Reducing screen time at home with some fun projects

As I feel fall settling in and hopefully some much needed wet weather ahead, I wanted to share some ideas for projects at home during those cooped up, rainy days. It is easy to let the unending allure of tablet, phone and computer screens help pass the time, but here are some ideas that still involve technology yet move the focus away from the screen. Both of these projects are ones that I have done with my own children during our evening “project time” Makey Makey

What is it?

This is a great little board that plugs into your computer and essentially becomes an extension of the keyboard. This board will work great with any computer or laptop - you can even use it with a Chromebook.   

How does it work?

The board simply plugs into your computer through the USB port. Once the board is plugged in, you connect the provided wire to an object that you want to take the place of a particular key on the keyboard. One of the most popular examples is to connect the Makey Makey to a some bananas to create a “banana piano”. The provided wires have easy to connect alligator clips that allow you to attach one end to the Makey Makey board and the other end to the banana. The final step is to connect  one end of a cable to your wrist and the other end to the “ground” area of the Makey Makey board.

Watch the video below for some fun and creative examples!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P91xcYScrMs[/embed]

3Doodler

I love coming up with projects on my home 3D printer, but it can be a bit involved if you simply want to create something quickly.   This is where the 3Doodler pen comes in handy.  

What is it?

THe 3Doodler is the “World’s only 3D printing pen” according to its creator.  

How does it work?

THe 3Doodler is basically the part of the 3D printer that squirts out the melted plastic that makes the many layers of a 3D printed object. Instead of having a bunch of motors move  the stream of melted plastic around, you use you arm to “draw” in three dimensions. It is not as precise as a 3D printer, but this allows for some very creative structures that could not be done using a conventional 3D printer. Here is a video showing the various possibilities.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGnoo0pgnk[/embed]

I hope you enjoy these fun tools as much as my family does. Happy Creating!

-Bobby

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