Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Building With Your Inner Child

Building With Your Inner Child


How many of us remember nostalgically playing with Lego or Duplo blocks as a child? The seemingly-endless designs on offer, the pride in building your first Star Wars model; or simply arranging your blocks into the biggest tower in the whole of creation – a 4ft Babel that you confidently felt dominated the living room even more than the TV. In short, these were good times, and the saddest part about growing up was learning to leave those toys behind – like living the end of Toy Story 3 over and over again, but with added melancholy.

However, it turns out we were wrong. Although it might be a little unseemly to watch an adult playing with great big Duplo blocks in their twenties, the team at Nanoblocks have come up with a cheeky solution. Whereas most toys get bigger as you get older (your first toy car versus your first real one, your first Tamagotchi versus your first real dog and so on), Nanoblocks work on the exact opposite principle: they’ve gotten smaller. With the smallest block measuring a mere 4mm x 2mm, these are strictly for people who won’t swallow the pieces. In other words: adults like you and me.

The basic idea seems to be to nurture your inner child while participating in the fiendishly difficult challenge that is assembly. The packs range from animal-themed ones, to battleships, to iconic monuments of the world – essentially, whatever you’re interested in building, you can find a kit for it. But the real beauty of Nanoblocks comes from the stylistic look of your creations: built out of almost imperceptibly tiny pieces, the level of detail you can achieve is phenomenal, without ever losing sight of their essentially ‘blocky’ nature. Once finished, the little models look like escapees from Minecraft, or possibly a retro 8-bit videogame – something from the days when Sonic was just a glint in some Japanese developer’s eye. In short: they’re like bottled nostalgia; a potent combination of all things childlike and all things retro.

But the appeal of Nanoblocks goes beyond sheer nostalgia value. Put simply: they’re a challenge; a piece of kit you can work into any shape or size – whether you want a comedy little mascot to perch beside your Mac as you work; or something so fiendishly complicated that building it would take longer than solving the most-challenging Sudoku. Nanoblocks have everything from micro pianos to recreations of the Space Shuttle launch site in Florida; from the MIR Space Station (with tiny Earth below it), to a reindeer doing a poo. And those are just the official kits: once the most-creative of Minecraft fans gets hold of these, there’s no telling what strange contraptions they’ll come up with!

building inner child Building With Your Inner Child

In essence, then, Nanoblocks are a means of establishing communication between your adult self and your inner-child. The part of you that wants to play and express its creativity by sticking blocks together; and the part that needs a stimulating challenge, an intellectual exercise that will nourish the mind, even as it uplifts the soul. At least, that’s the intention. Question is: do they work?

Well, I won’t lie to you – I had fun putting together a couple of the models. A very tiny, deluxe version of Neuschwanstein Castle now sits beside my laptop, making me feel a little bit like a giant – and even more like the big kid I really am at heart. Although the range is currently a little limited, I can’t help but feel like these guys are onto something. A year down the line, who knows: we may all be queuing up outside ‘Nanoblock Land’ in Windsor; in search of that ephemeral memory of our near-forgotten childhoods.

Written by Sydney K. Michaelson.

Sydney K. Michaelson loves creativity and inspiration, and was delighted to stumble across Nanoblocks whilst browsing through Gift Library.

Photo Credit: Lloyd Morgan

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3 Ways To Create An Asthma Free Home For Your Child

3 Ways To Create An Asthma Free Home For Your Child


It is important to create a safe environment at home if your child has asthma. You can do this by knowing what type of asthma triggers can be found in your home and how you can eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure. The task of proofing your home from possible asthma triggers may seem overwhelming, but it is necessary especially if your child has the tendency to react to multiple triggers. Aside from proofing your home, you might want to consider having your child take maintenance medication or receive allergy shots. Through asthma prevention and management, there will be a lesser risk of asthma attacks and the need for asthma medication may be reduced as well.

1. Improve The Air Quality In Your Home

Improving and maintaining good indoor air quality inside your home is an important factor when managing asthma. Asthma can easily be triggered by irritants such as perfumes, wood smoke, and tobacco smoke, cleaning products and cooking gas. To be able maintain good air quality inside your home, here are a few useful tips –

  • Never allow anyone to smoke inside your home
  • Refrain from using scented products and opt to wash clothes with unscented laundry detergent
  • Avoid air fresheners and scented candles
  • Change the air conditioning filters regularly
  • Invest in an air cleaner with a HEPA filter for your child’s playroom and bedroo

2. Eliminate Or Reduce Dust Mites And Mold

Two common asthma triggers are dust mites and molds. Dust mites are tiny pests that live in household dust feeding on shed dead human skin cells. They are often found in bedrooms, in rugs and in upholstered furniture. Mold on the other hand is tiny plant like organisms that thrive on any type of surface in damp places such as basements and bathrooms. They quickly multiply by spores which can trigger asthma.

Tips To Reduce Dust Mites

  • Avoid feather and down pillows
  • Vacuum and dust your home at least once a week
  • Use damp cloths when dusting
  • Wash and dry bedding in hot settings and use mite proof covers
  • Remove carpeting, upholstered furniture and rugs from the bedroom
  • Wash or clean window treatments regularly
  • Wash and dry stuffed toys in hot settings

Tips To Reduce Mold

  • Fix leaking faucets and pipes
  • Ventilate bathrooms and basements
  • Remove wallpaper and wall to carpeting from bathrooms
  • Use anti-mildew paint when painting damp areas in your home
  • Replace moldy shower curtains
  • Avoid placing plants in the home
  • Clean visible mold with a chlorine bleach and water solution

3. Control Triggers From Roaches And Animals

Animals and cockroaches are also major asthma triggers that can be quite difficult to control. The protein found in urine, dander and saliva of animals can cause severe allergic reactions which is dangerous to your child with asthma. Animal hair and droppings can also collect pollen, mites and mold.

Just like how animals can trigger reactions, allergens found in the droppings, urine, saliva and bodies of cockroaches can also affect your child severely.

Tips On Controlling Animal Triggers

  • Keep pets outside the home and out of the bedroom and playroom
  • Do not allow your child to touch and play with your pet
  • Wash and groom your pet every week
  • Wash your hands after touching your pet

Tips On Controlling Cockroach Triggers

  • Remove piles of newspapers, paper bags and boxes from your home
  • Never leave dirty dishes and open food around
  • Keep the trash container closed and bring them out of the home every night
  • Have a pest control professional treat your home every few months

Valerie Banks is a freelance writer specializing in health and well being. She offers information on how to keep homes safe from various illnesses and recommends for professional services to prevent the infestation of pests in homes that can trigger asthma and other illnesses.

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