Kids

December 16, 2013

Tweens with Tools on CP24 Tuesday December 17!

This week we launched 5 new kids' DIY videos and tomorrow morning I'm going to be meeting 10 tweens at Ryerson Public School in downtown Toronto at 6 in the morning to spend a few hours on CP24's Live Eye building some really cool projects from our new season of Lowe's Family Fun Projects.  Hope you'll join us for the Live Eye!

Lowe's Family Fun Projects - Tween Season

October 16, 2013

Lowe's Family Fun Projects - Tween Projects

Tweens are hugely creative and we've been having a blast shooting new episodes featuring their designs - here are a few:

Zoe (12) and her swinging treehouse lounger

Lowe's Family Fun Projects - treehouse swinging bed

Ella (9) and her climbing net

Lowe's Family Fun Projects - climbing net

Lucas and Kevin (11) with the chalkboard desk they built (steel pipe base)

Lowe's Family Fun Projects - chalkboard desk with steel base

We'll be posting tween episodes on Lowe's Canada in time for the Christmas break - check out our other kids' projects (ages 3+) if you ever find yourself stuck indoors with rowdy kids!   

December 03, 2012

Moving video about kids and power tools

This really touched me.  What a great way to connect kids to their inner brilliance.  

 

September 11, 2012

Super-easy decoupaged mirror frame to build with your favourite kid

My friend Shyenna (7) has an eye for colour.  When there's paint around, she cuts loose.  Her choices are instant and fearless.  I love watching her because it inspires me to go with my own instincts, even though I've always doubted them.  

And this project isn't just about decorating with fabric and paint.  We also built the mirror frame from scratch.  It's a simple, fun project that any beginner can accomplish.  (Plus there's a monster who lives in the mirror!)

 

August 10, 2012

National Tradesperson Day is coming September 21!

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Photo by keltickelton via flickr.com

This just in from Irwin, makers of some of my favourite hand tools.  (I've upgraded the term 'Tradesmen' to Tradespeople in a few places and like it better!)

The second annual National Tradesmen Day will be held on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, and IRWIN® Tools encourages all Canadians to make plans to recognize Canada’s tradespeople – the men and women who are the backbone of our nation. The country’s skilled craftsmen should be proud of their incredible skills and talents.  And they deserve to be recognized for their hard work, which is often performed in difficult environments under stressful conditions. 

National Tradesmen Day, held each year on the third Friday in September, is a day when the nation pauses to thank skilled workers like auto mechanics, roofers, bricklayers, plumbers, woodworkers, electricians, carpenters, and others who help keep Canada running. During last year’s inaugural National Tradesmen Day festivities, many people found ways to show appreciation and gratitude for tradespeople by holding celebrations, recognition events and activities throughout the country. 

It’s vitally important that we say thanks and find ways to encourage skilled trades as valuable career choices for young people. Without these hard working men and women, Canada’s infrastructure and our way of life would come to a screeching halt. Despite the fact that these jobs are so important there is a looming skills shortage in Canada.  The Construction Sector Council projects that over the next 8 years there will be a shortfall of 156,000 skilled workers across the country.  This shortfall is driven primarily by expected retirements.  Between 2012 and 2020 there are 219,000 workers expected to retire and not all of these jobs will be filled through expected workforce growth.  The projected gap of 156,000 workers is a serious issue that could create project and service delays in many important areas of the economy.  

This year, IRWIN is coordinating multiple activities throughout the nation and is partnering with retailers and community groups for National Tradesmen Day celebrations. IRWIN offers some ideas Canadians can use to show their appreciation of skilled tradesmen:

  • Call your favorite handyperson and simply say “thanks for all you do.” 
  • Send this Video Link to tradespeople you know and say thanks.
  • Stop by a local jobsite where tradespeople are working and leave a box of donuts or cookies. 
  • Buy a tradesperson a cup of coffee.  
  • If your friend, husband, wife, daughter, or son is a tradesperson, make September 21 an extra special day for him/her. 
  • Support trade schools that train future trades workers, and urge governments to adopt workforce development policies for skilled trades. 
  • Talk with your children about the endless career opportunities in skilled trades, and visit Skills Canada (http://www.skillscanada.com) to learn more about a national organization serving teachers, high school and college students preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations. 

