5 Reasons Why You Should Raise a Wimpy Kid

The story of Greg Heffley’s struggles has inspired millions, and it all started with a diary.

Research shows that active storytelling and creativity has long-lasting impacts on children’s development that carry on well into adulthood, meaning the stories they tell now can have a positive impact on shaping the adults they’ll eventually become.

Does your kid have what it takes to be a Wimpy Kid with great storytelling? Here’s why you should help them get there:

  • 1. Wimpy Kids Solve Problems

    Storytelling and engaging in creative fiction also helps children develop problem-solving skills for real-life situations. What happens in their stories may not be true, but by working through fictional problems kids’ brains learn to apply the same thought process to obstacles they may face in their day-to-day life.
  • 2. Wimpy Kids Get Along Better

    Children who engage in fiction—either from reading, writing, or having stories read to them—find it easier to understand other people. This helps them form better social connections earlier in life.
  • 3. Wimpy Kids Show Empathy

    By engaging with the reactions of characters in stories, kids develop the ability to grasp the thoughts and feelings of others. This means even outside of stories, kids can learn how to show empathy for those around them, whether on the playground or in the classroom.
  • 4. Wimpy Kids Create

    Aside from writing and making up new stories, creating tangible characters that kids can move and see interacting enhances stories for kids, and helps stimulate learning, engagement, and brain activity even more.
  • 5. Wimpy Kids Play

    Creating characters and writing their own storylines gives kids a head start for wide range of artistic pursuits, which plays a big part in being a well-rounded student (you can read more about how art plays a role in academics here). Kids can apply the thinking and engagement they get from storytelling to theater, movie-making, writing, or other art forms.

For a limited time, you can get a free 3D Diary inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid along with a free pack of 3Doodler Start Plastic with every purchase of a 3Doodler Start Essentials or Super Mega Pen Set and give your kids a guided way to help inspire them to create and tell their own stories, while creating touchable and permanent characters that they can use for endless future story combinations.

The Best Creative Toys for Summer 2017

School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean learning and creativity has to stop!

It’s no secret that 3Doodler is a big fan of tactile learning and imaginative play. And we’re not the only ones—the toy trends for 2017 show a strong focus on STEM and STEAM, promoting creativity and making education and discovery more fun.

Now that summer has finally arrived, here’s our recommendations for the top 11 toys to help kids continue to learn, explore, and create all summer long:

  • Get Your Move On

    Summer is the time for kids to seize the opportunity to get out of their classrooms and get their bodies moving with some outdoor play. Combining engineering and technical exploration with movement is a great way to do that! That’s the idea behind the Mover Kit from Technology Will Save Us. Kids build their own mover wristband, and then custom program it to react to all kinds of movements with different flashing lights. Kids can come up with new games and sequences to program into their movers to keep them engaged all summer long.
  • Take It Outside

    For kids who like to build and create, Flybrix lets you make your own drone using LEGO bricks. Kids can explore the different intricacies of drone flight with these kits designed for trial and error. Once completed, they can take their creations to the skies and see their creativity in action! Perfect for kids looking to jump start their career as a drone operator.
  • Tiny Tech, Endless Exploration

    When it comes to tiny tech, it doesn’t get much smaller (or cuter!) than the Ozobot. This pocket-sized robot comes to life with easy-to-use color codes that kids can draw.  There are also printable games and interactive missions and adventures through an app. The interface teaches kids the basics of coding and programming through fun, engaging games.
  • Lights, camera, action!

    For kids with a story to tell, there are several creative options which let them take the director’s seat for their own animations! StikBot Zanimation Studio helps kids create their own videos with creative characters and stories of their own design. Even in small spaces, kids can create scenes as boundless as their imaginations!
  • Light It Up

    Creating circuits is now as easy as drawing with the Circuit Scribe conducive ink pen. The included magnetic modules snap onto the circuits kids draw. Make simple or complex circuits or get creative and add lights, motion, or sound to your drawings!
  • Flex Your Imagination

    Bend, zip, connect, and snap to bring your imagination to life with Magnaflex. In these connectable kits, magnetic pieces connect in creative construction kits to help kids create everything from animals and vehicles to wearable accessories.
  • Be a Mini Mad Scientist

    Encourage your inner mad scientist with innovative tech toys that get kids looking at engineering in a completely new way. Turn a banana into a piano, or your favorite candy into a game controller with Makey Makey. The small circuit board can connect your computer with anything you can think of. With different apps and customizable programs, you can create your own drum kit with your leftovers from lunch, making learning about circuits and connectivity engaging and fun!
  • Creativity is a snap!

