13 Dec 2012 No Comments
Today a beautiful brown Kiwi Crate box came in the mail, which contained two Hanukkah themed art projects. The first art project was a make it yourself menorah and the second art project was a drediel spin art. As an educator I really appreciate Kiwi Crates focus on providing hands on activities that ignite kids creativity and curiosity. This product is a a crate you can order that is filled with a project, which includes all the materials and instructions needed, delivered to your doorstep. They have various themes that focus on arts, crafts, science or imaginative play. Kiwi Crate is made for children 3-7 years old in mind and was developed by child development experts. You can visit kiwicrate.com to order a month to month, annual or gift subscription. The crate runs about $20 per month.
My son was so excited to open the box and look through all the materials. It was nice to see how detailed and clear the instructions were. When we opened the instruction booklet it told us all the materials needed for the project (which were all included in the box) as well as step by step instructions, which included pictures. I also appreciated that they had a section that talked about the significance of the menorah. As a teacher I always feel it is important to ask a question to spark curiosity when introducing a lesson so I loved that they asked, “Why do you think we light the menorah for eight days?” in the pamphlet.
SInce my son is almost three I knew this project would be a little difficult for him so we turned this into a family project and did it all together. I loved how all the materials, including a paint tray to pour the paste in was included. The only thing I needed to add to the project so that it wouldn’t get too messy was a flattened cardboard box to work on. The project was decorating candle holders by pasting tissue paper on them and then lining them up to make a menorah. After pouring the paste (Mod Podge) into the paint tray, I dipped the foam brush and handed it to my son to apply a thin layer to the candle holder. He quickly got messy as he started to paint his hands, along with the candle holder. He was having fun and we own a washer machine so what did I care. I then held the candle holder while he put tissue paper squares around it. I would paint over the tissue paper with the paste (when he was done) to seal it all together.
We laughed and had a great time as we decorated the candle holders with paint and tissue paper. My son loved picking out the different colors to put on it. It was hard for his little hands to maneuver the candle holder while putting on the paper by himself, so we worked together to acomplish the task. He then took each LED battery operated candle out of its box and put it inside the decorated candle holder. He had so much fun turning the lights on and putting them in the candle holders. He lined up his candle holders to make a menorah and started to sing Hanukkah songs.
Having this bonding experience with my son will forever be in my memory. I love that this keepsake art project will be taken out every year at Hanukkah time and we can look at it and remember our family project together. I know this crate is intended to be done independently by an older child but Eitan still had a blast with mommy and daddy’s help. And I can honestly say that we did too!!!
As an educational consultant I always am looking at how teachers can improve in their teaching/curriculum to better meet the needs of their students. With that lens I have two ideas on how this project can be improved. One is that it would’ve been nice if they included a “splat mat” in the box so that the customer wouldn’t have to try to find newspaper or cardboard to put down, in order to avoid a mess. Also, as great as the menorah is, it would’ve been nice to have a menorah he could actually use with real candles. This menorah is adorable but strickly decortive. If the cups were able to hold a tealight candle instead then he could use it to fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of lighting the menorah. I also have concerns with small children around LED candles, that contain lithium batteries, ever since I read this article about “Most Fatal Child Battery Swallowing Accidents Due to Tiny Batteries”. A May 2012 study in Pediatrics found that there had been an increase of emergency room visits due to the tiny batteries. A study from 1990 to 2009 revealed that there were about 66,000 battery-related emergency department visits by U.S. children under 18, and battery-related injuries had doubled in the two-decade time period.
Overall I loved this project and am so impressed with Kiwi Crate! Stay tuned for part two of this review when we make the spin art dreidel….