I. am. a. robot. (Part 1)

I fear I’ve gotten a little carried away with myself.  You see, here purchase today I started a new project, information pills malady or rather Little Princess Pink did.  As it’s the school holidays we don’t have the usual Jolly Phonics sounds and flash cards for homework, no, we have the far more inspiring and exciting…… Robot Homework Challenge!

In the interests of helping the nippers learn about 2D and 3D shapes in a creative and fun way, all Primary 1’s have been tasked with crafting their very own robot over the next week and a half using any junk modelling and craft materials they have at home.  Having an arts and crafts box that could rival an entire Hobbycraft store, Little Princess Pink and I set about the challenge with gusto.  Like some kind of torturous touchy-feely team building exercise, I witnessed from the off that Little Princess Pink shares one characteristic with Super Daddy which, shall we say, is at the opposite end of the spectrum to some of those which I display when setting about a new task or project.  LPP full of enthusiasm, bursting at the seams with great ideas  and just itching to get started, was desperate to wrap three toilet paper tubes and a rice crispies box in some shiny tin foil and bobs-your-uncle, hey presto, ta da…..’Lola’ the Robot.  I on the other hand, whilst not wanting to be one to dampen her enthusiasm was keen that we reflected  further on the task in hand and perhaps undertook some form of planning exercise before construction commenced. There’s the project manager in me.

Surprisingly she was quite agreeable, and came up with the suggestion herself that we drew a blueprint (her word, not mine) of the Robot, whom we kept referring to as ‘he’ despite already tagging him/her with the moniker Lola (after our goldfish). Using a blue felt tip pen, LPP carefully sketched her first idea of what Lola should look like.  Her plan was simple. We’d draw the blueprint, and from that, identify which shapes we needed to make up the component parts, and only then set about the house on some kind of crafting, robotic treasure hunt seeking out body parts for Lola.

One sketch, some scribbled notes and twenty minutes rummaging in every corner of the house later and we had located every identified object which would form some limb or other for the greatly anticipated robot. Taking after her mother this time, LPP donned a painting apron and spread old newspapers all over the kitchen table so as she could crack on with task 1 – naming and numbering of the constituent parts of the production, and a developing an ordering system for how we should paint or decorate each part.

First came the painting.  Having discovered a Dulux  tester pot in ‘Chic Perfection’ (a silver grey) lurking on my desk in the office (not having actually found its way to the walls in the hallway for aesthetic testing) we began slopping and slapping this all over a Pampers size 5 nappy box which would be the robots body. Early on in this phase we identified through a crude risk analysis that we simply weren’t going to have enough to cover the whole box, and made a strategic decision to cover only the top and two sides in this colour and use red paint sprinkled with silver glitter on opposing sides. With more left over in the tester post than anticipated, we tactically decided to adopt a similar approach to the smaller brown cardboard box we’d found in a rarely explored kitchen cupboard, which had contained a traditional sweet shop portion of chocolate limes (marketing idea adopted by Super Daddy for his like-named web design business). ‘Chic Perfection’ on the top and two sides, red paint and silver glitter on opposing sides.  With the creative juices flowing, and a robust robot production plan in place, all was going tickety-boo.

Then came the holler of ‘Ah don wannnnaa naaaap…’ from upstairs.

Little Monster Blue had spoken.

The creative team had company.

‘What’s this mummy?’ he asked, clamouring up onto a seat at the kitchen table and making a clumsy grab for the blue glitter shaker.

‘That’s glitter, big guy.’ I tell him removing it gently from his hands and placing it out of his reach at the other side of the table.

‘What s this one?’ he tries, making another fumble for a second glitter shaker, this time green.

‘That one is glitter too honey,’ I answer, ‘In green, your favourite colour.’

‘Yes, mine favourite.’

‘And what’s this mummy?’ he asks, successfully managing to expertly dive half way across the table landing one hand in the paper plate holding the red paint and grabbing the brush from the Dulux tester pot tightly like the baton in a relay race in the other. By the brush end.  With lots of paint still on it.

Exasperated by her brothers efforts to get involved, Little Princess Pink made a bid to quickly finish the outstanding painting activities – setting herself a critical milestone of 3pm as Chloe’s Closet was coming on tv – and she swiftly coated two Twinings tea boxes, and an empty Disney Princess colouring box in red and blue paint and vigorously shook a myriad of coloured glitter over every square inch (of the kitchen). The lid of a tube of jelly tots, a bottle of fizzy juice and a milk carton were also covered haphazardly in the now globby paint and glitter mix, but oh was it looking good.

With Little Monster Blue safely deposited in the playroom with Granddad Dogs Pick Up truck and a box of raisins, ‘Super Team Creatives’ (I know, I’m sooo geeky) continued our great work.

Pipe cleaners in pink, purple, red, and yellow were twisted round pencils to create  springy wire effects,  pink yoghurt pot ears were decorated with sticky foam numbers and letters to signify an explosion coming out of his/her head (!) and toilet roll tubes were covered in shiny foil ready to be attached by elastic and hoisted on as his/her arms when the time came.

With the time drawing close to 3pm, and my kitchen drawing closer to an explosion in a paint factory, we wound down production for phase 1.  A quick check of the blueprint, and we’re very nearly good to go on all body parts being primed and ready for manufacture. I feel I’ve brought my project planning, and creative skills to the homework challenge this far.  Super Daddy is the engineer – it’s over to him tomorrow for the assembly and construction process.

In the meantime, does anyone have any tips for getting vinyl silk off a two year olds hand?

 

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