    Ready to ramp up your robotics, create your own connected devices, or take your engineering to the next level? The connecting blocks from littleBits offer 60 modules for combo creation, so kids can make their own gadgets to suit any purpose. Different kits let kids focus on smart home solutions, programming moving vehicles, and making music through tech. With tons of combinations, kids can explore how they can use technology in any setting.
  • Build It Your Way

    For budding architects who want to bring their fantasy house designs to life, Arckit lets you design, plan, and construct your own detailed building models. These free-form model kits let kids physically explore their design ideas and create realistic houses and building structures.
  • Turn Can't into Kano

    Create and code your own computer from scratch, build your own speaker, or construct a working camera. With the computer and coding kits from Kano, kids get hands-on experience on building, connecting, and coding as an easy and fun introduction to computer programming.
  • Do More With Doodles

    Of course, no toy list that focuses on tactile tech and creativity would be complete without our own 3Doodler. Our new 3Doodler Start Themed Kits let kids explore robotics, product design, and architecture while their imaginations are at their prime! For teenagers, the 3Doodler Create has endless possibilities for creative projects.

Looking to use this guide as a handy reference? Get the full guide as a PDF here.

Fan Creations: Fabricating Your Own Figurines

For some, the adventure doesn’t end when the book closes or the credits roll. Fan Creators take inspiration from their favorite movies, games, comics, and cartoons and make incredible things. To see what that passion can produce, we gave some hardcore fans the latest 3Doodler Create for two weeks.

Finding a 6-foot tall panther with alligator scales and an 8-foot tale that ends in a stinger is tough.

Jon Giordano should know, he’s looked pretty hard. Fortunately, he isn’t searching the wilds for a nightmarish cryptid, he’s looking for a miniature for his roleplaying game.

At work, Giordano is a “numbers guy.” He teaches math and is working on a PhD in the subject. But while roleplaying games are known for their dice rolls and probability tables, what attracts him to the hobby is the ability to tell stories. Creating and exploring fantastic worlds with friends is the heart of the hobby, and as he has ventured into more obscure role playing games, Giordano has run into a minor hurdle that has nothing to do with storytelling or imagination: a lack of miniatures.

Miniatures are an important part of many role-playing games. Conflict and combat are common themes in these games. “Players will often get into situations and have to fight their way out of it, and make use of markers to keep track of the complexities of positioning in combat. That way you can look at the board and immediately tell that those two people are fighting against the giant robot in the corner, and those two are ducking behind trees.”

“If I were playing a standard medieval fantasy game,” Giordano says, “I’d be able to find tons of useful figurines. Ditto for sci-fi.”

That’s why Giordano was excited to get his hands on a 3Doodler. He wanted to be able to create custom figurines that heighten the experience for players in his role-playing games, like one campaign based on Native American mythology. The 3Doodler struck him as particularly useful for games that feature obscure monsters and creatures that may not be sold in stores. With the original 3D printing pen in his arsenal, Giordano believes that he can create fantastical beings that are even more obscure than the dragons found in your typical dungeons.

One of the major advantages of table top roleplaying games is that players can encounter anything that the game master can imagine. Personalized galactic warrior? Magical talking flowers? Mystic double-headed swan? All things that could appear as adversaries, or allies, in a tabletop game. Unfortunately, finding figurines for the more outlandish creatures can be just as hard as defeating them in combat.

"You’ll get that wow moment that a description just can’t give, the 3Doodler will really let me show players what I’m imagining for them without relying on theater of the mind." Share

Giordano was able to produce three figures with his 3Doodler. The first was a corrupted bird god, shaped like an egret but with plumage darkened by negative energies. As a sort of a counterpart, he also fashioned a Buffalo minotaur who watches over a herd. The Buffalo spirit was attached to a spare base from a standard miniature to provide more stability, but the bird could stand on its own. Lastly, Giordano created a mercurial river spirit by letting the “flow” of plastic from his 3Doodler define the initial shape.

Giordano was really happy with how the figurines came out, and is looking forward to incorporating them into a future campaign.

“You’ll get that wow moment that a description just can’t give, the 3Doodler will really let me show players what I’m imagining for them without relying on theater of the mind.”

The 3Doodler is a great solution for anybody who wants to add a bespoke character to an encounter, or even modify an existing figurine. With imagination and a steady hand, almost any small-scale figurine can be crafted. The potential for crossovers, custom variations on existing figures, or anything else a game master dreams up are almost endless.

A 3Doodled figurine also has a few unique advantages over other miniature options. Imagine the personal connection you can form with a figurine you or a friend crafted by hand compared to a store-bought one. While paper cutouts are another way to create one of a kind representations of fantastic creatures, they aren’t very durable compared to solid plastic. Combining pieces from multiple figurines in a kit-bash is another fun alternative, but if that’s your preference, being able to extrude extra plastic from a 3D printing pen may come in handy as well.

Even mainstream tabletop game masters might want to consider using a 3Doodler. Dungeons and Dragons has over 40 years of published materials describing various monsters and enemies for players to encounter. Even without getting into many of the supplemental bestiaries published by other companies, there are hundreds of different creatures and monsters described in official materials. Some of the more obscure variations have figurines that are almost impossible to find, if they were ever made at all.

So next time you are planning an adventure and want to show off an obscure monster you found in a forgotten bestiary, the 3Doodler might be the perfect way to wow your players by conjuring one by hand. Or better yet, create something entirely new and give it a physical presence to match your own description.

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