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|Inside: your guide to making a Robot Cat as a Unique Mother’s Day Gift. The easy way!|
Are your kids fascinated by robots? Do they express interest in building their own robot but don’t know how to start? And when they ask you for help, do you have to tell them you don’t know where to begin either? I know how you feel.
To get around this problem, I’ve been buying my children robot kits. Over the years we tried many of them. We enjoyed kits immensely, but they are not as satisfying as building something from scratch with raw materials.
However, designing a robot with random bits and pieces entirely from your imagination is not easy.
But my kids do not stop trying. Their robot endeavors get a fresh boost of inspiration after reading some great robot books.
One of our absolute favorites is The Robot and the Bluebird by David Lucas. In my opinion, It’s one of the most melancholic children’s books I know (after all, it ends with the robot’s demise), but my kids don’t see it the same way. They say it’s a story about love, hope, and the joy of giving. You will have to decide for yourself. Not only is the story masterfully written, but the ink and watercolor illustrations are “amazing” (that’s the word one of my sons used when studying the illustrations of a junk pile on one of the pages, using a magnifying glass).
Our second most favorite robot book is hilarious. Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman is built around the idea of a misunderstanding between a robot and a kid. It invites children to ponder the world from the perspective of another being, a friend who happens to be a robot.
The most successful model my kids came up with on their own so far is a cat made out of construction paper equipped with a complex system of strings and drink straws. When you pull on different strings, the robot cat lifts a front paw, wiggles its tail, and twitches its ears.
I was very impressed with their design and persistence. But my kids were almost in tears with disappointment because they wanted to build a model that could move on its own. And they wanted to make it for me as a Mother’s Day gift! Oohs…
I suggested that they could combine their own cat “robot” with the motorized robot from a kit. And they did! It’s cute, and it moves! Win-win!
Are you interested in making a Robot Cat for one of a kind Mother’s Day present? Follow along
Robot Cat for Mother’s Day
What you need:
- 2 x Cat template (just Google “cat template” and pick one. I linked the one we used).
- Markers or Colored Pencils to decorate the cat (Pentel brand is our favorite)
- Construction paper (optional) or regular printing paper
- Drinking Straws
- Tape (like Gorilla brand: it’s the stickiest tape we ever tried)
- Robot Kit
*In place of tape, you can use glue. But then you would have to wait for it to dry before finishing the project.
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What to do:
1.Print out a cat template. I like to print it on regular printing paper, cut it out, and then use that template on cardstock of my choice. We decorated one template for the front of the cat and kept the second one plain since it goes in the back.
2. Decorate the cat. Maybe add a flower or a ball. We traced the bottom of a cup on a red cardstock to make a ball for kitty to kick. And my daughter wrote “Happy Mother’s Day” on it and drew a heart (Aaa…).
3. Cut drinking straws into one-inch pieces and attach them to the back of the cat with the tape. The idea is to place the pieces of straw along the line of movement. Think of them as the muscles of the body. The straws will keep our string from attaching to the tape and allow freedom of movement.
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4. Pull the string through the straws, ending with where you want “controls” to be. By controls, I mean the spot where you will be pulling the string. For example, if you want kitty to lift up a front paw, then the string would have to end at the top. As you pull it up, the paw will lift. If you want the cat to twitch an ear, then the straw has to start at the top of the ear and end at the bottom so that you can pull it back. Make a little cut where the ear attaches to the body of the cat to make the movement even bigger (but don’t cut the ear completely off).
5. Tape the front template to the back to seal all the inner workings inside of it. Make sure you don’t accidentally touch the tape to the string since it will prevent movement. It’s better to put the tape on the straws.
6. Follow the instructions in your kit to put together a robot. If you don’t have one in your house already, here is our suggestion: Spider Robot. As an alternative to buying a kit, check out a book from the library called How To Build Robots. It gives detailed instructions on how to build a motorized robot from scratch. But then you would end up buying things like a 1.5v DC motor and other exotic ingredients.
7. Attach your cat to the robot from the kit with tape. Voila! Push the “on” button.
Do you want to see how our cat robot gets around? Click Here to watch our video on youtube.
Looking for more Science Ideas?
This month we were invited to participate in the Storybook Science Series hosted by Inspirational Laboratories. If you want to see more amazing science inspiration from wonderful bloggers, click here.
Beep! Beep! Share in the comments below if your kids are into robots!