KiwiCo Tinker Crate Mechanical Bird
The latest Tinker Crate arrived just in time for my son’s 9th birthday and there couldn’t be a more perfect time as this boy loves his Tinker crates passionately. We gave him a Go-cart, which he absolutely loves, but the crate was also properly appreciated and it came without me worrying, searching, and ordering anything in advance.
We have been getting Tinker Crates for about a year now and Martin’s enthusiasm hasn’t diminished yet, unlike his sister’s, who’s getting a bit disillusioned with her Doodle crates. Tinkering and building is what Martin loves, so I can envision us remaining faithful to Tinker crates for a while longer.
I always enjoy the amount of time he spends tinkering and away from his computers. Each project requires concentration and direction following – both very beneficial for him. He gets so focused that his sister and I have to be silent around him and we happily oblige. I’ll pretty much do anything to keep him away from screens and video games.
KiwiCo crates cost just $19.99 and arrive each month bringing an exciting project each time. All the materials are included, except the most basic household items, like paper towel and scissors. All the projects are STEM related and some, like Doodle crates, focus on art too. I also enjoy that Martin can complete his projects totally on his own, unless he makes an occasional mistake that needs to be corrected patiently. I step in if something has to be undone without damage, but he takes it from there.
This month his crate was all about mechanical movements. The day we received it was so beautiful that I offered working on it outside while I suntanned and swam nearby. Even his sister joined us with her crate, which she totally loved for a change. My heart was singing seeing them both so hard at work learning physics concepts and engaged in art while I had a great ‘me’ time and our dog slept right beside the kids in the shade. Things can’t get any more perfect, can they?
The mechanical bird wasn’t very difficult to build, but required some precision. One mistake was made and some tears started getting shed, but the mistake could be fixed with my help, so it was all good soon again.
The bird parts were made of paper, particle wood, and plastic. Some sticky foam was also involved. The body and wings had to be assembled first, then the stand, and finally the gears. The first wing didn’t come easily, but the rest of it was easy. The trickiest part was attaching gears so that they would move just the right way and make the bird’s wings flap. The end result was very cute and sturdy, so we’ll be keeping it on a display shelf in Martin’s room.
Besides the project, as always, there is the Tinker Zine with extra info and good reading. Martin’s teacher recently told me to steer him towards non-fiction books, so this is perfect. He will find interesting facts about birds and their flying capabilities. There are some explanations about avian aerodynamics – subject that interested humanity for centuries. The Tinker Zine analyzes differences of flapping, soaring, hovering, and bounding flights with great examples.
After all the useful info and physics lessons, there is another project to be complete – flapping paper crane. It doesn’t seem difficult and can be done together with his sister, who adores paper works like this.
Finally there is a short lesson of anatomy, where a bird’s wing is compared with human arm and surprising similarities are pointed out. And as always, there is a library with some books related to birds and paper cranes.
After he finishes his projects, Martin started venturing into KiwiCo website to look around. This time he discovered some Halloween related extra kits for purchase, so I might just have to relent and buy him a haunted house or something. It’s his birthday month after all and he wants a STEAM project, so why not, right?