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May 2012

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.

 

 

FUN

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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