Summer school holidays are almost upon us here in New Zealand and, as far as I can tell, there are two distinct methodologies parents use to tackle the school holidays;
- The Organized Planner: Days, playdates, excursions, picnics are all planned with military precision – only to be completely at the mercy of the sometimes/usually unpredictable January weather (especially if you live in Auckland!)
- The She’ll be Right Parent: No planning necessary – it’s the holidays after all!
Whether you identify as a #1 or a #2 or a happy mix of both, it’s inevitable that weather, exhaustion or, real-life necessity such as parents having to adult and go to work, will result in days spent at home. If you find this heralds the ‘I’m bored’ chorus we all dread, well, I’m all for letting kids ride out their boredom (if you can stand it!). Giving kids the space and independence to be bored allows them the creative freedom to ‘un-bore’ themselves in ways adults may never have imagined.
If that doesn’t work, or has run its course, some intentional time online may be just the ticket. Screentime for the kids; they’re happy, combined with educational, productive activities; Mum and Dad are happy.
Everyone wins! (So bookmark this website now before you forget >> www.mindlabkids.com
What is MindLabKids.com?
The Mind Lab by Unitec is an award-winning, specialist learning lab dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of modern technology via workshops, school visits, holiday programmes and teacher professional development. Emerging from this cutting-edge combo of education and fresh ways to deliver it, comes MindLabKids.com.
The website itself is an engaging, exciting online destination where kids can discover science and technology at their own pace, through hands-on experiments, challenges, and safe collabs with other kids. Three new challenges are released each week around kid-magnet topics such as; robotics, 3D design, animation, and stop-motion, movie making and more.
How we use MindLabKids.com
First points to note, rego is free, quick and easy. Ethan was instructed NOT to use his own name as the username, plus, the only contact information requested was a parents email address – which I had to verify before the account was activated.
That was it! Ethan was off, with Nix observing at elbow height, of course, intrigued by the fact that his big brother was stoked to be using the computer with Mum’s encouragement.
The home feed is a collation of challenges, fun facts, members responses to challenges, surveys, and cute memes – essentially everything kids want or more importantly NEED from an educational site that is kinda a cross-over with an age-appropriate social network. You can respond to user-created content in a positive way via likes and even ‘favorite’ accounts that are uploading videos you love.
But obviously, the very BEST part, which the boys are loving, is getting their curious neurons firing and getting stuck into the online challenges.
Nix and E both have a Mind Lab Kids Starter Pack (which got them so pumped to get cracking I gotta say!) These are definitely not necessary to participate in the challenge responses, but Ethan found after looking at the kit inclusions such as a propeller, 3V motor, battery pack, pager motor, hovercraft plate (stuff we generally don’t have lying about the house), his mind was a little more open to the creative, problem solving process, knowing that he had some extra tools on hand.
On that note, seriously great Christmas gift right?! Create your child’s login, write their username and password on a gift tag, wrap up the Mind Lab Kids Starter Pack and you’ve got the perfect parental gift trifecta; it’s educational, not a toy they don’t need and can be reused over and over again in different ways.
The first challenge the boys tried their hand at was Professor D’s Hovercraft Challenge – obvs Ethan and I helped Nix a lot with his, he was just down to go crazy with the glue gun to be honest, but that’s every 4 year old’s prerogative lol.
Check out our Hovercraft Challenge Response Video here on the MindLabKids.com website.
Win a MindLabKids.com Starter Kit!
Get your kids excited about science and technology and they could win their own MindLabKids.com starter kit!
- Join Mind Lab Kids, if your kids are already a member then they are good to go!
- Film and upload a challenge-response video to www.mindlabkids.com before 10am 10 December 2017.
- That’s it!
Full terms and conditions can be found here, otherwise, the main point to note is that you must be a NZ resident.
This post was made possible by www.MindLabKids.com.