This post is sponsored by Moose Toys.
The older my kids get, the more they enjoy making things. While they still love doing art just for the sake of experimenting and creating, they also love to make plans and work on inventing and creating a finished product.
This kind of STEM or STEAM activity (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) is a great way to encourage creative and critical thinking and to combine learning across a number of areas in an holistic way… but it’s also super fun!
Recently we did a simple STEAM activity when I challenged my boys to design Qixels robots!
Qixels are a little like perler beads, but they are a bit bigger and easier for small hands to manage, and they stick together with a simple spray of water, so no need for a hot iron. This meant that my kids (aged 5 – 11 years) could plan, experiment, and create with very little input from me.
You can use the Qixels straight out of the box, following the pattern cards provided, to make all kinds of things, but I set my boys a challenge to plan and create their own robots.
To get them started I created some printable pattern sheets – simple hexagon shapes with a grid of little squares.
You can download this free printable ‘design your own pattern’ page here.
We used the pattern sheet to plan and create our robots.
To start with, we simply coloured in the squares with markers to design our robots. This was an easy, hands on, way for both boys to grasp the concept of putting together numbers of squares to make a picture.
Then I showed Morgan (who is 8) how to use the computer to digitally fill the squares.
You can open the pattern printable in any kind of editing software, such as photoshop, and highlight and fill each square with colour. This made it easy to change your mind, or fix mistakes, and it meant we could easily print multiple copies of each design.
Once the designs were done the boys started creating their robots.
I was quite surprised at how well Noah (who is five) managed this activity. He quickly worked out that he needed to count squares on the pattern and put the same amount of squares of the correct colours onto the plastic frame.
He was using so many maths and spatial awareness skills that I didn’t even know he had!
A quick spray with water and a chemical reaction takes place making the Qixels stick together – then all you need to do is wait for them to dry.
We used the tag attachment that comes with some Qixels sets to turn a couple of the robots into bag tags. You just turn them over and push the attachment into the back, and you can take it off and use it on another design just as easily. You could also thread string through the gaps in the design itself to make a cool bag tag or necklace.
We’ve turned two of our favourite robot patterns into free printable templates so you can make them too.
The boys worked really hard planning, designing and then building their robots and they were super pleased with the results.
If you’d like to have a go at this easy STEAM activity you can pick up a pack of Qixels at most toy retailers, but you can also win some!
Win a Qixels Prize Pack and Create Your Own Designs.
This competition is now closed. Congratulations to our winner Sue who suggested they might renovate their house with Qixels!
I have a HUGE Qixels prize pack to give away with enough Qixels to make all kinds of cool designs and characters! It includes one Qixels Turbo Dryer, two Qixels Design Creator sets, and six Qixels Theme Sets!
To enter simply leave a comment on this post answering this question:
What would you, or your kids, design and create with Qixels?
The most creative, funny or interesting comment will be judged the winner.
You must be an Australian resident to enter, and entries close at midday on Wednesday November 25th 2015. See full terms and conditions below.
Competition Terms and Conditions.
You must be an Australian resident and have an Australian postal address to enter.
You must be 18 + years of age to enter.
You must provide a valid email address and entries are limited to one per household.
Entries close Wednesday 25th November 2015 at 11:59am Australian EST.
Entries will be judged on merit and creativity.
One winner will receive a Qixels Prize pack containing 1 Qixels Turbo Dryer pack, 2 Qixels Design creator sets and 6 Qixels theme sets. Prize may differ from pictured.
Winners will be contacted by email and announced on this post by Monday 2nd November 2015.
The winner must contact me within 5 days or the prize will be re-drawn.
The winner agrees to have their contact details passed on to the appropriate PR company or brand representative who will send out/organise the prizes directly.