Category: Pure Fun

Snap Circuits!

Over the past few weeks we have had deliveries almost every day.  Most of these deliveries are the curriculum that I have ordered to use with the boys in our homeschool over the 2015-2016 school year.  One of the boxes contained  Snap Circuits Jr.

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As soon as the boys saw the box they wanted to open it.  For the next hour, all three boys worked together building the different projects within the project book.

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After some whining, Thing 3 ended up playing with the Snap Circuits for the next 4 hours.  Greatest babysitter ever!

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Every day since then, the boys have built at least one project, if not more.

Have you played with Snap Circuits?

{Science} : Index Card Tower

One day while searching Pinterest, I came across this STEM activity using index cards.  I was intrigued because it is building things, which my boys love, but it was also a cheap science activity that could be used in a larger group setting, like the  homeschool group we started.

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Index Card Tower

Supplies:
index cards

Directions:
The children were divided into pairs, and were given a stack of index cards.  They were told to build the highest tower they could only using the index cards.  They could manipulate the cards in any way they needed, but they could only use the cards I had given them.  We had the pairs move to different areas in our house so that they could not see what the other groups were doing. After a given amount of time the kids walked around to see, analyze and learn from the different groups.

This activity was a lot of fun with a large number of kids, because you were able to see so many different thoughts when it came to building the tower.  We would not have seen the different building ideas, had it just been the boys and I.

 

Thing 1 and his partner’s tower

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Thing 2 and my creation.  (I was Thing 2’s partner, but I really didn’t help much because I was off taking pictures.  I just came back
a couple of times to talk to him.

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Thing 3’s tower.  In order to keep him from messing up Thing 1 and his partner, I gave Thing 3 his own cards so he could create.

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Thing 3 also built this dog after the activity was over.

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Have you ever built with index cards?

{Science} : Paper Airplane Design

One of the things I have wanted to incorporate into back into our homeschool is some “just for fun” science.  We love our science curriculum, but at times I miss some of the more random, fun science stuff we used to do.  So each week I plan to have one fun science activity.

This week it was to have the boys design paper airplanes and determine which design flew the best.

Paper Airplane Design

Supplies:
Paper (we used printer paper)

Activity:
Make a bunch of different paper airplanes.  Experiment by folding that paper different ways.  Which design goes the farthest?

Easy Peasy.

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My ultimate goal with this was to get the boys, especially Thing 1 to realize that it is OK to have failures. Thing 1 is very much a  perfectionist, and I want to help him realize that failure happens.  However, you can learn so much from your failures and make something better the next time around.

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As suspected, Thing 1 was disappointed that his first attempt didn’t work.  However, after a little bit of coaching, he kept trying until he built the airplane that went the furthest.

This was a simple and safe way to challenge him, without him really realizing it. I am such a sneaky mommy.

What fun have you had with paper airplane?

 

{Art} : 3D Hand

A couple of months back the boys and I went to an art studio for a painting class.  While we were there the boys saw a hand that looked like it was 3D.  Of course, they really wanted to try to make their own.  So a couple of weeks back, they boys attempted to make their own.  However, the patience required left our attempt somewhat unsuccessful.

First we started by tracing our hands.  Next, the boys were to draw straight lines until they reached their hand.  Once inside the hand, they were to draw arched lines until they reach the other side.  Needless to say, the boys lost patience pretty quickly.

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However, this is what Thing 1 was able to accomplish before he was done with the art project.

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Thing 2’s.

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Here is mine.

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Have you ever done a 3D handprint?

{Science} : Fingerprinting

One thing I wanted to do with our school this year is to have more fun.  One area it is easier to have fun while learning is science.  A couple of weeks ago (yes, I’m that far behind), we learned about the uniqueness of fingerprints.

First, I showed the boys pictures of fingerprints on the internet.  We discussed how fingerprints are used to identify people and talked about how there are three different types of fingerprints.

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Next, using black ink, we fingerprinted everyone in the family, even Daddy Cameron.  I think everyone had a whorl except Thing 2, who only had arches, if I remember correctly.

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The boys thought it was pretty cool to see what their fingerprints looked like.  I thought it was interesting to see how the boys’ fingerprints were so different, especially since they have the same parents.

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Have you ever done any fingerprint studies?

Clay Boats : Round 3

Every so often I like to repeat experiments that the boys and I have done in the past.  For one it is a great way to see if they learned anything from that experiment.  Secondly, I like to see how there thinking has changed as they have gotten older.  Lastly, Thing 3 all of them are to the age where they can participate.

This week we were suppose to have terrible storms, so I had planned to do a repeat of the clay boat activity we did back in 2011 and 2012.  The big difference this time around is that each boy created a boat on their own.  Ok, I may have helped Thing 3 a little bit, but Thing 1 and Thing 2 were all on their own.

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Here is each ones original creation.

Thing 1

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Thing 2

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Thing 3

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Mine

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The first thing we did was test to make sure everyone’s boat would float.  While Thing 1 and my boat floated, Thing 2 and Thing 3’s immediately sunk.  So I gave Thing 2 and Thing 3 some time to redesign their boats.

Round 2: Everyone’s boat floated, so we all begin adding pennies to our boats to see whose could hold the most weight.  We may have raised the stakes a little by saying that the losers make dinner.  😉

Thing 2’s redesign

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Thing 3’s redesign

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Thing 3 was the first boat to sink, but that may have been because he added some water to his boat too.

Next was Thing 2, but I think his boat had moved too far away from him, which caused him to sink it with his hand.

Thing 1 and I were close, until Thing 1’s boat sunk and I was the winner!

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The boys continued to build and rebuild boats for at least 45 more minutes.  It was a great time.  I am sure we will be repeating this experiment a few more times in the future.

