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March 4 - Product testing

Today's normally scheduled activity of Juice Crew and Breakdancing was pre-empted for another round of product testing, but unlike last time our morning activity was turned into a focus group, we had several products to test today for Mommy. It was kind of a relief as our juicing materials were not quite where they should be, honestly (For those wanting to see some hardcore juicing action, may I recommend last month's offering).

Today we had four products to test:

Clockwise from Top Left: Wood Rocker, Magnetic Artist Finger Puppets and Plush Dolls, what I believe are called Tazoo magnetic blocks (?) , and Evolg Three finger mittens.

Clockwise from Top Left: Wood Rocker, Magnetic Artist Finger Puppets and Plush Dolls, what I believe are called Tazoo magnetic blocks (?) , and Evolg Three finger mittens.

First there was the iPhone powered air guitar "the Wood Rocker", then a set of artist-based finger puppets and plush dollls, then a set of strange magnetic blocks from Switzerland, and finally a set of three fingered touch-screen-compatible mittens from Japan. The kids went first for the magnetic blocks.

On the positive side, the kids seemed to figure out the way to put the blocks together pretty easily... which seemed a little complex to me, as you had to build a spherical core out of square and triangle wedges stuck to a metal ball. I'm still kind of unclear WHY you had to make the spherical core, as the rest of the construction seemed to be about attaching things to the outside of the core. It just seemed to me like more pieces and parts that could get lost, but there was something satisfying about using magnetism to make the core. The kids did get a little frustrated trying to put together the bird on the front of the package, but they eventually got somewhere close to where they needed to be and it certainly occupied them for a while.

The finger puppets didn't thrill them as much. I was able to make a quick vine for Chay based on an incident from the life of Pablo Picasso, in which he painted a portrait for Gertrude Stein:

In 1905, Picasso asked her to sit for a portrait, and the results (not Cubist, but representational) were dark, brooding, and strange. Picasso famously said, “Everybody says that she does not look like it but that does not make any difference, she will," which was quoted by Stein in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

We didn't have a Gertrude Stein finger puppet, so we used a Frida Kahlo finger puppet as a stand in.

So that was fun, but then we didn't really know what else to do with the finger puppets.

Then we broke out the Wooden Rocker guitar. For this you download an app onto an iPhone, strap it to the guitar, and then use it to strum out music. You can apparently tilt the neck to give it different harmonics, but that didn't work all the time. What was interesting here was seeing the different ways Zephyr and Lyric played with the guitar. Zephyr was more reserved, trying to figure out how to make something musical.

But Lyric... man, Lyric just wanted to turn around and rock out. How perfect does he look with a guitar, man? He had the attitude down!

I mean, he wasn't making music or anything, but that doesn't seem to be what the Wood Rocker is about. It's just about looking fresh and practicing your Eddie Van Halen moves. Maybe some more experimentation will bring us some more expertise with it, but I'll settle for just looking cool.

We didn't get a chance to try out the mittens before school, but we tried them at night and they worked fine, if perhaps looking a little odd.

So final scores: Wood Rocker B+, Magnetic Artist Finger Puppets B-, Tazoo blocks C, Evolg Mittens B. Tough but fair.