Monday, September 11, 2017

STEAM-ing Along!

Back in the day, my sisters and I decided we needed a backyard swing set. Crayon met paper, and blueprints for a carefully engineered three-seat contraption of sticks and strings emerged, promising a soaring summer of giggling glee.

But grandpa caught wind of our plans, was appropriately appalled, and instructed mother to take his money and install the best in store-purchased backyard entertainment "before those girls break their necks!"

Dear, sweet, indulgent grandpa. He meant well. But sometimes drafting, calculating, and trial and outrageous error are the best parts of unrealistic dreams nurtured among siblings who see the stars and seek to glide among them on scrap wood seats secured with jump rope knots.

I am delighted to see the preponderance of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math) toys available today for purchase for my grandchildren. Books and toys that tease, unleashing the brain, are all I ever plan to buy for the near-monthly frequency of birthdays I face today. Once these ten kids hit the age of six, look out! Here comes grandma with her bag of favorites, the fruit of well researched and well tested creative satisfaction!

This is not a sponsored post. I just enjoy sharing the success I've had with these excellent mind-enriching products!

The Kiwi Company ranks "number one" with me. While most commonly recognized as a monthly subscription service delivering age appropriate STEAM projects directly to a child's door, I also like the convenience of Kiwi's online store. Here, we pick and choose reasonably priced, individual "crates" that contain everything needed to build enticing, quality projects. Cranes. Electric Circuits. Pinball Boards. Hydraulic Valves. Lanterns. Bottle Rockets. We've bought 'em all - and love 'em all!

Four year old Ava (top) holds an endearing yarn critter, part of the Arcade Kiwi Crate. Twin sissy (right) made one, too. Many kits keep more than one kid busy.....

Eight year old brothers built the accompanying wood claw, and all four siblings enjoyed operating it to grab critters for points. Crafting! Engineering! Cooperating! Family Fun! All in one!

My faves are the mechanical sets (Tinker Crates) for older kids. Below, our young electrical apprentice concentrates on the construction of a trio of translucent multi colored battery operated lanterns. Easy and clear step-by-step illustrated instructions allow kids as young as eight to do-it-themselves while grandma sits nearby, taking pictures and beaming with pride!

Everything you need is included. Everything! 

Take a look and see what you think! This link will net you a $10 discount on a year long subscription!

Okay. Switching to dinosaurs now!

Mindware offers a product I heartily endorse. Open the box to a slab of plaster-like material. Grab the included archaeological tools and a cup of water and begin chipping away! You just know there's something here that needs finding! DIG IT UP! 

The fearsome favorite T-Rex! Triceratops also available!

I passed these out at Grandma Camp to the older kids; six year old Brielle, and eight year old twin brothers, Nick and Sae.

For nearly an hour, heads were studiously bent over the puzzle before them......

Finally! Pay dirt!....a hint of something just beneath the surface! Smooth, shiny, and "rib-cagey!"

More digging!
Is this project a mess? Oh heck yes! Just the way kids love it! Perfect for a sunny day out on the deck!

What? An hour of work and all we get is this pile of bones?

There! That's better! A quick session of easy snapping yielded a trio of (14") take-home treasures just RAWR-ing to go!

Mindware DIG IT UP! Dinosaur kits can be found in my Amazon Gift Shop on page 15.


  1. WOW the kids have certainly enjoyed some great projects here but I had to laugh because it is probably due to your grandfather that you are alive today LOL! :)

    They are all so adorable and clearly very involved with their projects ; getting so big, too!

    My DIL just had some surgery ( she'll be fine ) but in contrast, MY day was very uninspiring to the grands : "So and So is in charge of the dog poo in the front yard and you come tell me what drawer these clothes of yours go and what entrance do we go to for morning dropoff " ( Hanging in there ha ha :)

  2. Always love seeing what you and your grands are up to! Blessings to you my friend! Teresa from NanaHood

  3. I'm sure your grandpa meant well . . . but I agree! Kid designed, engineered, and created projects are the best ever for stretching kids minds!

    Thanks for sharing these ideas! I think the dinosaur will end up on my Christmas list for a grandson or two!

  4. How fun! Love the STEAM encouragement in so many creative ways anymore. My grandsons would LOVE the Dig It Up! activity!

    As always, your inquisitive and creative kiddos are adorable! ♥

  5. looks like they are all well invested into what they are doing. I love the ideas the use of their imagination as well as skills should help them fell well about their selves
    come see us at

  6. What great ideas - and they keep the kids' attention with projects, as well as improving their thinking. One of the things our grandson is graded on in school is creative thinking - I know that is nebulous - but it a good plan to encourage kids to think creatively in all their subjects. Happy weekend my dear.

  7. Taking care of grands runs in the family genes. :-) These look like wonderful, creative toys. They sure beat the latest game controller for allowing a child the opportunity to read, work together, create, and invent. You go, grandma. Ten grandchildren? Every time I think of that I am amazed. You are one lucky woman who ought to send those three lovely girls of yours thank you cards. :-)