I recieved a Simplay3 In & Out Activity Table in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts & opinions are my own!
A couple of years ago, just as STEM learning was really taking hold, my son’s school turned a rarely used space into something that was really unheard of at the time: A Maker Space. The area was open to students during any free time and was stocked with random bits and pieces of everything imaginable. From the content of a standard recycling pail to legos, batteries, electronic components, paper, art supplies and even tools, the kids were encouraged to build, design and “Make” without instruction.
My boys often come home and attempt to recreate their inventions, so it’s not unusual to find them digging through the recycling, junk drawers, craft closet or homework supply bin to find supplies for their grand ideas. As a back to school surprise I decided to give them their own dedicated Maker Space at home. Giving kids a creative and unrestricted space like this is surprisingly simple, and you probably have most of what you need laying around the house. You need a few essentials to get started, most importantly a dedicated workspace.
It’s hard to be halfway through a project only to be told to clean it up. The perfect Maker Space should be an area where kids can start, take a break, and come back to finish a project at their leisure. You want this to be a fun space that inspires creativity and that kids look forward to spending time in. This was the part I struggled with most, because I have a toddler who’s just beginning to get around on his own. The idea of tiny parts and pieces laying around is really terrifying right now!
At Blogger Bash this summer I came across Simplay3 and some of their new products. I immediately knew the Simplay3 In & Out Activity Table would be perfect for this idea I had bouncing around my head. This versatile play table doubles as out of the way storage, makes clean up a breeze and allows the kids to keep their activities in-tact for later on. The table is easy to convert and my kids can quickly do it themselves, so they already know to close the table whenever they’ve finished for the moment.
With the perfect activity table on hand it was easy to assemble everything else we needed. A Maker Space is all about creativity, so anything goes, but there’s a few basics that are great to start with:
- Safety Scissors
- Glue Sticks
- Construction Paper
- Empty Toilet Paper & Paper Towel Rolls
- Empty Bottles, Jugs & Cans (check for sharp edges first)
- Cotton Balls
- Pipe Cleaners
- Foam Stickers
- Googly Eyes
- Cardboard or Empty Boxes
- Modeling Clay
- Empty Egg Cartons
- Twigs & Rocks
- Peg People
My ten year old loves to build boats, finger puppet stages, tool boxes and electrical things (I really have no idea how he does it, but last year he created a nightlight out of some random things he found in the toolbox and a toy traffic cone). For older kids you can also include:
- Pieces of scrap wood
- Nails or Screws
- Bits of leftover Electrical Wire or Components
- Fishing Line
- A Small Toolset
Your kids imagination is really the limit here, and you would be amazed at the things they build from simple parts!
I filled the storage bins of the In & Out Activity Table with supplies and let my kids go to town. They were creating puppets and puppet stages, comic books and toys in no time. When play time is over it’s simple to clean up – I just move their supplies and projects back into the bins, and slide the table closed. They can eat a snack or do their homework on it, and when they’re done the table opens and they can pick up right where they left off.
One side of the table is smooth and has cup holders, great for coloring and snacking. The other side has two wells in it that are meant for sand and water, but we also like them for using Legos. It keeps the Legos contained and off the floor, which makes clean up a lot easier too! It does make a great sand and water table as well, and cleans out really nicely, so you can bring it inside and use it for something else later on.
I’m also loving how durable and easy to clean the table is! I’m so glad we found a middle ground, where my kids can unleash their creativity and I can keep clutter and tiny pieces stored safely away. Creating a Maker Space is that simple! Keep it stocked with odds and ends and your kids will never cease to amaze you with the things they create! What are some ways your kids unleash their creativity at home?