Before Christmas Cakie watched a movie called Meet the Robinsons, in which the central character is an inventor. She was totally fascinated by the amazing machines that he drew in his sketchbooks and how he created them from wires and bits and pieces. She started to make her own “inventions” using loose parts that she could find and she dug into our large drawer of odds and ends that included some old tv leads with various coloured ends. She loved these and declared she wanted to design her own “sweetie machine like Willy Wonka!”
Pop watched her big sister and made her own version suitable to her own stage of development. She squeezed the dough into pieces and pushed in large buttons and jar lids, pipe cleaners and wool, enjoying the sensory and malleable elements of play. She declared “I making sweeties!”
- Add some machine manuals and instruction booklets to provide a context of real-life literacy examples.
- Add clipboards, pencils, drawing pens, strain, rulers and protractors so they can plot out their designs properly.
- Supply children’s digital cameras so they can photograph the step-by-step process of the machine production line
- Watch a clip of designers and inventors and talk about the tools they use, the materials the parts are made of and what they may be creating.
- Read aloud the section from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Roald Dahl) about entering the Invention Room. Ask the children to listen out for descriptions of the machines and to think up their own sweets, toys or other products that could be created in a machine.
- Make a large scale machine from junk model materials based on their designs.