PLIX Play Cafe: Inflatables!

Welcome to the PLIX Play Cafe series of Inflatables!

We’ll be using the forum as a space to share our creations, ideas, and reflections to support asynchronous connections, inspire each other, and grow a resource for the larger PLIX community.

For August 2nd’s Play Cafe, these are some of our playful activities:

  • Having tea and snacks together
  • Zoom Background
    Download and use these graphics we made for your zoom background!
  • Play:
    Toilet Paper Tube kazoos
  • PLIX Activity:
  • Wonder:
    Can we use air power to replace other sources of energy?

Here are some ways our pen pals may share on this thread:

  • Pictures of your version of the activity
    During or after the Play Cafe <3
  • Pondered Wonderings & Resource links
    To our question above
  • Playfulness
    Emojis, ideas, stray thoughts, and more <3

Hi everyone,

The pattern in this origami paper reminded me of the “koizilla” that shows up at the end of Book 1 in Avatar: The Last Airbender, I thought it would be cool to turn him into a paper inflatable --like him rising from the sea. :grin:

At my last library, there was a “wind farm” one town over --they used windmills and converted the energy to electricity, I believe …

Thanks PLIX and everyone for a fun hour! Looking forward to more Play Cafes!
For those of you who have ran similar STEAM types of programs at your libraries, how much teaching do you do about the related concepts … do you just call it STEAM and just let the kids do their thing/experiment (like passively, they’re learning about STEAM by doing/experimenting) or do you try and have a short teaching moment? I do tons of arts & crafts programs, but STEAM programs always intimidate me for some reason, like I feel I need to teach/have a clear educational aspect to market it as STEAM …


Hi TP kazoo band!

This week, we:

Thank you all for joining us, we’ll continue band practice next week at the same time.
-Ada \(ᵔᵕᵔ)/

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Hi Jennifer, thank you for sharing your koizilla inflatable with us. That paper cut-out detail is amazing!

Here’s some info with an illustration about how wind turbines work. For generating electricity, most of the time, we want to use natural or steam energy to spin a thing. Dizzying!

Also you’re definitely the kind of person that we’re here to support :sparkling_heart:. It can feel very overwhelming to run STEAM programs without the STEAM knowledge. Instead of worrying about whether we have the knowledge, we shift to our focus on facilitation skills for creative STEAM learning, which means that we are guides for the experience of learning rather than the knowledge experts.

Seymour Papert states it beautifully: “The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.”

Hi pen pals!

This week, we:

  • Made reed instruments using a plastic straw! (Here’s a link with step-by-step pictures) You can wrap some paper to the end as a cone to make it louder, use the flexible part of the straw to change the pitch, or add holes in the middle of the straw to play different notes!)

  • And tried out the Native-flatables remix of the PLIX Inflatables activity, with paper, and exploring our local native fauna and flora!

We struggled a little bit with the paper, if you’re trying it out, consider making it bigger so there’s more space for air flow!

Thank you all for joining us, we’ll see you next week!
-Ada (ᵔᵕᵔ)/

Hello and welcome! I love your koizilla!

I’ve done loads of STEAM programs over the last decade. The first few years, I tried to educate myself on the topics I was presenting. No matter the subject, someone always managed to ask me a question I couldn’t answer. Then I started doing a program every week. No time to immerse myself, so I had to just wing it and answer questions with, “Wow, that’s a great question. I don’t know. Let’s try it and see.”

That worked for a lot of things. It didn’t work when I got a grant to build and code robots. I spent most of my time for that saying, “Wow, that’s a great question. I don’t know. But it might blow the sensor or something, so let’s not try that.” LOL

The other exception was when running slime-making workshops. I didn’t encourage mixing things we didn’t know about. Borax and contact lens cleaning solution with some dish soap. Uh, let’s not.

Don’t be afraid to admit to having no idea what will happen if… And while I don’t necessarily teach, I think providing the materials and the idea for making inflatables along with a really simple sample is teaching.

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Here’s my wind engine (aka a balloon) blowing up an inflatable!

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Power to the cherries!!!

I tried to upload a video but it didn’t work–I got two of the three puffy diamonds to inflate!

@leilalib13 Leila- I love your creation!

The connected puffy diamonds are so fun and unexpected. It’s one of the cherries :cherries: to top off a cozy and playful Wednesday.

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Hi pen pals!

This week, we:

  • Shared local festivals our local cities celebrate.
  • Doodled what our city’s parade floats would look like in the sky!
  • And explored improvisational inflatables with lots of paper and tape.

Thank you all for joining us and inspiring each other
-Ada (ᵔᵕᵔ)/

Oh and here’s my improvisational inflatable using paper diamond shapes. I added folds to have a more controlled effect of expanding and collapsing, and added lots of tape to make sure there’s no air leaking.

Thank you, Ada and Jean! That makes sense --framing ourselves as facilitators or guides is definitely less intimidating! :smile:

Vivien - love how you used the balloon to power your inflatable!
Leila - You got the washi tape to work! I like how you connected your three shapes.

My last two inflatables was a bat for week 2, that one I tried to fold like the squishy face inflatable but “sideways” because I wanted the wings to expand and contract, but it didn’t quite work … maybe because I changed the proportions?

This week, I randomly attached triangles to … form a blob. Perhaps I should have planned out what I wanted do since I had trouble figuring out how I wanted to close/seal the shape and it was kind of already 3D without having to inflate it. :sweat_smile:

Thank you again for the opportunity, PLIX!

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Blobs are great. It could participate in the BlobFest someone mentioned!

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