Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creating a Connection....

This photo captures the spark of joy that happens when kids get empowered by making something. A paper bag, tape and crayons become a pirate hat and create the opportunity for a young mind to play. It's a simple but powerful energy. Instill confidence, create a connection and change the world.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Earth Day from ScrapKins!
We are so excited to officially announce the launch of the ScrapKins Digital Storybook on Speakaboos.com today! Our brand new story "The Pirates of Smelly Cove" follows the ScrapKins on a pirate adventure when they dig up a treasure map in Scrap City and build a ship for a swashbuckling high seas story.
We hope you read it with your little ones to celebrate recycling and creativity .

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our Ship-tacular Video from NY Maker Faire

In case you didn't get a chance to join us as NY Maker Faire this year. We've put together an awesome video to show you just what you can create with a milk carton. Ahoy!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween: Zoe's Guest Monster

       Zoe's Pumpkin Monster, Age 6,          Mountain View, CA 

In honor of Halloween, I'm sharing an awesomely spooky monster that makes the ScrapKins proud. (Although I wouldn't want to meet it in a dark alley.) Zoe's monster has skulls for hair, a pumpkin nose, a flat mouth because he doesn't smile, big ears with earrings and a bloody chin. Yikes!!!! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

FUN FRIDAYS VIDEO: Kids Talk About ScrapKins!

Ever wonder what kids think about the ScrapKins? Check out a video archive from our ScrapKins Show to learn who Wrecks, Swooper, Chomper, Digger, Stacker and Itcher are.

Monday, September 23, 2013

MAKE IT MONDAY: MakerFaire Ship Builders!

We couldn't be prouder of our builders at this past weekend's World MakerFaire NY 2013, our ScrapKins Ship Building exhibit, taught hundreds of kids how to transform milk cartons into sailing ships and launched them down our raging rapids river in the ScrapKins Lagoon! We we're awarded 2 Maker Faire Blue Ribbons as "Editor's Choice" for the festival and hundreds of smiles. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TEACHER TIP TUEDAY: Top 10 Things I've Learned Teaching Art to Kids

Top Ten Things I've Learned Teaching Art to Children:
1) When you teach children Art you will receive free Hugs. (Be prepared :)
2) You will be called by a new name. Call it affection or lack of attention but soon you will be christened with a nickname. Mr. Yanish is now "Mr. Radish." (I kind of like that one.)
3.) To kids, the promise of being able to paint is like another birthday. (Paint a lot.)
4.) Prepare to be observed. I was asked why my hair was gray the other day. (I'm okay with that one but I did want to retort "Why are you so short?")
5.) Copying = Admiration. Some kids are natural creative geniuses, some need encouragement, and some will copy anything you show them. When I was young, I copied Mickey Mouse, Heathcliff and Garfield, so when a child wants to make their monster look exactly like my monster, that's admiration kicking in. (When 2 kids also wanted to name their monster "Mr. Yanish", that's weird.)
6.) Make it MOVE! Building a milk carton pirate ship is pretty cool but when I carried around a little tub of water and "tested" their ship and the kids saw it floating, I got some serious fun points. When you create a project that is interactive and moves, kids get engaged. 
7.) Demo. Demo. Demo. Kids have a lot going on in their small heads. Don't tell them to cut out a square. Show them. Hold it up high so they can see it. Then do it again. One more time.
8.) Make Little Jokes. Don't worry about a stand-up routine in class but a little silly goes a long way. Example: We we're cutting out eyeballs from cardboard so I stuck one to the forehead of a boy. I also brought in a tub of dirt for our gardening project and told the kids I made them brownies. Heh heh.
9.) Know the Secret Sign for Quiet. Most teachers have a "quiet" signal. Some clap their hands, some ring a chime. Learn it. Use it. Even art needs some quiet time.
10.) Create an Outline then Discard it. Know the basics of what you'd like to get done with the kids then figure that you'll be lucky if you get half of it done before a fire drill interrupts class, someone spends 5 minutes refusing to work without "pink" scissors and 4 kids can't stop giggling about burying "Mr. Radish" in the garden.

Monday, September 9, 2013


We're getting in ship shape for our ScrapKins "Ship Builder" exhibit at World MakerFaire NY on 9/21 and 9/22 at the NY Hall of Science in Queens. Thought I'd share a few ship prototypes we're testing--milk carton (super stable), rectangular plastic bottle (stable) and round plastic bottle (unbalanced, needs side stabilizers). Come out and visit us at MakerFaire and you can design your own ship and test it on the ScrapKins Canal! Have an inspiring Monday :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

FUN FRIDAYS: VIDEO from Maker Faire

It's 15 days until World Maker Faire NY, the largest DIY festival in the World. We're busy preparing our amazing new exhibit for 2013. Thought I'd share our video from 2012 to get you excited about the spirit of 20,000+ people all interested in making things. Enjoy. See you on Sept 21st and 22nd!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


How do you keep students engaged after they make an art project?  We don't call ScrapKins Recycled Art Projects "arts & crafts" because we're instructing kids how to engage with a project AFTER  they build it. It's not supposed to be a nice pretty picture you hang on the fridge. It can be but we feel the distinction is important. So you get the kids excited to make a recycled art project and they build it, what next? Get them to connect to what they made. See that green guy above? What's it's name? What does it eat? What's it's super-power? I want to know who he or she is! (You can look at our ScrapKins monster bios for inspiration. Is your monster friends with the ScrapKins? How woyld they spend the day together?)

Work together with students to create that custom story. Once you establish that foundation (and it works with anything you happen to build. For a car or boat it might be: Who drives the boat? What is the boats special power? Can it help change the world?) you can build the story and adventure. 

Now you can start to PLAY. Write a comic book as a class, have a race, make a play, create a show and tell. 
If you need any advice or suggestions, email me at brian@scrapkins.com