MaKey MaKey Project!

IMG_3388 Today I had the chance to play with a MaKey MaKey. What is a MaKey MaKey you ask? Well according to their website… “A MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between.”

We had gotten a few of these at my work and I asked if I could play around with it to get an idea of what it can do. It is a pretty impressive idea. You take a simple interface such as a keyboard and mouse, strip it down to just a small circuit board. Get some alligator clips and the ideas are endless.

My first thought was to make some sort of game controller. I try to be crafty but sometimes I don’t hit my expectations. This might have been one of those times but still, the results are pretty cool. So I gathered up some extra cardboard from a Frozen toy, Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil, some Play-Doh, and the MaKey MaKey. I planned out how everything would layout on the cardboard. I did however did not account for the fact that whatever layout I do, I need to do it backwards so it appears the correct way on the front of the controller. I forgot that part so my controls are on the reversed sides of where they should be.

IMG_3390Once I had everything planned out I used the aluminum foil and made my pathways. This was pretty simple. I used clear tape to get everything secured. I also poked a small hole through the cardboard where the Play-Doh would attach to the foil.

If you do not have any foil you could use the lead from a pencil. However, I found that using it with the cardboard was not conductive enough for the MaKey MaKey. Paper worked fine, but not the cardboard so much. Which is a shame because I had originally planned to use pencil lead but I had to throw an audible and use some aluminum foil instead.

I also made what I call a “power ring”. For the MaKey MaKey to work properly you have to complete a full circuit. So you have to hold a grounding alligator clip. I found it easier to manipulate everything if I just take a ring of foil and attach the clip to that and then put the ring on my finger, hence “power ring”.

IMG_3392Now that I had my power ring and foil secured to the cardboard I needed to attach my alligator clips to the board and the MaKey MaKey. The MaKey MaKey is labeled so it is best to match that up with your labels on your cardboard leads. Did I mention it’s important to label? If you didn’t label, go ahead and do that now.

With everything labeled and attached it was time to get my controller buttons ready. I used two colors of Play-Doh and molded them into a few different arrows and circles. Then I attached the Play-Doh to the foil sticking out from the holes I poked earlier.

My controller is now complete. I plug in the USB cable to my computer and wait for the basic drivers to load. I fire up an emulator with Tetris running and see if it works. I configure the emulator to use my controller and I try it out. Success! Everything works! So after a few rounds of Tetris I get out the GoPro and record a video of everything you just read. Abby even stopped in to give the new controller a try. Check it out below!

Have you used a MaKey MaKey and made something cool? Tell me about it in the comments below! You can also check out some other really cool projects using things like bananas, humans, stairs, and more! Check them out here in the MaKey MaKey gallery!


Earth Day 2015

EARTHEarth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network,[1] and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.[2]


This Earth Day our family will be doing our part by picking up some trash along our walk. We also have a few plants that we would like to get into the ground but I am thinking with frost on the forecast tonight that may need to wait a few more days. We picked up an awesome Dunecraft Eco Plant Pals called Fly Trap Fred that we hope will become a ferocious carnivore that screams out “Feed me Abby!”. But we all know nothing as cool as that will ever happen in our household. So we will just care for Fred like we do all of our other pets and plants. With love, sunlight, and whatever kind of food they need.


Keeping our planet nice and clean shouldn’t be a recommendation, it should be something that has to be done. Everyday should be an Earth day. Each year us humans produce more and more waste. Showing our kids that we as adults care about Mother Earth is very important, especially at a young age when children can be impressionable. They see what mom and dad do and where they throw their trash. So if you have a habit of just tossing your wrapper on the ground, so will your kids. If you take your trash where it is suppose to go, so will your kids.

Abby and I will be keeping a journal of how Fly Trap Fred is doing and we will keep you all updated on his progress. I think at her age it is the perfect time to introduce Abby to the scientific process. Although she cannot write exactly what she is thinking I will be there to help her along the way. I want her to see how the plant is growing and make guesses on what will happen next. We shall see!

Here are four great ideas to get you and your family engaged in some Earth Day fun!

  1. Go on a walk and cleanup along the way.
  2. Start a garden! Flowers, veggies, and more!
  3. Plant a tree! If you join the Arbor Day Foundation, you can even get ten free trees!
  4. Make a craft out of nature. Use leaves, pine cones, sticks and more to make a creative project!

What are some your favorite Earth Day activities to do with your kids? Share them in the comments below!



A Little Frozen Fix

My daughter ran into the room with a stream of tears running down her face. In her hands she had her Elsa crown. The small jewel emblem that shows that this is an Elsa crown fell off. Since the crown wasn’t broken and just the jewel fell off, I knew I could fix this in no time. Have no fear, dad to the rescue!

First things first, let’s see what we are working with. A plastic crown and a plastic jewel. Check.


The materials for the job. Scrap paper courtesy of Abby. A glue gun, a glue stick, and the broken crown.


Plug in the glue gun, insert the glue stick and let it heat up. I like to set the glue gun on the scrap paper so I don’t get glue on anything.


Once heated put some glue on the back of the jewel. In the pictures you can see where the original glue was. I probably should have removed the old glue, but for this fix, I didn’t find it necessary.

IMG_3129 IMG_3130 IMG_3131

Place the jewel back on the crown. Press firmly and set aside to dry.


There you have it. Nothing spectacular or fancy, but Abby was absolutely delighted to have Anna and Elsa back on her little curly head.

One Second Everyday 2014

During the course of 2014 I recorded one second of my life everyday for the entire year. This included some happy memories and also some sad. Seconds of my kids laughing, seconds of them crying. There are seconds of just about everything. I recorded all of the clips on my iPhone 5c except a few seconds which were shot on a GoPro. I edited everything together using Sony Vegas 11. It was a fantastic project and one that I am continuing into 2015.

I got the idea to do this project from Cesar Kuriyama who did a Ted Talk in 2012. His talk was very inspiring to me and I recommend checking it out if you have a few minutes.

Cesar created his own app to make recording your own one second video extremely easy. While I don’t use his app, but instead use my own method to create my video you are still more than welcomed to visit to find out more about his app.

So here is my final result. The music in the video is The Winner by DeVotchKa, which was featured on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. I had to edit the track to make it a little longer but it is still beautiful all the same. If you decide to make your own video please share it in the comments below!