on the lid (tightly).
  2. Start shaking!
  3. Phase 1 – you’ll hear a sloshing sound as the cream moves around. Phase 2 – silence…you have whipped cream thickly coating the glass. Phase 3 – the glass begins to clear and the sloshing sound begins to return. Phase 4 – you clearly have a ball of butter in the middle sitting in thin white liquid (buttermilk).
    • Note: the timing for this is impacted by the weather! This activity is made more difficult by very hot and by very cold weather.
  4. Pop the jar in the fridge for an hour or so to set.
  5. Drain the buttermilk (you can drink or use it for cooking).
  6. Pour cool water in the jar and give it a shake. You will need to wash the butter several times until the water remains clear. This helps to remove the buttermilk and casein traces that will otherwise go rancid.
  7. Tip the butter onto a dish (or bowl) and press with the back of a wooden spoon (or even a metal fork). This will help to bring out the water which needs to be drained off.
  8. Now your butter is ready to have any desired salt or flavours added.
  9. Butter will keep best in the fridge (wrapped or sealed).

How to make a Black-Figure Greek Vase: Classics for Kids

We made this as part of our Discover Greece unit 🙂 Ancient Greek black-figure vases are both beautiful and they help to provide insight into the culture, mythology, iconography, and daily activities of the time. You can read details of the artistry process here or here.

This black-figure pottery activity for kids is a simplified version that can be done with just a few cheap materials!

Materials

  • Small terracotta pot (i.e. from a garden store)
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Black permanent marker (fine tip)
  • Red crayon
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Rubber bands
  • Something to scratch with (like a dull nail or a metal crochet hook)

Directions

  1. If your terracotta pot doesn’t have a natural lip, use rubber bands to create top and bottom strips. Colour these strips in with a red crayon.
  2. Lightly water a small amount of black acrylic paint into a smooth paste. Paint this over the crayon (the rubber bands should help to keep the paint neatly in line). Allow to dry.
  3. Look at photos of Greek vases online and think about what story you want to tell. Will you draw figures? animals? daily life? a mythic adventure? Begin by drawing with pencil in the untouched inner band of pottery. Make adjustments as you go. When you are happy with your work, trace the outlines with black permanent marker and then colour them in as solid shapes.
  4. Choose a Greek geometric pattern to scratch into the painted top band of your project. Use a metal tool (like a dull nail) to carefully scratch away the paint – revealing the red crayon beneath.
  5. Display your art work!

Discover Greece – A KiwiCo Review: Atlas Crate for 6-11 Year Olds (Deluxe Box)

What is in the Greece crate?

You begin by opening your travel mail from Milo and Anya to find out about their latest travel adventures! Miss 6 enjoys seeing all the photos in Greece.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Greece to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: some Greek words; learn about the Olympics, learn about black figure pottery, and the Acropolis of Athens.

We ordered books separately and read two of Hugh Lupton’s adaptations for children: The Adventures of Odysseus and Greek Myths: Three Heroic Tales.

More learning ideas include: Greek Tragedies; Plato; the Greek Alphabet; the Trojan War. Check out: How to make a Black-figure Greek vase!

Making a Trojan Horse

We loved making this craft and it has been very well used in mock battles. We also enjoyed reading about the Trojan War – from the silly (The Boy who called Horse by Terry Deary) to the serious (British Museum: The Legend of Troy by Goldie Hawk).

Making Santorini landscape

This is a lovely craft that features both suggestions and plenty of room for open-ended creativity. Using the collage materials provided, you make a spinnable Santorini island that can move between day and sunset.

HOW DO I ORDER ATLAS CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Atlas Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Atlas Crate kits is that they provide a colourful and imaginative way of exploring the world through hands-on activities. I like that they use a mix of STEM and art to explore different concepts and ideas. Their products are also very well made, with clear instructions, and kids feel a real sense of pride in what they accomplish with each box.

There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Other families will choose to sign up for a longer period (like a 3, 6, or 12 month cycle).

