School is out, which means there is more unstructured time to create, explore, and play. The girls and I wanted to freshen up our learning environment to encourage creativity and exploration. Heidi reminded me that last year we made an Idea Lab, and was eager to recreate this summer experience.
To best facilitate creativity, we needed to change over our schoolroom into more of a hands-on lab area. I started by getting all of our school curriculum organized and tucked away. Then we rearranged the furniture so that each girl would be able to have space to work independently on sewing projects and an area where they could collaborate for experiments.
The purpose of the Idea Lab is to conquer boredom and pique interest. Their homeschool totes are now full of craft idea books, chemistry experiment ideas, sewing project books, and art resources. They have access to all these resources anytime they want during the day.
The girls and I plan an activity that rotates each day to go with that day’s theme. These activities are independent and self-led for those slow, quiet mornings.
Our family thrives off of routine, so in the morning, it is beneficial to have pre-planned activities for the girls to do on their own in our Idea Lab. Then our afternoon is a group activity based on our summer schedule.
Idea lab Days
Each weekday has a different theme to assist in scheduling activities and ensure that many different interests are covered throughout the week.
STEM toys are a big hit in our house. I appreciate that they are learning to build projects, apply mathematical skills, solve problems, and develop computer programming skills all while they are playing.
Our go-to STEM and Logic toys + games include:
- Robot Turtles
- Snap Circuits
- Roller Coaster Challenge
- Cat Crimes
- Solitaire Chess
- Castle Logix
- Lego Mindstorms EV3
- The Official Scratch Coding Cards
The girls have taken classes that taught them to sew, crochet, and finger knit. I enjoy craft day since it doesn’t take any prep work or assistance from me. I do have resource books for the girls so that they have ideas of the types of crafts they would like to do. Their favorite sewing pattern book is Sewing School 2.
These crafts do not necessarily get completed in one day. I find that handicrafts are great for picking up during the lull of the day and work well for keeping their hands busy. A Pioneer Sampler is a fun book of ideas since it discusses the daily life of a pioneer in 1840.
Elyse was given a loom for her birthday which has been the perfect craft for her. She enjoys picking out different threads, finding a project to weave, and making different patterns. Each of my girls has a different handicraft interest so it is exciting to see what they create.
Other crafts that I keep on hand:
Science is another area that my girls cannot get enough of. We don’t do many chemistry experiments during our school year. They decided that they would like to devote one day to chemistry to make sure that we actually set aside time to perform the different experiments.
So far making sugar crystal rocks and performing “magic” tricks by changing an alkaline solution into an acidic solution have been the biggest hits.
These are the resources I use for our chemistry days:
My girls are always up for baking. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together baking up a storm. Our Idea Lab baking has a different twist on it so that we are growing our skills and adding more creativity to our time in the kitchen.
We are selecting different countries + cultures to focus on each week. Then the girls are choosing recipes that are interesting to them. Each girl selects their own recipe and bakes it unassisted.
We started this the last week of school; we hosted a French-themed tea party. The girls had so much fun baking chocolate-dipped cream puffs, pots de creme, and Neapolitan macarons that we decided it would be part of our summer plans.
Next week, we are hitting up the tropics so it will be fun to see what recipes the girls come up with for island living.
Today we pull out all of our art supplies and just go with the flow. I do not set up a project per say. I just set out a different type of medium for the girls to create art with. Some of those include:
- Chalk pastels
- Sidewalk chalk
- DIY Sidewalk chalk paint
- Markers/crayons/colored pencils
- Fashion Plates
- Light-up Tracing Pad
Changing up the environment and creating a new fresh space encourages creativity and exploration. Our Idea Lab is a large space that is perfect for crafts, science, and games. Refreshing the space and giving it a new look sparks interest and fights summer boredom.
How do you refresh your space to promote creativity?
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