 

Gumdrop & Toothpick Tower Challenge

A couple of years ago, we had invited some friends over to build things out of gumdrops and toothpicks and the boys loved it.  After looking at the weather this week I knew today was supposed to be rainy and cold.  I remembered this activity and thought it would be a perfect rainy, cold day activity, however, this time I challenged the boys to see who could build the tallest tower.

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Gumdrop & Toothpick Tower Challenge

Supplies:
Gumdrops
Toothpicks

Challenge:
To see who can build the tallest tower only using gumdrops and toothpicks.

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The boys accepted the challenge.  Thing 1 immediately set out constructing a tower made out of cubes.  When his tower was about 2 feet tall, he realized that he was going to need a bigger base to keep his tower from falling.

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Thing 2 started with a similar pattern as Thing 1, however he forgot to brace it in a few places, so it fell over.  This lead him to try something different using a diamond shape.  It was pretty cool to see him try something different.

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Thing 3, well Thing 3 just had a good time sticking toothpicks into gumdrops to create sea creatures.

It was a fun way to spend an afternoon.  Next I want to challenge them to build a bridge…

 

Solar Oven S’mores

My goal for the school year is to do some fun science activities with the boys, on top of Thing 1’s regular science curriculum.  We really like science around here!

Today we made Solar Oven S’mores.

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Solar Oven S’mores
(found directions {HERE})

Supplies:smores,collegetri 005
Pizza Box
Pencil
Ruler
craft knife
Aluminum Foil
Scissors
Glue stick
Black Construction Paper
Clear Packing Tape
Clear Plastic (I used 2 1-gallon zipper bags)
Graham Crackers
Marshmallows
Chocolate bars
Ruler, stick or dowel (used to hold box open)

 

 

Directions:
1. On the top of the pizza box, draw 3 sides of a square on the pizza box approximately 1 inch from the edge.  You do not want to draw a line on the edge of the box where the fold is.  Use a craft knife to cut out the three sides of  the square that you drew.

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2.  Glue aluminum foil to the bottom (what would be the inside of the box) of the flap. Make sure the shiny side of the foil is showing. Try to keep it as wrinkle free as possible.

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3. Glue aluminum foil to the bottom of the pizza box.

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4. Then tape a piece of black construction paper on top of the foil that is on the bottom of the pizza box.

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5.  Cut the zipper top off the top of two zipper bags.  Next cut down the sides of each bag so that you have two flat sheets of clear plastic.  Then, lay the bags flat and tape them together so that you have a larger sheet of clear plastic.

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6.  Take your large sheet of clear plastic and tape it to the underside of the lid to close the hole that was created by the flap.  You might have to trim the plastic.  You want to try and seal it as airtight as possible to trap in the most heat.

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7.  Take your solar oven outdoors and place it in direct sunlight with the flap opened toward the sun.  To make one s’more you will want to place a piece of chocolate on one graham cracker and a marshmallow on the other.

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8.  Close the lid to the box and then use a ruler to prop open the flap.

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9.  Depending on how hot it is you can have yummy s’mores within 30 minutes to an hour. Enjoy!

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Observations:
The first batch of s’mores we made we let sit in the 95 degree heat for 45 minutes.  The chocolate was really hot, Thing 2 accidentally touched it and said it hurt.  The marshmallows were gooey on the inside, which made them easy to assemble.

The second batch only sat out for about 15 minutes in the 95 degree heat.  As before, the chocolate way pretty hot, however the marshmallow was not nearly a gooey.

We came to the conclusion that we should put the marshmallows out first so that they had a long time to get gooey and then add the chocolate at the end since is so stinkin’ hot outside.

This experiment also lead to an interesting discussion on how black absorbs the light and converts it to heat, thus the reason for the black paper at the bottom.  We also talked about how it is important when you are going to be outside on such a hot day to try and wear light colors so that your clothing is not absorbing the light.

Also, when we went back to do the second batch of s’mores we noticed that we could see each graham cracker square from the first batch on the paper.  The black paper that wasn’t covered by the graham crackers had faded.  So this lead to a discussion about sunscreen and how it protects us from the sun.  We will probably do an experiment soon using different sunscreens.

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Over the next few days I am sure we will find a few other things to make it our solar oven.  What ideas do you have?

 

{Science} : Thermometer Fun

The boys hear me talking all the time about the temperature, especially this spring, since one day the high will be 89 and the next day it will be a high of 55.  Thus I thought it was time to show the boys what I was talking about, when I talked about temperature.  It also helped that this was part of Thing 1’s science curriculum this year.

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Thermometer Fun

Supplies:
Paper
Pencil
Thermometer

Directions:
1.  Fill a cup half full of water and add some ice.  Let this sit, while you go outside and place your thermometer in a shady spot on the ground.  Wait for 3 minutes and record the temperature.

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2.  Place your thermometer outside in the sun and wait three minutes. Then record temperature.

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3.  Place your thermometer inside your house on the floor.  Wait three minutes and then record the temperature.

4.  Now place the thermometer between your hands.  Wait three minutes and record the temperature.

5.  Lastly, place the thermometer in your cup of ice water.  Wait three minutes and record the temperature.

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Once we had all our temperature readings, we graphed them onto one big thermometer that I had drawn on our whiteboard.  (Too bad I didn’t get a picture, it looked pretty good!  The boys and I then talked about how changing locations and time of year would affect the temperature reading.  For example, what would the thermometer do during the winter, in the snow.

This conversation then lead to a discussion about why I suggest they play in the shade during the summer when it was 100 degrees outside.  Or how I know that they should probably wear coats, even though I haven’t been outside.  I think I gave away some of my mommy magic, but it was fun.

How have you explored using a thermometer?

 

 

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