WHAT IS IN AN ATLAS CRATE?

Each Atlas Crate comes with a special airmail envelope from Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper revealing where they’ve been on their latest adventure. There is a special passport sticker for your child’s Atlas Adventure Book plus seven new pages to add about a new country (highlighting geography, customs, landmarks, history, and foods).

There are supplies for two activities (which might be a mix of art, STEM, and games) as well as suggestions for more DIY activities to try at home – from things to make, to things to bake!

If you choose the Deluxe option, then you will also receive a book that helps you explore that month’s destination. This upgrade is an additional USD$9.95 (approx. $15 NZD) and can impact shipping costs as well. Since we’re homeschooling, I decided that we’d try the Deluxe option for 6 months to see how useful we find it.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

#7 The Science of Tension

#8 All about Surface Tension

#9 Learn about Stars and Constellations

Discover Guatemala – A KiwiCo Review: Atlas Crate for 6-11 Year Olds (Deluxe Box)

What is in the Guatemala crate?

You begin by opening your travel mail from Milo and Anya to find out about their latest travel adventures! Miss 6 enjoys seeing all the photos in Guatemala.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Guatemala to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: some Spanish greetings and phrases; learn about the Quetzal as both a currency and the national bird, learn about Chichicastenango – one of the most beautifully colourful cemeteries in the world, and the turtles of Monterrico. We did a small study unit on turtles at the same time as learning about Guatemala 🙂

We ordered a book separately and chose Abuela’s Weave by Omar S. Castañeda. We also had a go at weaving on a mini loom that we were given.

Making a wooden spinning top

Our first craft was making a wooden spinning top with launcher. Trompos are popular in both Guatemala and Mexico and are launched from a standing position (check out this video); Atlas Crate make their’s easier for beginners by including a launcher.

Making a worry doll

These are inspired by Guatemalan Muñeca quitapena. Legend has it that a Mayan princess named Ixmucane received a special gift from the sun god of wisdom to solve any problems that worried humans. Children whisper their worries to the dolls and place them under their pillows at night; the dolls will hold their worries for them and hopefully the children will have a peaceful night’s sleep – waking with new insight and solutions for their concerns.

HOW DO I ORDER ATLAS CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Atlas Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Atlas Crate kits is that they provide a colourful and imaginative way of exploring the world through hands-on activities. I like that they use a mix of STEM and art to explore different concepts and ideas. Their products are also very well made, with clear instructions, and kids feel a real sense of pride in what they accomplish with each box.

There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Other families will choose to sign up for a longer period (like a 3, 6, or 12 month cycle).

WHAT IS IN AN ATLAS CRATE?

Each Atlas Crate comes with a special airmail envelope from Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper revealing where they’ve been on their latest adventure. There is a special passport sticker for your child’s Atlas Adventure Book plus seven new pages to add about a new country (highlighting geography, customs, landmarks, history, and foods).

There are supplies for two activities (which might be a mix of art, STEM, and games) as well as suggestions for more DIY activities to try at home – from things to make, to things to bake!

If you choose the Deluxe option, then you will also receive a book that helps you explore that month’s destination. This upgrade is an additional USD$9.95 (approx. $15 NZD) and can impact shipping costs as well. Since we’re homeschooling, I decided that we’d try the Deluxe option for 6 months to see how useful we find it.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

#7 The Science of Tension

#8 All about Surface Tension

#9 Learn about Stars and Constellations

Discover Nepal – A KiwiCo Review: Atlas Crate for 6-11 Year Olds (Deluxe Box)

What is in the Nepal crate?

You begin by opening your travel mail from Milo and Anya to find out about their latest travel adventures! Miss 6 enjoys seeing all the photos in Nepal.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Nepal to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: some Nepali greetings and phrases; about the Nepalese flag (unique in the world for it’s double triangle design); about snow leopards – the ‘ghosts of the mountains‘; about Nepalese culture, food, and festivals; about Lung Ta “Wind-Horse” prayer flags which are commonly seen in both Nepal and Tibet; and about Mt Everest.

