Makedo Find & Make Space PodSpring 2012 Toys
First step: get a lot of cardboard boxes and set them out for your kids to play in. When they are done (and it may take a while to tire of a big cardboard box!), rip the boxes apart and then build something wonderful.
The Makedo Find & Make Space Pod makes it easy to do with a safe-for-little-hands tool for cutting and puncturing cardboard, and a pile of plastic connectors for riveting pieces of cardboard together. The Space Pod kit includes instructions for making a space pod out of cardboard and stickers to decorate it. Kids can get inside the space pod and play astronaut when they're done. The real point of the instructions, though, is to provide a jumping-off point for using the included tools. Ultimately, the goal is creative play; the connectors are reusable, so after you make the pod, you can tear it apart and build something else.
Though the tools are largely kid-safe, you will need adults to supervise, direct, help, and provide a large pile of cardboard. My son loved that there was a knife he could use to cut cardboard. At 7, he is at the entry age for this activity, and was not as engaged in the actual building of the craft as he was in the playing. In fact, we had to build "around" him, as he and his brother entered the space craft when just the first pieces of cardboard were set, and they continued playing as our building went up around him.
This was not a casual activity, with three adults building, it took about 2 hours to piece together a cardboard cave that only mildly represented the space module pictured on the box: but that's sort of the point of this kit. Create something unique and creative. And, it was certainly a hit-it was hard to coerce our kids out of the space pod after it was built!
I know our kids really loved the final result, more than the building, but I believe older kids will really shine in customizing their own creation and building their own structures. This is an excellent activity kit: perfect for a day when you can invest a few hours in creating something to be used for many hours more.