What a fun afternoon!
My little grand-daughter and I had such a wonderful afternoon after unpacking the exciting and interesting educational toys sent to her by Mysmartkid. Designed by a panel of leading experts, Mysmartkid helps children reach developmental milestones in a fun and playful way. So it was no surprise that deciding which one to try first created a dilemma for her as they all peaked her interest, but she finally chose the shrinking insects.
Emily and I read all the instructions in the Smartbox and having understood exactly what was required of her, she patiently cut each one out. I have to admit that I helped her with punching the holes required to complete each little insect, but have no doubt that she would have been able to do it herself.
When it came to colouring them in, she was a little disappointed that there were only 4 crayons in the box, but that didn’t deter her. She quickly ran upstairs and fetched her coloured pencils and did such a beautiful job colouring in each individual little insect and following all the instructions perfectly.
Just to backtrack a little, the shrink insects within the Smartbox very generously displays what can be expected from the contents. In fact it’s what helped Emily with her final decision in terms of which activity to do first. The thought of creating little insects that she could play with once the project had been completed, was intriguing for her – she couldn’t wait to see what would happen once they had been put into the oven. She was totally convinced that they would all melt and so we took bets to see who was right! Each little insect is printed onto a plastic transparent sheet. One side is coated with a matt finish and feels a little rough to the touch. This is the side on which your little one would need to colour. Then there’s a little bag of brightly coloured pipe-cleaners which are to be used for the legs of the insects helping to create a fun 3D effect.
At first, the colours aren’t very bright, which was of slight concern for Emily until I explained to her that they would show up much more intensely after being in the oven as well. Once again she wasn’t completely convinced, but even more fascinated now to see what these little creatures were going to look like when they were done. Here was the perfect opportunity for me to explain to her what an experiment was and of course this was even more interesting for her now to see if our experiment was going to work.
Even before we had put them into the oven, Emily was already wanting to cut the pipe-cleaners and get them ready. I explained to her that we should rather wait to see how big the insects would be when they were out of the oven, before we could start making the legs. Here was my second opportunity to teach her to plan ahead as well as be patient and understand that making something properly can sometimes take a little time, but that the awesome finished product is the reward.
Now that they were all completed and ready for the oven, we found a baking tray and some grease-proof paper and she laid them all out spreading them evenly across the baking tray and making sure that she was happy with how they were laid out. It was nice to see her planning the spacing and deciding for herself how best to lay them on the baking tray so that none of them would touch or melt into each other – this without any explanation or prompting from myself.
Once in the oven, we set the stop-watch on my phone and Emily sat glued to the phone watching to see when five minutes would be up! She was very excited to take them out the oven but kept her distance understanding that everything was hot and that she could get burned. Fortunately each little insect, now much brighter in colour, cooled very quickly and I was able to give them to her to take to the table again for us to complete with the pipe-cleaners.
She measured the length of each leg and chose her colours carefully and once I had shown her how to fit the pipe-cleaner through the hole and bend to shape, she was able to complete the task on her own. I was rather fascinated to see that whilst each one had shrunk the original thin sheet of plastic had expanded and each individual insect was now a really pleasing 3D shape.
We had so much fun together with this activity, learning while playing. Well done Mysmartkid!