Since going to Maker Faire, I am hoping to incorporate LED’s and such into some of these crafts…we’ll see how it goes. I would love to make some simple circuits to go with crafts. I also need to repeat, if you purchase a pattern, be ethical and ask permission to sell anything you make from the pattern. I have taken several arts in business classes, and you would be AMAZED at the number of people who make money off other people’s patterns and trademarked characters (without permission or paying royalties).
My mother will be the first to tell you that I am the last person she would have thought would get into any kind of fiber arts. When my mom offered (for the umpteenth time) to teach me to knit when I was a teen, all I could think of was the boring navy blue or white sweaters I had to wear as part of my Catholic school uniform. Don’t get me wrong – I knew my mom was very talented and quite capable of knitting other patterns (and honestly, I didn’t have the patience to sit down with a large pattern). Still, I think wearing her creations as part of my uniform ruined it for me until a couple of years ago.
Fiber arts have been a prominent part of geek society. If you are wondering what knitting a sweater has to do with being a geek, look up yarn bombing, the incredible science behind making wool into yarn, or, as I shared earlier in the week, patterns representing your favorite TV show.
The fiber art that has kept me in knots is crochet amigurumi. This hobby is not limited to cute little dolls – oh no! The geeky possibilities are endless! There are several books dedicated to geeky crochet along with infinite possibilities on the internet from various artists (some of whom share their work on Ravelry).
Crochet amigurumi is a great activity to do with your kids over a long vacation. It is not just a craft for girls, as you will see below – I found many examples that would interest boys and girls (click on images to enlarge).
Once you get the hang of following patterns you will find that you can take shapes you have learned and apply them to your own patterns. You can make creations for your kids, and your kids can make little creatures for themselves or to give as gifts. Plus, this is another activity to work on fine motor skills.
The books pictured above can be found on Amazon: Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi, Crobots: 20 Amigurumi Robots to Make, andAmigurumi (Cozy). I also recommend signing up for Ravelry.com. Ravelry is free to join and a good number of the patterns are free*.
My latest project has been making Pokéballs for my daughter’s 5th birthday while playing Dungeons and Dragons on Friday nights. What creations have you made?
*Please be ethical when using someone’s pattern. Unless stated, do not re-sell patterns or sell items made from the patterns. Most geeky patterns are of trademark characters. Selling trademarked characters can get you into a lot of trouble!
Meh. I don’t have this game anymore. VIP forgot about it as soon as the review was completed. It was a unique idea that, in retrospect, was produced in a less than effective manner.
December 21, 2010
The game comes with a plush baby that a Wii remote is stuck into. The game primarily uses the nunchuck for most mini-games. If you are familiar with other games in the “Mama” series, the set up and look of Babysitting Mama is similar. Bright colors and cute animation is used. The game starts with one baby, and goes through several series of mini-games to earn points, medals, and additional babies.
Game Play: I personally tested the game and also observed a 12, 7, and an almost 5-year-old playing the game. Most of the mini-games were difficult for the younger girls. One mini-game that had stumped me (giving the baby milk), was easy for the 12-year-old after a second attempt. The two younger girls still enjoyed playing even if they didn’t do well at the games. Any games that use the baby involve rocking or patting the baby. The nunchuk is used for a majority of the games, and can be awkward to handle when it is attached to a baby.
Design: You can unlock pictures, mini-games, and new babies as you get silver and gold medals (similar to the other games in the “Mama” series). The ‘tween enjoyed unlocking new things, playing new mini-games, and getting better scores on games she had already played. The two younger girls liked the interaction with the baby while watching Mama. I played through several of the mini-game series and started finding them repetitive. After a while I was content watching the other girls play.
Message: Two positive messages I took away from playing this game. The first one is prominent in all of the games. Even if you don’t do well, Mama will fix it, or you will do better next time. Everything is positive and happy. The other message is more serious, and one kids should respect especially if they have little brothers or sisters: be gentle and don’t shake the baby.
Baby: The baby was actually the one part of the game I didn’t really approve of. Though, my daughter was an instant fan of the baby because it is made from a really soft fabric. I liked the originality of having a baby for a controller, but now, along with game play annoyances, I am trying to find a place to store the baby when it is not in use. The remote has to sit just right in the back of the baby to register game play movement correctly. The twelve inch tall plush baby is awkward to handle when you are trying to play the game primarily with the nunchuk. And finally, the baby is really not used for more than lots of rocking and patting during the game. I don’t know if the baby is really necessary for game play or if it is just a really cool (and soft) marketing tool.
Personally, I found some of the mini-games controls to be touchy, some of the games were repetitive, some of the goals were frustrating to reach, and the baby (although cute) was annoying. But the three test subjects really liked the game. The two girls we were visiting are anxious for me to bring Babysitting Mama with me the next time I visit.
The kids, who are the demographic Babysitting Mama is aimed at, really liked the game. If you know a little girl who likes Wii, the “Mama” series, and dolls who is between the ages of 5 and 12 this game is probably a safe purchase.
Babysitting Mama is available for $39.99 on Amazon.
*This game was given to me for review purposes*