Our Deluxe Box Book was “Chandra’s Magic Light: A Story in Nepal“. As well as the story providing a glimpse into rural life in Nepal’s mountain villages, the book also contains seven pages of information about Nepal and instructions for making a solar-powered oven. For further reflections on using a lantern (rather than electricity), we spent some time with our night lantern that we built with our KiwiCo Stars and Constellation’s crate. Although the book was interesting, my concern was that the tone feels Colonial given that the story highlights the lack of electricity in Nepal’s mountainous countryside. In many ways, I prefer ‘Namaste!’ by Diana Cohn which uplifts Sherpa culture in its text.

Playing Bagh Chal

We love getting boardgames with our Atlas Crate! We really enjoyed playing Fanorona from Madagascar and were delighted to receive Bagh Chal with our Nepal box. Bagh means tiger and chal means move; the objective of the tigers is to eat the goats vs the goats who desire to work together and block the tigers from moving.

Making a fluffy yak and mountain zipline

We love our fluffy yak! Yak’s can have many uses in Nepal. Their hair can be woven to create clothes and blankets; their milk can be used to make butter and cheese; their dung can be used to fertilize crops or dried to create a fuel; they are also used to transport goods along mountain trails on the lower slopes of the Himalayas. Additionally, we got to put our knowledge on the Science of Tension to work by building a simple pulley and zipline capable of transporting our yak from floor to mountain.  The instructions suggest affixing the mountain to a door handle but you can quite happily experiment – we prefer a bookshelf or the upper storey of the dolhouse. We’ve also discovered that our ‘lift’ is compatible with other passengers – such as Playmobil figures; if you want to help them feel extra secure, simply add an elastic band to the struts on top.

Learning about Mt Everest

Mt Everest is of special interest to us as Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, and Tenzig Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, made international history on 29 May 1953 by being the first known to reach the summit of Mt Everest. Some of the short videos that we enjoyed included: How to prepare and climb Mt Everest; Twinkl’s facts about Mt Everest in song; finding out why Mt Everest is so tall; learning more about Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay. Looking for a short introduction to Sir Edmund Hillary? Try Twinkl’s powerpoint  and follow it up by planning what to pack in your own explorer’s backpack. We also learned detailed information about both Hillary and Norgay in the beautifully illustrated “Everest – The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.”

HOW DO I ORDER ATLAS CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Atlas Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Atlas Crate kits is that they provide a colourful and imaginative way of exploring the world through hands-on activities. I like that they use a mix of STEM and art to explore different concepts and ideas. Their products are also very well made, with clear instructions, and kids feel a real sense of pride in what they accomplish with each box.

There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Other families will choose to sign up for a longer period (like a 3, 6, or 12 month cycle).

WHAT IS IN AN ATLAS CRATE?

Each Atlas Crate comes with a special airmail envelope from Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper revealing where they’ve been on their latest adventure. There is a special passport sticker for your child’s Atlas Adventure Book plus seven new pages to add about a new country (highlighting geography, customs, landmarks, history, and foods).

There are supplies for two activities (which might be a mix of art, STEM, and games) as well as suggestions for more DIY activities to try at home – from things to make, to things to bake!

If you choose the Deluxe option, then you will also receive a book that helps you explore that month’s destination. This upgrade is an additional USD$9.95 (approx. $15 NZD) and can impact shipping costs as well. Since we’re homeschooling, I decided that we’d try the Deluxe option for 6 months to see how useful we find it.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

#7 The Science of Tension

#8 All about Surface Tension

#9 Learn about Stars and Constellations

KiwiCo Review: Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds – Learn about the Night Sky (Stars + Constellations!)

WHAT IS IN THE NIGHT SKY BOX?

