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Playing Together as a Family

Instill values, grow habits and preserve stories and memories by playing as a family.

Forming Good Life-long Habits

Children are sponges. There is no better time to help children form good habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Preserving Family Memories

Memories and family stories create a sense of belonging. As time goes on, its easy to forget the things that make your family unique. There are ways to preserve these memories for your children, grandchildren and beyond.

  • Family Play
  • Forming Habits
  • Preserving Memories

Easy to Edit Monopoly

Easy to Edit Trivia Cards

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  This game can be played a bit like Trivial Pursuit.  There are a maximum of four players.  You roll the die and go around the shamrocks on the outer edges of the board.  At each turn the player selects another player.  The selected player will then ask the player whose turn it is a question they come up with on the spot (usually a personal question about themselves).  If the payer answers the question correctly, they get a chip, if they get it wrong they get nothing.  Once a player has gotten a chip for every other player he or she can go on the diagonal shamrocks and head to the middle shamrock trio (the winning space).  Click on this image to download the PDF now. st-pattys-day-game
It’s snowing here today, so I got out this old board game and finished it.  I’ve been working on it for over a year, but lost interest last spring. Enjoy this freebie! candyland-winter
  This is a very simple “candyland” style game that you can play with a die.  Optional, make your own question cards about the story of Easter.  A player has to answer the question correct before rolling the die.  Enjoy this freebie.

Dot and Dash

Don’t know who Dot is?  Let me introduce you to the world of MakeWonder and Dash and Dot.  They are easy-to-program robots.  My preschooler even programs them in the capacity that she can.

I saw this activity on MakeWonder’s website and wanted to try it for myself. It looked like a great real world application for the Robots, and a lot of fun for the kids.

This was a great activity, but in reality has a few flaws. The “when Dot moves” command sounds great – every time he moves on the string his alarm goes off. That should mean an intruder rustling about would set him off. And intruders do. But the sensors on my Dot are so sensitive that he goes off with every draft of air. That got old really quick.

It seems like Dot is missing a command. The only when Dot commands that exist are: button 1, button 2, button 3, hear clap, move, shake, toss, look up, look down, lean left and lean right. Dot can hear a clap, why can’t he hear a voice like Dash does? That would be a good way to trigger the alarm.

Trial and Error: Dot as an Alarm Take Two

The only other option to try was “when dot shake trigger alarm.” Unfortunately, it takes a good hard shake to trigger this command. I was hoping for something in between a slight move (for the move command) and the hard shake (shake command) for the purpose of this Dot alarm system.


We probably won’t be setting this contraption up in the kids’ rooms at night. For that matter, we won’t probably be doing it again. This project was sort of a fail at my house. Until MakeWonder comes up with a less sensitive move command, we’re better off without the Dot Alarm.


This is a relatively simple build.  I couldn’t find any 1x1x2 bricks in an assortment of colors, so I designed this necklace with all 1x1x1s (just gluing them together to get the effect of 1x1x2s).  However, for a longer necklace this can be done in an assortment of colors with 1x1x3s.

In addition to the Lego bricks listed below you will need 5 2mm end springs, jewelry cord and krazy glue.

2 x		4255413	BRICK 1X1 - Earth Blue
10 x		300523	BRICK 1X1 - Bright Blue
6 x		4179830	BRICK 1X1 - Medium Blue
parts Step11

Lego – Bracelet Technic – Large - Pink

In addition to the Lego bricks listed below you will need 4 45mm x 2mm tube beads, string, Goop or Krazy Glue and a dremel.
13 x 4206970 BRICK 1X2 - Tr.Medium Reddish Violet
1 x 301026 BRICK 1X4 - Black
1 x 300926 BRICK 1X6 - Black
2 x 370026 TECHNIC BRICK 1X2, Ø4.9 - Black
2 x 370126 TECHNIC BRICK 1X4, Ø4,9 - Black
4 x 389426 TECHNIC BRICK 1X6, Ø4,9 - Black
8 x 663626 FLAT TILE 1X6 - Black
6 x 366626 PLATE 1X6 - Black
Step23 pink-lego-parts
prek-directional-skills-dot-and-dash   I saw a really cool lesson plan for 1st graders on programming Dash to move around.  I wanted to emulate the same thing to my PreK’er using tools she could grasp.  So we taped off trails for Dash on the floor.  We started with a start and a finish line, and ended up with a 90 degree angle and a house.  Using “Path” we were able to draw a line to match the line on the floor and then make Dash follow the line.  It took us several tries to get right on the right angle and the house, but we adjusted and kept trying again. DSC08840 DSC08852
I read something about integrating Dash and Dot into story-time in order to keep the imagination active and involved in reading.  I decided to add Dash to our bedtime routine.  My four year old helped me program Dash to shake his head “yes” and “no” so that he could help us read “Are you my mother?”  Maybe next time we’ll get more creative with the sounds and colors.  
Dash and Dot were added to our family for Christmas, 2014.  We spent a long time trying to get a phone to work with them (which ended up being silly since all the cool aps including Blockly and Xylo only work with tablets).  Eventually, for Valentine’s Day we caved and ordered a family Dash and Dot iPad.

About Instilling Values

Lego, board games and playing with intention.

InstillingValues is ultimately in the business of playing well with kids.

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