As a young boy, I truly loved experimenting with electric stuff. There was one occasion when my oldest brother showed me how to light up a Christmas light bulb using a battery, a short cord, and electric tape. That “light bulb” moment led to many afternoons when I sneaked into our kitchen and got our electricity toolbox to create “inventions”, including one with a 220V plug.
It makes me laugh whenever I remember what happened when I plugged my “invention” (a series of lights with a switch) into an electric outlet. In short, it caused a short circuit and outraged Mom. But I’m glad that these moments happened, not of course when I angered Mom but when I realized I could understand electronics, which is a handy skill that I still utilize now whenever I organize events or troubleshoot something at home.
This kind of skill is best learned through experience or projects that allow a child to regard mistakes as a part of the learning process. That strong desire to make one project work is just right to stimulate a young mind’s creativity.
The gurus behind Atelier’s inventive classes have, once more, thought outside the box; they’ve made that box a playhouse for creative minds. They’ve just launched Atelier Learning Boxes, a product line of step-by-step learning kits, with hands-on materials and supplies for themed projects for kid artists or young makers. Each box contains a project on art or art history, architecture, culture, craft, electronics, engineering, magnetism, or mechanics. The mention of these topics makes the geek kid inside of me jump and excited over the thought of finishing yet an “invention” — hopefully this time, something that will not make Mom angry!
According to Atelier, the main concepts of the “stackable” boxes are to discover and stimulate a kid’s interests, while allowing them to enjoy and understand the underlying theories which each project is based on. They also make for great gifts!
Jodi Yang, one of Atelier’s team members, told me the idea behind the stackable boxes came from a recent Taobao search, where she was looking for an eco-friendly gift item. “The Learning Box is made of wood and cut by the laser-cutting machine at OpenFab. Each box can be piled up, recycled, and reused as a desktop drawer or storage.” So aside from teaching kids creative skills, the boxes, according to Yang, also remind them to live sustainably.
An Atelier Learning Box costs between RMB 180 and RMB 350, and comes with a set of materials and a bilingual manual. If you’re interested in purchasing an Atelier Learning Box, call Yang on 6416 1614 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also add their WeChat (ID: atelier_apas).
Photos: Courtesy of Atelier