This box encourages children to explore the night sky using both science and their imaginations. They learn about the science of stars (and build a solar spinner) and how to imagine a night sky full of stories (drawing dot-to-dot constellations and making a constellation lantern). There are also instructions on how to turn your Kiwi Crate into a solar oven – which we have successfully done 🙂

Kiwi Crate’s Night Sky box comes with materials for two crafts:

BUILD A SOLAR SPINNER

The Solar Spinner lets you build a mechanical model to demonstrate the way the Earth moves around the sun, and the Moon moves around the Earth. It’s also a useful model to use for discussing the changing phases of the moon.

MAKE YOUR OWN CONSTELLATION LANTERN

This easy to build lantern lets you copy (or design your own) star constellations using star stickers over lantern paper. The candle provided is battery powered and has a flickering effect for added cosiness!

Want more ideas for learning about stars and constellations?

We love the book Space Atlas by Tom Jackson and it forms part of our homeschool library.

You could download a free Exploring the Night Sky activity pack from Twinkl which includes learning about moon phases, making a solar system mobile, and finding out more about constellations. They also have star spotting constellation checklists for both the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.

Learn more about why the moon appears to change with a child friendly video (@ SciShow Kids) or diagram (@NatGeo Kids) about moon phases. You can also experiment with moon phases at home with just a few simple materials.

Try making a solar oven and cooking s’mores or melting cheese on corn chips.

HOW DO I ORDER KIWI CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Kiwi Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Kiwi Crate kits is that they use a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to explore a concept or idea. There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Mind you, this only works if you spot the package on the door-step first – children become quite adept at recognising the green Kiwi Crate box and screaming with delight at it’s arrival!

The boxes are sent randomly so there’s no way to know what will come in the future; however, you can log-in to your account at the start of each month to see what box has been selected. Your box history is kept which means that even if you cancel and then pick-up again the following year they can make sure that you aren’t sent repeats of boxes.

WHAT IS IN A KIWI CRATE?

The Kiwi Crate is aimed at ages 5-8 years. It comes with a copy of the Explore magazine which opens with a fun comic about Steve the Kiwi and his friends. [As a side note, these are made by an American company despite the use of our New Zealand native bird]. These comics are really approachable for younger kids and a great way of exploring the concepts being introduced in a relateable manner.

The Explore magazine provides a range of information on the topic, it might include some simple games or tricks to try at home, and provide ideas for additional crafts / activities using simple materials. It also has a sticker [unique to each box theme] to put on your Kiwi Crate chart.

The box also includes an instruction manual and the materials that you need to build the main craft. Generally, there are two activities to do – one that is more art related, and one that is more mechanical engineering. What makes the kits special, is how well crafted the engineering components are. They really are designed for the intended age group so that they can either build themselves or help assist an adult. There are handy visual images and checkpoints to make sure that things are aligned correctly. There is no super-bonding-fingers-together wood glue to use with these projects (which makes them great for highly sensory children); instead parts come with double sided tape finely engineered on so that you just need to remove the backing strip of paper.

INTERESTED IN MORE HOMESCHOOL BOX REVIEWS?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body (learn about biology)

#7 The Science of Tension (make push and pull toys)

#8 Learn about Surface Tension (experiment with water)

KiwiCo Review: Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds – Learn about Surface Tension

WHAT IS IN THE SURFACE TENSION BOX?

We recently learned about force and tension in the Kiwi Crate Push and Pull box. This time we learn about a different type of tension – surface tension! Ever wonder why water soaks into some materials but pools on top of others? Well, water droplets are pretty sticky and they most like to stick to each other – especially on a surface like wax paper that is water resistant. That ‘stickiness’ is also at it’s strongest on the surface – which is why insects like water striders can delicately move across it.

Kiwi Crate’s Surface Tension box comes with materials for four experiments:

BUILD A BLOB

Liquid watercolours in primary colours are provided along with water resistant wax paper and a stirring stick. When you squeeze the watercolours onto the wax paper, instead of dissolving into the paper – they sit on top and make blobs! You can make small blobs, big blobs, and baby blobs. You can move blobs by herding them with your stick. You can merge blobs and watch the colours change to orange, green, purple, or ‘muddy mix’. The fun science magazine comes with kid friendly infographics to explain why when you drag one water droplet, its friends want to stick together and come along.

