Star Wars :: Art, Coding & Just Plain Silliness

Around our house, I hear a lot about the Star Wars universe. Is it the same in your home? It may have something to do with the new movie premiere,  which three of us saw in December.  It may be because the youngest has been reading every. single. Star Wars book he can get his hands on.

A picture of 9 children's books about Star Wars

All of these are library books!

At eight-and-a-half, he hasn’t seen all the movies. They are a bit intense for him, but he has seen Episodes 4-6, and is quite ready for Episode 1. (He lets us know when he’s ready to watch another one). Even though he hasn’t seen all of the movies, he already knows what happens in the story; thanks to those books.

In fact, all three of the males in my household like to read Star Wars books. I am the only one who abstains from reading about lightsabers. They look cool on screen, but I’ll save my precious reading hours for a non-fiction book, or ahem…a good romance novel.

color pencil drawing of Star Wars character, Boba Fett

Boba Fett. Drawn by R, age 12.

Star Wars Art

Thank goodness I can find other ways to dip my toe into the Star Wars universe. Recently, we came across Tom Angleberger’s book, Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling. We played “pencil podracing,” and created an origami Yoda. After all, Angleberger is the author of the Origami Yoda book series.

On the left is the “gameboard” for pencil podracing. You flick your pencil and that constitutes your turn.

Pod People

Since we’re chatting about Star Wars, I have to mention these wooden peg dolls which I made a few years ago. They live on my older son’s shelf, but I was inspired by the dolls from Homemade by Jill.

A picture of two wooden peg dolls painted to look like ObiWan Kenobi and Darth Vader from Star Wars

Handpainted by Liz.

Star Wars Coding

Now that I’ve chatted about arts and books, I can get to the meat of this post: Star Wars coding. Last month, I came across the book, Using Scratch: Star Wars Coding Projects. Can you guess where I found it? Yes, at my local library (I love that place).

Since it involved the icon-based programming language Scratch, and Star Wars, I knew it would find a receptive audience at my house. (I just love it when I’m right). My youngest son was enamored. Two of his favorite things — combined!

a picture of a kid looking down at a book while working on a computer

C, age 8.5, working on a project from Using Scratch: Star Wars Coding Book

Scratch Project Name

Since he’s a homeschooler, I asked if he was interested in doing a project from the book. When he said yes, I added it to his weekly schedule. The instructions were clear enough that he was able to get started right away. After all, he’s been working with Scratch for almost two years. However, he is only 8.5, so after the first set of instructions…he got stuck. I was called in to help. First issue: he wasn’t sure how to replicate the very fancy graphics shown in the book.

We talked about how they were probably made with Photoshop and brainstormed some ways  he could make something that looked “close enough.” He’s pretty easy-going and this suggestion was sufficient for him to continue. Unfortunately, I could see the images becoming a frustrating point for a more controlling child. A few available graphics might have been a nice addition to the book, but I digress…

Teaching Moment

One of the best things about a “follow the instruction” project is the opportunity to guess the next step. Since I was helping him, I asked him to think about what the programming might be for the upcoming situation. For example, he created “gravity,” so I asked him to make Bobba Fett float up, instead of down. He had to play with the programming.

However, once he managed to figure it out, we went along in the same vein. He would copy the program and I would ask him what he thought it might do…before he ran the program. He wasn’t always right (and neither was I), but it got his brain primed to retain the information for later.

“Jet Pack Adventure,” made by C, age 8.

Star Wars Silliness

Lastly, there may have been two milestone birthdays celebrated this past February. We also have some great friends who were happy to celebrate – Star Wars style.

Homemade Boba Fett helmet. Made by R, age 12.

Death Star cake. Made by a friend.

a picture of cake pops and a cut out of a tiny Millennium Falcon

These cake pops were meant to be droids, but looked more like asteroids. Cake pop recipe adapted from Elana’s Pantry.

May the Force Be With You

a picture of a woman dressed as Princess Leia.

Princess Liz…I mean, Leia.