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Are you the creative type, who is tired of finger painting? If you’re in need of an art project upgrade, we’ve found some easy, unique ideas and pinned them to our Getting Crafty Pinterest board.

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December 21, 2017
Matthew Farber

Games, Hacking, and the 21st Century Skill of Systems Thinking

Creativity, Kids And Creativity, Learning Through Play, STEM Education / Play

All games are systems: the rules (or constraints), components (game pieces), space (from a soccer field to a game board to a tablet screen), and goal (to win!) interconnect. A game’s interconnected system is driven by player actions; as players learn a game, they also learn its system. Scholar James Paul Gee wrote, “Games encourage players to think about relationships, not isolated events, facts, and skills. In a game like Rise of Nations, for instance, players need to think of how each action taken might impact their future actions and the actions of the other players playing against them as they each move their civilizations through the Ages.” Similar to the aforementioned civilization building game Rise of Nations, the city management series SimCity tasks players with balancing a complex urban system. Another systems thinking game is Plague, Inc., in which players release a pathogen into a map of the world. Playing it illustrates how actual infections spread around the globe.

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December 07, 2017
Jackie Edwards

Empowering Children Through Game Design

Creativity, Girls & STEM, Kids & Coding, Learning Through Play, STEAM

Jackie Edwards started her career in software development, moving on to teach IT to young adults at a variety of colleges and schools. After taking a career sabatical to become a mother, she now writes full time, usually on her chosen specialist area of IT, software, and tech. 

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November 02, 2017
Melinda Contreras

How to be a Game Inventor

Compose Music, Creativity, Insider, Kids And Creativity, Learning Through Play

Unsurprisingly, a frequently asked question at ThinkFun is “How do you find your games?” Or, “Who comes up with your games?” We love these questions because we are hopeful someone will soon be inspired to create their own game!

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October 19, 2017
Rachael Tom

Sweet Recipes to Trick or Treat Yo’ Self

Creativity

Halloween is the time of year where people look forward to eating all their favorite sweets for a week straight. As delicious as they can be, it also fun to make your own! Whether it be for a Halloween party for thirty people or three, these sweet recipes are sure to spook and satisfy. Have the kiddos help out and they may have a whole new appreciation for their favorite candies too!

 

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September 23, 2017
Rachael Tom

7 Crave-Worthy After School Snacks

Creativity

The kids are home and hungry, but dinner isn’t for hours. In fact, after a long day, you might be hungry too! What will you make? After school snacks can be more than just a bag of chips or a sleeve of cookies—they can be lots of fun and exciting to eat! Here are some of our favorite easy recipes from our Pinterest board that will satisfy your kids’ cravings while also being great, healthy choices for them. What’s more? None of these delicious snacks will spoil their appetites for dinner!

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September 18, 2017
Matthew Bain

Visualizing Music Through Code

Compose Music, Creativity, Music Makes You Smarter, STEAM, People of Compose Yourself

Matthew received his BFA and MFA from The Ohio State University in music and 3D computer animation. His thesis work, entitled "Real Time Music Visualization: A Study in the Visual Extension of Music", is the foundation for his company, Live Music Visuals. Matthew's visualization work has been exhibited in numerous performances including the Drums Downtown concert series, PASIC, and SIGGRAPH. Matthew recently worked for Dreamworks Animation as a layout artist and contributed to movies like"Penguins of Madagascar," "Madagascar 3," and "Rise of the Guardians." He also plays the piano and composes music in his spare time. 

My name is Matthew Bain and I would call myself an artist who codes.  I started learning to code in college and it really wasn’t until graduate school that I started to understand how coding could influence and improve my artistic designs. The ability to create a “for loop” and iterate over hundreds of items at one time enables me to generate visuals that can respond to music in real time. This coding ability has also served me well in my previous job. I used to work for DreamWorks Animation as a Final Layout Artist.  Some of the movies I worked on included Megamind, Madagascar 3, and The Penguins of Madagascar.

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