MAKE A WATER MAZE

This activity reminded me a little of wooden mazes and steel ball bearings that we played with as kids – twisting, turning, and tilting, to try and guide the ball to the centre of the maze. This brings a whole new level to the game while teaching us about science. The maze that you build combines water absorbent walls with a water resistant floor. It is a fun challenge and the secret is definitely patience (and slow movements!).

MAKE A WATER ELEVATOR

So, when we were learning about (cable) tension, we built a toy elevator. This time, we’re kind of making an elevator for water and it works because of that principle of water being ‘sticky’. Cool Science Experiments have a great visual demonstration; KiwiCo simplify things by providing a kid friendly kit. We have tested this with friends and it’s a ‘magic trick’ that does not fail to entertain and amaze! It is important that you remember to soak the yarn (water follows water) and that you keep a careful eye on tension + pour speed. Have some towels handy just in case you need to mop up spills.

MAKE YOUR OWN WATER STRIDER

I shared a video at the start of the post about water striders – excitingly, you get to make your own! You get a bunch of wires that you can crimp and then use to make a water strider. You can also experiment with making shapes to float on the top of the water. What gets a bit tricky, is that your insect’s legs and feet need to be balanced on the surface; if the angles are not quite right then they will pierce the surface tension and potentially drag part of your insect under the water. If you’re struggling a big with the water strider, try using the dipper to gently place a needle or paper clip on the surface.

Want more ideas for learning about surface tension?

Did you know that soap impacts surface tension? You could explore this with Nanogirl as to why soap makes a super shield, or you could try the rainbow swirl magic milk experiment.

HOW DO I ORDER KIWI CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Kiwi Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Kiwi Crate kits is that they use a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to explore a concept or idea. There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Mind you, this only works if you spot the package on the door-step first – children become quite adept at recognising the green Kiwi Crate box and screaming with delight at it’s arrival!

The boxes are sent randomly so there’s no way to know what will come in the future; however, you can log-in to your account at the start of each month to see what box has been selected. Your box history is kept which means that even if you cancel and then pick-up again the following year they can make sure that you aren’t sent repeats of boxes.

WHAT IS IN A KIWI CRATE?

The Kiwi Crate is aimed at ages 5-8 years. It comes with a copy of the Explore magazine which opens with a fun comic about Steve the Kiwi and his friends. [As a side note, these are made by an American company despite the use of our New Zealand native bird]. These comics are really approachable for younger kids and a great way of exploring the concepts being introduced in a relateable manner.

The Explore magazine provides a range of information on the topic, it might include some simple games or tricks to try at home, and provide ideas for additional crafts / activities using simple materials. It also has a sticker [unique to each box theme] to put on your Kiwi Crate chart.

The box also includes an instruction manual and the materials that you need to build the main craft. Generally, there are two activities to do – one that is more art related, and one that is more mechanical engineering. What makes the kits special, is how well crafted the engineering components are. They really are designed for the intended age group so that they can either build themselves or help assist an adult. There are handy visual images and checkpoints to make sure that things are aligned correctly. There is no super-bonding-fingers-together wood glue to use with these projects (which makes them great for highly sensory children); instead parts come with double sided tape finely engineered on so that you just need to remove the backing strip of paper.

INTERESTED IN MORE HOMESCHOOL BOX REVIEWS?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body (learn about biology)

Science: Learning about tension – How to make a toy elevator

How does an elevator lift work?

In our KiwiCo Kiwi Crate Push and Pull Toys box we learned about force and tension. When we hold a rope loosely so that it rests between us, it is slack. When we pull, that force travels along it and it becomes taut. That is tension at work. That pull force and tension can also be used to make something (or someone) move especially when we add a simple machine – like a pulley. SciShow Kids gives a great visual example of how this works: click here to watch.

