This year, he was kind of struggling. As Lola is getting older, she is getting more into tween-ish territory and he really wanted to get her something that they could learn about and connect over together.
A few Google searches led him to littleBits, which sells these nifty little kids of magnetized "bits" that you connect to one another to make circuits and inventions. (Google it -- seriously, they explain it so much better than I could.)
So, on Christmas Eve, Lola got her first set of littleBits, which they promptly used to make:
1. an artbot (a robot thing that draws circles)
2. a robot (a little cardboard box guy)
OK, so then it just so happened that Ray took the whole week between Christmas and New Year's off from work. We played around with some ideas as to what we could do, such as making a little mini-vacation to the Cities, or maybe Duluth. Ultimately, though, we decided that since we just spent a few dollars on Christmas, that we should save up and stay home.
But we were also looking for something to do together as a family.
We thought about the littleBits pretty quickly so I went online to find some project inspirations and, instead, found that there just so happened to be a fun little competition (#BitWars) going on that encouraged people to use littleBits to create Star Wars-themed projects. In a nutshell, you basically had to make up a Jedi story, videotape it, and use your littleBits to create three things: a lightsaber, a droid, and a tool that assists your Jedi in some way.
We happened to stumble onto this thing on Dec. 30. The deadline to upload and enter everything was Dec. 31.
We didn't expect to win, but we figured it would be a good chance to learn our littleBits better, to do something together as a family, and also to give Lola her long-asked-for chance to make a YouTube video.
So, we got to work...
I won't say that we really knew what we were doing. We just had fun with it and did the best we could. We learned a lot and we made great family memories. Which I think was the whole point.
Just in case anyone wants to see the final video ... you can do so here.