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

What is in the Sweden 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 Sweden.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Sweden to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: a few words in Swedish, about Thor and Norse mythology, about the Vasa, and about some Swedish foods and customs. There are craft activity ideas for making your own ice hotel or Viking longship.

Want some additional learning ideas?

Some of the books we enjoyed included:

We also enjoyed watching videos to learn more about:

Make your own Tomte

For our craft, we got to make two tomte. These Scandanavian gnomes (also known as nisse in Norway) are protectors of farms and homes. They respect hard work, politeness, and treating animals well; in families where they see these behaviours, they may reward them by helping around the homestead at night while the family are asleep. For those offended by lazy farmers, they may play pranks or make mischief to remind them to take better care of their livestock and belongings. At Christmas, it is traditional to put out risgrynsgröt for the tomte – a special rice porridge generally topped with a knob of luxurious butter.

Learn to play Kubb

Kubb is traditionally played outside on level grass (though it can be played on sand, snow, or dirt). We set up and played a miniature version inside. We marked out boundaries with painter’s tape (easily removed from carpet) and after an initial learning curve as we adjusted to the game, we have had many enjoyable matches!

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

#9 Discover Greece

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 – Maps and Treasure Chests!

WHAT IS IN THE TREASURE HUNT BOX?

What do Treasure Hunts have to do with maths you ask? Maps and co-ordinates are a fun part of maths! The Explore magazine teaches kids how to read a map (including what a compass rose is and how to read a legend). They then get to have a go at making their own!

Kiwi Crate’s Treasure Hunt box comes with materials for three crafts:

DESIGN AND MAKE A TREASURE CHEST

Clear instructions and no wood glue required made this a delightfully age appropriate build! The treasure chest is not only nicely on theme for the topic but has also proved popular since for open-ended play. I will note that we had no success picking the lock so decided to set it aside before the keys inevitably got lost.

DESIGN AND EMBOSS GOLDEN COINS

Every treasure chest needs treasure! This was a fun open-choice activity that allows kids to design each face of three coins. There are a range of numbers and kiwis provided. Kids place their choices on the coins, add a golden sticker, and carefully smooth them until the bas-relief is visible.

MAKE YOUR OWN TREASURE MAP

There are lots of different paper options provided for making your own maps. a good place to start is to map a room / house / garden and see if someone can find where the treasure chest has been hidden. Another good map to make is how to walk or drive to some place that you go often like school, a park, or a library.

More Mapping Activities

National Geographic have lots of mapping activities that can be done at home! They provide the teaching ideas, images, and PDFs that can be downloaded. Check out:

We are Teachers have lots of hands-on ideas with photographic inspiration: check them out here.

Some fun boardgames that teach reading grid co-ordinates include Peaceable Kingdom’s Race to the Treasure and the classic game Battleships.

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

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

#9 Discover Greece

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 Kenya – How to make and play Mancala

Mancala is a popular boardgame that has been played for hundreds of years in many parts of Africa; in East Africa the game is often referred to as ‘Bao’. We decided to make our own board as part of our Kenya study. There are many variants but essentially this is a ‘move and capture’ game where you want to end up with more tokens than your opponent.

Mancala boards can range from digging pits in the earth, to simple wooden boards, to stunningly carved and engraved affairs using wood or tin. They are also easy to make at home with a few simple materials!

How to make a Mancala board

Materials

  • 12-hole egg carton
  • Scissors, tape / glue.
  • Optional: paint
  • 48 tokens.

The great thing about making your own Mancala board is that you can customise and decorate it; Miss 6 chose to paint ours a vibrant pink and add some lizard spectators. The tokens can be whatever you want; aim for around small marble size. This home-made game board is great for practising fine motor skills and pincer movements!

  • scoop out and dry seeds from pumpkin or butternut
  • small river stones
  • small sea shells
  • marbles
  • beads

Directions

  1. Remove the lid of the egg carton.
  2. Optional: Paint your egg carton and allow it to completely dry.
  3. Cut the lid in half. Attach one half at each end using tape and/or glue. These create a long ‘mancala’ for each player to place their captured pieces.

How to play Mancala

There are many variants to Mancala; this is the version that has worked best for us:

  • Set up the gameboard by dropping four tokens (or ‘seeds’) into each ‘hole’ / ‘pit’. The six pits closest to your Mancala are controlled by you; the further six pits and Mancala are controlled by your opponent.
  • The player who begins chooses one of their ‘pits’ and picks up all of the tokens in it. They then proceed in an anti-clockwise direction and drop a token in each pit as they move forward. They do not drop a token in their opponent’s mancala. They do drop a token in their own Mancala. We like to think of this as sowing seeds.
  • If their turn finishes by dropping a token in their own Mancala, they get another turn. Players can use this to their advantage and may strategically repeat it several times before play passes.
  • If their turn finishes by dropping a seed in an opponent’s empty ‘pit’, they capture (‘harvest’) the token they just dropped and all the tokens in the ‘pit’ opposite. They place the tokens in their Mancala; then play passes to their opponent.
  • If their turn finishes by dropping a token in one of their own pits, or an opponent’s pit that contains tokens, then play passes.
  • The game ends when one player cannot move. Each player then collects (‘harvests’) all the tokens (‘seeds’) in their six pits (or ‘field’) and moves them to their Mancala. Players may strategically anticipate this end game result in how they move their pieces.
  • Players count the tokens in their Mancala at game’s end. Highest score wins.

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

What is in the Kenya 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 Kenya.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Kenya to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: some words in Swahili, about Amboseli National Park, the Maasai people, Nairobi’s colourful matutu buses, the soda lakes which create a sea of pink with millions of flamingos, and the many beautiful landscapes that Kenya offers.

