Reviewing our first Tinker Crate – Making a Spin Art Machine
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We’ve been receiving the Kiwi and Atlas Crates for well over a year and we love them so much, we decided to also get the Tinker Crate which arrived for the first time earlier this month. After all the hot weather we have been having, we waited for a cooler, rainier day to give this one a go, and so yesterday that is exactly what we did.
The Tinker Crate is KiwiCo’s science and engineering box aimed at kids aged 9-16+. Addie and Bear aren’t quite at that age, but knowing how Bear’s brain works, I knew he would love the challenge of this box, and so we decided to give it a go.
Was it a hit? Let’s see if Addie and Bear liked it!
The arrival of this box was a little bit delayed due to Covid etc, and I was impatient for it to arrive! Even though they are shipped from the US, normally our boxes arrive within a week of the shipping notice, but understandably, things are all a bit topsy turvy at the moment, and we actually waited 4 whole weeks. I say “we” but I ordered this as a surprise for the kids, so it was just me being impatient!
When we got the box, they were curious as to what was inside, so we headed over to the KiwiCo website and watched the instructional video for the box, and so we were more than ready to get going with building the Spin Art Machine! This Crate is going to teach us about centripetal force, momentum and have an introduction to resistors too. Check out this cool video to see how we built the machine.
Every Crate comes with everything you need to do the activities (and I especially liked that we reused the box for this activity). The only thing we needed to use from home was a pair of scissors (and some extra paper to make more pictures).
We also enjoy reading the accompanying magazine which explains the concepts and gives more information. We would normally set aside a special time each week to work on a box or the information inside, because there are always extra activities to do and things to learn. So the first week we would open the box, do the activities, and then for the next week or so learn more about the concepts from the magazine and maybe try out the additional activities mentioned at the back. As we are still on our Summer schedule (hint: in the Summer we have no schedule, we just go with what the weather allows!) we might wait until September to explore the other concepts, especially seeing as the deliveries are taking a little bit longer than normal.
To build the Spin Art Machine, we needed to find the instructions, identify all the parts and just get stuck right in. Addie and Bear take it in turns to read each step and then do what that step instructs them to do. Normally I can let them get on with following these on their own, but as this was aimed at a slightly older age range, I sat and helped them with it a little. They didn’t really need too much help, because the KiwiCo instructions are always so well written and easy to follow.
We started off by preparing the box to become a paint splatter container, and I just love that the first thing we had to do was put stickers over the boxes holes to make sure it was leak-proof – they really thought of everything!
Placing and assembling the motor and then the spinning disc, with its frame to hold the paper in snug as it spins, was really fun, and then we came to the breadboard. Never heard of that before, so we all learned something new! We took 3 resistors (and there are always spares with Kiwi Crates, so we actually had 6 in the pack) and placed them in the breadboard to create a circuit. We haven’t really covered circuits yet, and this is something I had hoped the Tinker Crates would introduce so we can start that maybe sometime next year.
Bear absolutely loved that there was a battery and battery pack to attach wires to and to make the disc spin in the box! He was so excited!
Once it was all assembled, it was time to place one of the pieces of paper that came in the Crate on the disc. We had lots of discussions about how we were going to place the paint. We decided first to put the paint on the paper and then turn the disc on. There were some great designs made (and maybe a little too much paint used), and the kids literally squealed with delight when they saw the paint spinning off the paper and hearing the tiny splattering noises of it as the paint hit the side of the box!
Next, we decided to set the paper spinning first and then drip paint in. We noticed that this created more circular designs and also thinner and more regular streaks of paint. They even timed how long they wanted their designs to spin for, turn the machine off, add some more paint and go again. We were able to talk about the momentum that kept the disc from slowing down for quite a while, and also how, by adding more resistors into the circuit, the slower the disc spun. Such a simple way to experience circuits!
With 2 (ok 3) of us making pictures, we soon started to run out of paper and paint (there was plenty for one person to use), but we cut up some white card and carried on. We scraped some of the paint from the side (now an interesting dark green colour), and also used Daddy’s trick when getting Ketchup out of the bottle (also using centrifugal force) to get more paint out of the paint tubes (completely Bear’s idea, I love how he remembered that trick!).
So, did we love our first Tinker Crate? Yes we did! We always love all the crates we get from KiwiCo to be honest, they never let us down!
For our Kiwi Crate subscription, we pay £20.64 for each box, shipped from the US. I think that is a bargain, and out of all the subscription boxes we have ever subscribed to, these are by far the best value and most well-thought out and educational. We really do love them!
KiwiCo also have a generous referral scheme, which anyone with a subscription can be a part of. Anyone you invite gets $10 off their first Crate, and you also get gifted with a $10 credit which can be applied to any of the lines available. If you get 2 referrals, you get the box for free and just pay shipping! If you want to give a KiwiCo Crate a try, here are all the different product lines they do.
If you want to grab your $10 off your first Crate, here is our referral link https://www.kiwico.com/Refer?i=SophieR9
Have you tried any of the KiwiCo boxes? We’d love to hear from you and find out what you think too!