Updated: Nov 6, 2020
As you might expect, we are pretty pro-kids getting in to all things creative and tech. Our two, aged 5 and 8, are certainly huge fans of using iPads and computers to entertain themselves, and when used creatively they can be hugely educational and positively engaging.
We’ve put together a few ideas of how you can get your kids to engage in creative technology whilst having fun. These include using:
- Canva to develop their own branded merchandise or magnets
- Canva to make jewellery gifts
- Making their own movies with Animation apps and packages
- Wix or other free website builders to make their own website.
Whether you're on lockdown and are looking for activities to keep the kids busy, or need some fun holiday activity, we hope we can show how creativity and technology can help you achieve that.
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Canva is a free website and app that puts design in your (or your kids) hands. You can adapt their templates or start from scratch and they’ve a range of preset sizes for common media types such as A4 documents, Facebook cover images and presentations.
Idea 1: Your own merchandise using Canva to design
Grab some specialty paper such as magnetic paper or iron-on t-shirt transfer paper and design your own magnets or branded clothing. We had a fab day with our kids last half-term pretending we were making some of our own merchandise (like the YouTubers do!). We took to Canva and designed our own logos, and badges before downloading them and printing onto T-shirt transfer (remember to print in mirror mode so it flips your design). You’ll need:
A Canva account: https://www.canva.com/join/nice-blotch-insight (referral link)
Transfer paper (around £7 for 10 sheets)(such as: https://amzn.to/3etkFID)
or, for magnets use magnetic paper (such as: https://amzn.to/2HQpqAj)
It's really important to read the instructions carefully especially print instruction, drying instructions and transfer instructions. As you can see from the picture below, I ended up with some black marks on ours!
Idea 2: Using Canva to make jewellery gifts
Christmas is coming up and the kids could spend hours on Canva tinkering with all their Christmas clipart. A few years ago, I started to craft little keepsake gifts using Canva to make cards to place jewellery on (see picture). It was great fun to buy a selection of jewellery and find novel ways to present them on a card. If you want to polish them off then use heavy papers, round the edges of the paper and package them in a wrapper to gift.
A Canva Account: https://www.canva.com/join/nice-blotch-insight (referral link)
A printer: We have two - both HP instant inks (it's great not to run out of ink). The first is great for everyday use: https://amzn.to/3p1EmfG and good value especially with free ink. The second is a bit heavier-duty but if you're printing lots it's fab and quick: https://amzn.to/36cyXJS
Jewellery items: There's so many to choose from but here's some we've tried and like:
- Christmas earrings (cheap): https://amzn.to/3oUG8iq
- Kids earrings: https://amzn.to/38guwQQ
- These polymer earrings are also cute: https://amzn.to/2TWw36z
- Pin badges: There are some great designs and these can appeal a bit more to boys and can be based on themes (dinosaurs, bikes, animals etc): https://amzn.to/2GCTtLa
Heavy paper or card (https://amzn.to/3k1u3oa) (be careful with some glossy papers - some are too glossy for the printer). Photo paper works well too.
A guillotine and corner snipper (optional): We think the rounded edges give it that something: https://amzn.to/3esT62h
Cellophane wraps (optional): https://amzn.to/2Ib7eAR (We like printing our cards at 10cm x 10cm). There are recycled options available too.
As you can see from the example below, we wanted to play on the astronaut theme so used a cute quote and moon graphic. Once printed it's just a case of trimming and piercing a hole for the jewellery item (pin badges work well too) What ideas do you have for yours? Tag is on Instagram with your finished products @esmecreative
There are a range of animation opportunities and don’t worry if you‘re not too technical. Firstly, they’re usually not too tricky. Secondly, kids usually find this stuff super intuitive.
There are a range of apps on the Apple and Android stores (look up Stop Motion and Lego Movie Maker) which allow you to use your phone. You can also get comprehensive animation kits with cameras, props and guide books included (such as https://amzn.to/3kSA4oc). Some props to work with would also be ideal. Lego have Movie Maker sets (for instance: https://amzn.to/3epXZcj ).
One thing we found - I was as into it as the kids!
It's been really interesting to work with the kids to design their own websites. It's really got them talking about their interests, how we spell certain words, what their site purpose is and who their audience is.
Since ESME Creative are Wix partners you wouldn't expect us to use much else than Wix and they've found it really intuitive (Wordpress would be a good alternative). The Wix app also lets them draft blog posts on the go. We've ended up with one website about dragons and another about gaming.
Some questions we've explored with their website are:
what would you like it to be about?
how do you think would want to visit it?
what would they expect to see and read?
what do you think it's important to tell them?
does all the information go on one page or is there a way we can organise it?
which pictures work well? (They spent ages picking pictures)
what do certain colours mean? (is red angry/danger for instance)
if we could have a domain what would it be? (e.g. mywebsite.co.uk/.com)
Let us know what you like to do using technology!