An elevator lift relies upon the science of tension so that those vertical cables, a pulley, and counterweights, can create a lift force in order to move people or objects. An elevator lift’s science and internal mechanisms can make for fascinating reading and is more complex then this simple build. This craft is a great place to start for younger kids, and older kids may want to engineer their own more complex designs!

How to make a kids toy elevator lift

Our Kiwi Crate came with this great idea in the Explore magazine!

Materials

  • Sturdy cardboard box
  • Wooden dowel (cut to size)
  • String
  • Pencil, scissors, glue, sellotape, ruler.
  • Decorations

Tip: Where can I get a wooden dowel? Turns out, lots of places! Craft stores and hardware stores are a good place to start. Keep in mind that you’ll want the wooden dowel to be at least the width of your box (with some extra length each side as turning handles).

Instructions

  1. Cut the lid / flaps off the top face of the box. (Save them)
  2. You want to make a small hole for your wooden dowel. Stand your box and choose a short end to be the top of the ‘building’. Choose a ‘side’ of the building and use a ruler to measure about an inch down from the ‘roof’ and make a pencil mark. Use a sharp pencil (or scissors) to carefully push a hole through the cardboard.
  3. Slide the wooden dowel through the hole and use it (as well as your ruler) to help you position a matching hole on the far side of the ‘building’.
  4. To make your ‘elevator’, cut the cardboard that you saved into two strips. Experiment with scoring and folding these, then slide them together to make a rectangle (you’ll need to tape or glue the sides). You will need to trim them to size as if they press too closely against the building walls, friction will slow the elevator’s rise.
  5. Make two holes in the ‘roof’ of the elevator.
  6. Measure and cut your string; you want it about twice as long as your building is high.
  7. Thread string through one hole and tie a knot inside the elevator lift. Take the other end of the string and wrap it around the wooden dowel (acting as a pulley) and then place the end through the roof of the elevator and knot it off.
  8. Make sure your string has equal lengths on each side and then tape the centre of the loop to the dowel.
  9. Have fun decorating your building and elevator 🙂
  10. You are now ready to lift! Simply twist the handles and watch the elevator rise as the string wraps itself around the dowel. Observe how the lift force requires the cable (string) to retain tension in order to operate. Discuss what would happen if the string was too long and stayed like limp spaghetti. What can you lift? Are some things too big or too heavy? Do some shapes wobble and fall off? Is it the right height to transport cars or dinosaurs or dolls where they want to go? What size might you need to reach a floor in a dollhouse, or the top of a coffee table, or the seat of the couch?

KiwiCo Review – Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds: Learn about the Science of Tension

WHAT IS IN THE PUSH AND PULL TOYS BOX?

This is a great way of introducing kids to early scientific concepts found in physics – namely, force and tension. We love playing tug of war every evening with our wearable chewable cotton terrycloth band. When we hold it loosely so that it rests between us, it is slack. When we pull, that force travels along it and it becomes taut. That is tension at work. That pull force and tension can also be used to make something (or someone) move.

The first thing that you build with the crate is a simple puppet show. The handy diagrams and kid friendly physics explanations will help you understand that while building and playing with this you are demonstrating the use of levers, force, and tension. There are multiple backgrounds included and you can design your own.

The second activity sees you constructing two racing turtles and weaving their shells. You then experiment with string tension to race your turtles!

The nice thing about the solid wood shell is that if your turtles deteriorate in the future, you can use brightly coloured yarn to turn these into wall art or christmas tree decorations.

Want more ideas for learning about tension?

Get busy in the great outdoors! Go fishing. Play tug of war. Lie in a hammock. Carefully set up a tightrope between trees (low to the ground!). Play tennis. Visit a suspension bridge in your area. Go on a high wire obstacle course. Ride a zipline!

Get busy indoors! Ride an elevator. Play a guitar. Create a toy elevator (coming soon!). Create your own ‘floating structure’.