For more information visit www.nationaltradesmenday.com or http://www.facebook.com/nationaltradesmenday.

 

July 26, 2012

$50 Lowe's gift card giveaway

via www.mommykatandkids.com

Canadian blogger Kat at MommyKatandKids built our camp stools project with her two little ones and they did an awesome job! She's offering a $50 Lowe's gift card to a reader who wants to try one of Lowe's Family Fun Projects with their kids or grandkids. Check out the contest here.

July 03, 2012

Proof that little kids should be allowed to use power tools

In case there's any doubt in your mind about whether someone as young as 4 years old can use a drill or a saw, just watch these faces...

(See 15 easy building projects for kids 3-9)

 

May 25, 2012

An indoor/outdoor fort made from PVC pipe

Princess Castle

Who doesn't love a fort?  Especially if it looks like a medieval fantasy pavilion!  I made this little castle with my 3-year-old friend Charlotte using four 10-foot lengths of 3/4-inch PVC pipe.  Charlotte loved fitting the pieces together and painting her own banner.  Instructions and video available with other kid-friendly summer projects at Lowe's Family Fun Projects

May 15, 2012

Not your average growth chart

Last week I built a cool growth chart with my 4-year-old friend Quintyn (with some help from his little brother, Kai).  The design has sandy beaches (made from sanded caulking), sea walls (made from pea gravel), tiny houses (made from 2x2 poplar scraps with sandpaper roofs) and the metal tape from a busted tape measure, which acts as the yellow line going up the middle of the road.  Magnetic cars slide up and down the tape to measure kids' heights. SO FUN! I'm learning so much from these little kids with their fearless approach to design and colour.  No hesitation, EVER!   A video and free plans for the growth chart are available now at Lowe's Family Fun Projects.

Quintyn&Kai&Mag2

Growth Chart

May 07, 2012

Lowe's Canada invests in kids with new online building series

 

Here's our latest media release...
Photo-Mag&Quintyn1

Lowe's Family Fun Projects pilot series features 20 kid-friendly building projects designed by Mag Ruffman (toolgirl.com) for kids 3 and up.  The first 5 projects are now live online at lowes.ca/kidsvideos

From chalkboard tables to hockey nets built with PVC pipe, Lowe's Family Fun Projects give families video instruction AND free downloadable plans.  

“The videos are shot with real kids, not actors, and the free plans are insanely detailed with tonnes of photos,” says Mag Ruffman (Ruffman Entertainment Inc.), series creator and producer, “because text without pictures makes learning frustrating, especially for kids.  We deliver an extremely graphical package to make it easy for anyone to make these projects.”

The kids' projects require simple hand tools along with a few beginner power tools.  Kids learn clamping, gluing, sanding, driving screws, painting and taping, while adults do most of the cutting.

“We’ve shot 12 episodes so far,” says Ruffman, “and every one of the kids has asked to come back again.  They love building, they love using their hands, they love being free to make some of their own design decisions, and they love taking home what they built!”

Ruffman and partner Daniel Hunter (executive producer) pitched the series to several television networks last year, but the liability issues around kids using tools became a barrier.  

So they turned to Lowe’s Canada.  “Lowe’s already conducts regular Saturday workshops for kids. They were quick to respond to our proposal and I’m really proud of this partnership.” says Ruffman, whose previous television series taught women and beginners to attempt home repairs and build their own furniture.

Ruffman is on a mission to help children develop their 3D aptitude and design cognition. “We’re at a turning point in history.  There have been 2 generations now of kids who receive little or no encouragement to use their hands.  They’re directed into professions and discouraged from entering trades or becoming artists or artisans.  There will be a shortfall of 1,000,000 skilled tradespeople by 2020 in Canada.  After 4 million years of evolution, today’s kids have the potential to be the best tool-users of all time.  But they’ve got to get it early or key brain development is lost, eye-hand coordination doesn’t develop, and you get students at MIT who have to be hauled out of class and put in practicum courses because they have no idea how to use a hammer or which way to turn a screwdriver.  Human brilliance isn’t only in the mind; it’s in the hands.”

Family Fun Projects will launch officially in mid-June when all 20 pilot videos are online.

 

 

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ToolGirl

Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie