Recycled Robot Craft & Cleveland Upcycle Parts Shop

Madman turned 5 last week and this meant it was time for his first real birthday party. I have a lot of feelings about both my baby¬†turning 5 and birthday parties in general but I’ll spare you those thoughts for now and just share this awesome craft we did.

Madman is super into robots and has been for a long time. So several months ago I started looking for ideas on having a robot-themed party. I found some great robot decor and goodie bag items on clearance in the Target  Spritz aisle. But with 90 minutes to fill at the party venue I needed a craft that was 1) appropriate for 4 and 5 year olds and 2) would take up about a half hour. After crowdsourcing on Twitter and browsing the internet I found this great craft on TheArtAnnex.com. Once I decided on the craft I knew exactly where to get the supplies.

robot_prototype

If you’re a CLE parent (or a crafter) and you don’t know about the Upcycle Parts Shop you are missing out. I discovered them when they had kids craft tables at the Cleveland FLEA but hadn’t been to their shop until earlier this spring. It’ is a wonderland.

“What is The Upcycle Parts Shop? ¬†Simply put, we‚Äôre an affordable art supply store stocking pieces, parts, nuts and bolts that have fulfilled their original purpose and are now looking to be transformed and repurposed into something beautiful and useful. ¬†We offer classes and workshops in addition to a curated selection of materials on the shelves.” {yanked directly from their website} If you live in the Cleveland area give them a visit and have fun exploring.

I emailed Upcycle to check to see of they had CD cases for my craft – they did and set some aside for me. Last weekend I headed over to pick them up and find more “robot parts”. I had a BLAST … every time I turned around I found more shiny objects just begging to be part of the robot. The staff was super helpful but also just let me browse and do my thing, which was nice. I just kept piling my treasures up on a table until I was ready to check out.

What did I get? Washers, grommets, bunches of random beads from broken jewelry, what looked like fancy christmas ornament hooks, a brand-new bag of tiny silver hearts, old keys, plastic caps, book rings, and more. I found a ton of laminate samples – many with a metallic finish – ¬†that would make perfect “heads”. I even found some sheets of colored paper and a stack of old folders that would work as a sturdy backing. I had more than enough supplies to make 16 robots. I spent $11. Let me repeat that: ELEVEN DOLLARS. I told they person checking me out “I feel like I’m robbing you!” The only things I did’t get there were the googly eyes and the craft sticks… I spent more at a big box craft store on those 2 items than I did on the rest of the materials at Upcycle.

That night I prepped my prototype robot (above) so the kids would have something they could visualize. Then I prepped the craft¬†by gluing the folders shut, gluing the colored paper to the front (spray mount was great for this), then gluing the cd case “bodies” to each one. That way the kids could just go to town building their robot (and I figured having the glue dry would make thing go smoother).

At the party I had set all the parts out in an old muffin tin. The kids each picked a “body” and a “head” and I glued the head on for them. I had some old clothes pins to hold the laminate piece in place for a bit until the glue dried and I’m glad I did that. Once the heads were on the kids went to work picking and placing the parts. I had both glue sticks and Elmer’s glue out at each table and their parents helped them with the gluing. They kids had SO MUCH FUN! Some of them got really creative and went back and forth to the parts table over and over. There were robots with interlocking parts, robots with earrings, dancing robots and even a cyclops robot!

robots1 robots2
a
bout half of the robot creations

This was a really fun craft Рmost of the parents even said they had fun helping. WIth the prep work I did this was perfectly suitable for 4 and 5 year olds and occupied about 20-30 minutes of party time. I could see older kids having fun with this, too (Matilda, age 8, made one and said it was fun). I highly recommend it!

*This is NOT an ad for Upcycle Parts Shop. I’m just really glad I found them and want other people to know about what they do! I paid for everything and I have no affiliation with them.¬†

Chipotle’s Picky Eater Challenge

Disclaimer: This post is part of Chipotle’s Picky Eater Challenge. I was given coupons for a family meal.¬†As always, my¬†thoughts are 100% my own. As a regular Chipotle¬†customer I was happy to be a part of this campaign.¬†

A few things you need to know: 1) My daughter Matilda is 8 years old and a somewhat adventurous eater. I say “somewhat” because while she will happily eat octopus and raw oysters she also refuses to even try anything that might be spicy or try again a food she has disliked in the past. 2) When she was about 4 or 5 we were at Chipotle,¬†she had a bite of my barbacoa and declared everything at Chipotle “way too spicy”¬†and has refused to eat there ever since. 3)¬†Madman is 4 years old,¬†stubborn as mule, and survives on cheese, bread, and chocolate milk. 4) Taco Tuesday is never, ever skipped in our house.

So when Chipotle contacted me about taking the Picky Eater Challenge and said they’d send coupons for the 4 of us to eat a meal there I took them up on it immediately. Mark and I would get our beloved burrito bowls, the kids could try anything they wanted and if they refused to eat it we wouldn’t be out any cash. Win win.

Chipotle’s kids menu: “Let your kids get creative and build their own taco meal. Choose any three ingredients (one meat, sofritas or guacamole) and two crispy corn, soft corn or soft flour tortillas. Or choose from a small cheese quesadilla, with the option to add meat, Sofritas or guacamole, with a side of rice and beans. All Kid‚Äôs Menu items are served with fruit or kid‚Äôs chips, and juice or organic milk (plain or chocolate).” [from Chipotle’s website]

Last Tuesday we hit out our local location and Matilda, a fan of all things taco, got busy building her own tacos.

Picking tacos

She picked chicken, a mix of Fresh Tomato Salsa + Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa, cheese and soft tortillas. Then she selected chips and added an order of guac.

Selecting Salsa

Madman surprised no one when he got a cheese quesadilla, rice and beans (which he gave to Mark), a clementine and chocolate milk. This is a picky eater’s dream menu and I loved that I knew he’d eat every bite.

Cheese, bread and milk FTW

Once we were at the table Matilda absolutely loved DIY-ing her tacos Рputting a different mix of ingredients in each tortilla then mixing things together to eat them with a fork burrito-bowl style.

building her tacos

And guess what? She LOVED the food – nothing was too spicy and she ate every last bite of her chicken. She gave this “taco Tuesday” a big thumbs up.

Chipotle Thumbs Up

Thanks to Chipotle we now have a reliable place to get good food when Mark and I don’t feel like cooking. I’m sure we will be back soon on another Taco Tuesday (or Thursday or Saturday!)