HOW DO I ORDER KIWI CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Kiwi Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Kiwi Crate kits is that they use a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to explore a concept or idea. There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Mind you, this only works if you spot the package on the door-step first – children become quite adept at recognising the green Kiwi Crate box and screaming with delight at it’s arrival!

The boxes are sent randomly so there’s no way to know what will come in the future; however, you can log-in to your account at the start of each month to see what box has been selected. Your box history is kept which means that even if you cancel and then pick-up again the following year they can make sure that you aren’t sent repeats of boxes.

WHAT IS IN A KIWI CRATE?

The Kiwi Crate is aimed at ages 5-8 years. It comes with a copy of the Explore magazine which opens with a fun comic about Steve the Kiwi and his friends. [As a side note, these are made by an American company despite the use of our New Zealand native bird]. These comics are really approachable for younger kids and a great way of exploring the concepts being introduced in a relateable manner.

The Explore magazine provides a range of information on the topic, it might include some simple games or tricks to try at home, and provide ideas for additional crafts / activities using simple materials. It also has a sticker [unique to each box theme] to put on your Kiwi Crate chart.

The box also includes an instruction manual and the materials that you need to build the main craft. Generally, there are two activities to do – one that is more art related, and one that is more mechanical engineering. What makes the kits special, is how well crafted the engineering components are. They really are designed for the intended age group so that they can either build themselves or help assist an adult. There are handy visual images and checkpoints to make sure that things are aligned correctly. There is no super-bonding-fingers-together wood glue to use with these projects (which makes them great for highly sensory children); instead parts come with double sided tape finely engineered on so that you just need to remove the backing strip of paper.

INTERESTED IN MORE HOMESCHOOL BOX REVIEWS?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body (learn about biology)

Discover England – A KiwiCo Review: Atlas Crate for 6-11 Year Olds (Deluxe Box)

What is in the England crate?

You begin by opening your travel mail from Milo and Anya to find out about their latest travel adventures! Miss 6 enjoys seeing all the photos in England.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about England to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. The main focus of the information is on London; from Buckingham Palace, to Shakespeare, to the Tower of London. One of our favourite legends was about the Tower Ravens and we liked learning about the Queen’s Guards. We loved getting to build our own Big Ben – especially since it has a working clock face! There is also a little information on knights and castles – with the opportunity to make your own heraldry. We loved that this activity provided choices, information and suggestions.

We were also inspired to have our own learning adventures. We made light and fluffy scones, we researched Roman Britain and Londinium, Viking Britain and Jórvík, knights and castles, and British woodland animals.

Our Deluxe Box Book was Lonely Planet’s ‘London City Trails’. We enjoyed exploring some of the facts and photos inside but would have found it more engaging if there was an activity that accompanied it; it would be brilliant to use if actually exploring London!

HOW DO I ORDER ATLAS CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Atlas Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Atlas Crate kits is that they provide a colourful and imaginative way of exploring the world through hands-on activities. I like that they use a mix of STEM and art to explore different concepts and ideas. Their products are also very well made, with clear instructions, and kids feel a real sense of pride in what they accomplish with each box.

There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Other families will choose to sign up for a longer period (like a 3, 6, or 12 month cycle).

WHAT IS IN AN ATLAS CRATE?

Each Atlas Crate comes with a special airmail envelope from Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper revealing where they’ve been on their latest adventure. There is a special passport sticker for your child’s Atlas Adventure Book plus seven new pages to add about a new country (highlighting geography, customs, landmarks, history, and foods).

There are supplies for two activities (which might be a mix of art, STEM, and games) as well as suggestions for more DIY activities to try at home – from things to make, to things to bake!

If you choose the Deluxe option, then you will also receive a book that helps you explore that month’s destination. This upgrade is an additional USD$9.95 (approx. $15 NZD) and can impact shipping costs as well. Since we’re homeschooling, I decided that we’d try the Deluxe option for 6 months to see how useful we find it.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

ExperisenseNZ

Exploring Maths through Art

Exploring Space through Art

Exploring the Human Body