Friday, June 14, 2013

Science Board Sweet Shop

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My children attend a school where all the kids participate in the school science fair from Kindergarten on. My children do not like to throw anything away. Ever. So I find myself in the midst of spring cleaning this year stumbling upon multiple science fair board stashed in the back of closets, shoved behind the piano, and generally just all over the house, outliving their usefulness by several years. A fold-able science board has a lot of potential for creative reuse. I decided to transform my daughter's research project, "Does Playing Music Affect Your Grades?" into something new and fun.

A typical science board is made of nice strong cardboard and stands on its own. Ours came from Staples and cost about $5. It really could be made into all sorts of simple pretend play structures. I was going to make a puppet theater until I remembered that my kids never play with cute puppet theaters we make. I thought I would make it into a store. I came very close to going with a "French Bakery" stand but then at the last minute decided to give my kids a surprise and make a sweet shop. My directions are going to be general, IE I don't tell you how many inches to measure for the window. I think most people will come up with their own store ideas and just use my idea as a jumping off point.

What I did:
  • First I needed to cut a window/counter where business transactions can be conducted. I used an Exacto knife, I reinforced the window by gluing and duct taping some long pieces of  fabric binding from behind the board to under the counter. This will prevent the window from opening too far.

  •  I needed to cover all of the writing on the board and the spots where the binding is attached. I used inexpensive white fabric for the majority of the board and felt for both sides of the counter. I used tacky glue for most of this but also sometimes used some duct tape to stretch stuff around the front of the board.
  • I needed some felt candy to decorate the shop. I made 2 spiral lollipops, a hard candy with crinkly wrapper, and candy dots, The candy was really fun to make. I got my ideas from searching "classic candy" and looking at the images that came up on the internet.
  • I made a sign, also out of felt.
  • I got lucky and found an old piece of fabric with pom poms that I had hanging in a doorway one time so I used duct tape and glue to put it across the top.
  • I glued the sign on top of the border.
  • I went to the candy store and bought lots of candy. This was really excellent. I love candy but I have terrible teeth from a childhood spent overindulging so I don't often go to the store and buy 9 bags of awesome candy!
  • I used buckets that I had from Oriental Trading (I purchased them for a school fun fair thinking they were way larger) to hold the candy.
  • The buckets hang over the edge of the board with bent wire. I used a roll of beading wire but I think you could also use some wire coat hangers or even purchase those hooks that go over the back of doors.

Time for the debut of the Sweet Shop. In Chicago this year the kids are still in school. We will be there until June 24. As you might imagine, morale is pretty low around our house after dinner when we are trying to do homework and it is summer outside. Last night I told the kids that after homework they could come to my craft room and purchase an item from a new store that I had opened.  They needed to bring a nickle. They had not seen the Sweet Shop while I was making it so they were so thrilled. Plus they don't get to eat a lot of candy so this was like the absolute last thing they expected from me. I am thinking about using it as an incentive for these last 6 days of school, then employing it at my son's birthday party when it is time for the kids to leave. He can man the shop and have them pick candy out to put in their goody bag.
I think you could use these boards for lots of creative shops. The thing that took me the longest was covering the old writing. If you bought a blank board it would not take too long to quickly turn it into something with the barest additions. Corinne made a little wild west centerpiece a few weeks back and it would be fun to get several boards and set up a wild west town for a party. You could have a jail, a bank, a saloon, etc. The best thing is it all folds up when you are done and you can stick in in your closet or behind your piano and save it for a later day.


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