Saturday, 23 December 2017

A Maker's Gingerbread House - Christmas Coding & Craft

My youngest loves making and craft and using electronics and coding in his projects. He's seven, so I still help him a lot, but it means we get to spend quality time together doing something we both enjoy.

At the beginning of December, he came with me to a local craft shop to buy bits and pieces for a weekly toddler group I run, and a flat-pack wooden house caught his eye. It wasn't very expensive, so we bought it and it's become our December craft project.

The project has evolved naturally as he (and I) came up with new ideas and we used lots of different making skills, tools and materials. He's named it our Maker Gingerbread House (that you can't eat)!

As a final post of the year here's what we made!

The House

The flat-pack house is made out of balsa wood and unfortunately, the instructions weren't very clear. We had to apply a lot of creative thinking and planning to put it together.

We love making with natural materials and flat pack kits like this house is an easy way for kids to experience making with wood. We used wood glue to keep the pieces in place. My son also made little characters with the leftover pieces and wood glue.


My son used acrylic paint to 'colour-in' the house. I had some sparkly paint, which he painted over black acrylic on the roof. We love the effect it created. My kids haven't always enjoyed painting, because they don't like to get messy.

I have persevered by giving them lots of different opportunities to paint. We now paint rocks, wooden houses, on card and paper, and more and they are less worried about the mess.

Getting Creative

Now that the basic house was ready, my son was ready to get creative and add Christmas decorations to the house. The additions had to be non-permanent as he would like to reuse the house for Easter and other important celebrations. He used paperclips and thin wire to attach his decorations to the wooden house.

We 3d printed some white and red baubles on our XYZPrinting da Vinci miniMaker 3D printer , which he strung on sparkly blue pipe cleaners.

He also added my 3D printed Christmas tree to the scene as decoration and decorated it with the 3Doodler Start pen.

He made a miniature wreath for the front door with the 3D pen too.

He wanted Santa's boots to pop out of the chimney. We made them with air drying clay (I love this stuff!) and secured the boots in the chimney with some red family-safe Sugru. My son added yellow buckles with the 3D pen.

Adding Tech

He wanted to add lights to the house. Instead of adding lights on the outside, my son used his Mover Kit to code patterns of light displays. The Mover Kit is a fantastic piece of tech that is accessible for young children to code and use in their own projects. He was able to do the coding and download it to the Mover Kit independently.

Happy Christmas to All!

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