Some of the books we enjoyed included:

Want some additional learning ideas?

Make your own binoculars

Our first craft was building binoculars with real curved lenses; paper tubes allow some sliding movement to help find the focal point. These also come with some paper African animals.

These were easy to build and work well enough to talk about the science being demonstrated. Miss 6 felt frustrated by the visual clarity but it’s a good opportunity to gauge interest before buying basic child binoculars.

Make your own beaded wristband

In the past, Maasai women made beaded jewellery using seeds and dried grasses dyed in different colours. A complicated history means these are now usually glass or plastic. The jewellery can have special meaning based on its colours, designs, and intended use. For this project, some simple information is given on what colours can signify. Children then have creative freedom to create their own pattern and design.

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

#9 Discover Greece

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

#10 Learn about Time

#11 Learn about Mirrors and create Illusions

STEM: Amaze your friends with these cool magic tricks!

Magic with science: Static Electricity

These are a few fun experiments that you can amaze your friends with that only require a few household items and are based around two things: a balloon and static electricity.

When we rub a balloon on the right kind of surface (like a wool jumper), it goes from being neutral to building up a negative charge. This can then be used to manipulate electrons on other surfaces by repelling negative electrons and drawing positive electrons. More importantly, this can look really, really cool!

Want to see the science behind it? Check out this cool interactive digital experiment.

TIP: The science behind this magic trick is impacted by the weather, so be sure to perform when the air is dry!

Materials

  • Balloon
  • Pencil
  • Salt
  • Scrap paper

Tip: We found plain balloons worked best. Thicker balloons designed for helium, or heavily patterned ones didn’t seem to build up a charge.

Directions

  1. Blow up a balloon and tie it off.
  2. Rub the balloon repeatedly. You may need to experiment with different surfaces such as hair, woollen clothes, jumpers, carpet; (conductive materials will give up their electrons more readily). You may need to experiment with how long it takes to build up a charge; note that the charge will only build up on the side that is rubbed.
  3. Experiment away!

Dancing Salt: Place a pile of fine table salt on a bench and hold a charged balloon above it. Watch the salt leap up and cling to the balloon!

Magic Pencil: Move a pencil without touching it! Balance a wooden pencil on top of a glass or bottle. Hold the charged balloon nearby and watch the pencil roll.

Shifting paper: Make a pile of paper (ripped into small squares) and hold the charged balloon nearby. Watch the paper shift (and hopefully leap up to the balloon!).

Sticky walls: Charge the balloon and then try sticking it to the wall or curtain.

KiwiCo Review: Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds – Learn about Mirrors and create Illusions!

WHAT IS IN THE MIRROR ILLUSIONS BOX?

This box encourages children to reflect on the question: How do mirrors work? The Explore magazine gives lots of fun ideas on how to explore this, such as : using a mirror map, writing a secret message using mirror writing, and creating infinite reflections.

Kiwi Crate’s Mirror Illusions box comes with materials for three crafts:

DESIGN AND PAINT A JIGSAW

We really liked the colour palette provided for this and that the paint stampers/dabbers can be re-used as an ongoing art resource. There is a selection of special stickers to choose from that will provide a magic ‘negative space’ when they are removed after painting. The two jigsaws can be used double sided which means that you can end up with a total of 4 puzzles (the emoji face + 3 of your own design).

MAKE YOUR OWN MIRROR GOGGLES

These really emphasize just how helpful it is when our brain automatically processes and translates reflected light for us. With these mirror goggles, a disconnect is created. Your hands need to move in the opposite direction from what your eyes are telling you. If you move a puzzle piece towards you, it will look like you are pushing it away (and vice versa). If you try writing your name, it will appear upside down without the goggles. A fun challenge is trying to write a name or phrase ‘upside down’ so that it appears correct without the goggles.

MAKE A MAGIC TRICK BOX

These are fun to make! There are a few options to choose from for your inner illustration (or you can design your own). When performing, simply ask for a coin from a member of the audience, drop it in the slot, and Hey Presto! it appears to vanish right in front of their eyes. The secret to the magic trick is the slanted mirror inside that creates an optical illusion and hides a secret compartment.

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

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

#9 Discover Greece

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

#10 Learn about Time

KiwiCo Review: Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds – Learn About Time

WHAT IS IN THE MARBLE TIMER BOX?

This box encourages children to think about time. It explores the history of timekeeping leading up to our current international system of time zones and modern timekeeping devices.

Kiwi Crate’s Marble Timer box comes with materials for two crafts:

DESIGN A MARBLE RUN (and TIMER!)

Marble Runs are just generally fun! This one has a push-bar built in so that when the first marble reaches the bottom it triggers the second marble dropping. To extend the fun, the pre-cut backboard allows the wooden ‘shelves’ to be placed in different configurations. Children can experiment with engineering different drops and angles to see how this impacts the time taken for all the marbles to reach the bottom.

CREATE DIP-DYE WOOD ART

These make beautiful ornaments that can be used for anything from bookmarks to Christmas Tree decorations. There are three pieces of carved wood for you to create unique art with. You’re provided with everything you need, including plastic cups, clips, and liquid colours. We also used our dipper from the KiwiCo Surface Tension box.

Children can experiment with the dipping process to see how time impacts the intensity of the colour and how double dipping can create new blended colours (such as: blue + yellow = green).

We loved this so much that we plan to repeat this at other times of the year, by buying plain seasonal wooden ornaments (i.e. at Christmas or Easter), to craft something that is truly unique.

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

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

#9 Discover Greece

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

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