Friday, 23 April 2010

Great Gifts Kids Can Make Themselves

Remember making popsicle (sorry, "craft stick") trivets in school? How about spray painted macaroni pencil holders?

If you're looking for kid-friendly gifts to make that are a little different than the usual, try the Lemonade gifts page for some inspiration.
The decoupage photo box was particularly well received by the grandparents.
Crayon painted candles and hand-made picture frames are also sure-fire hits.

For some green ways to wrap it all up, take a look at the gift wrap page as well.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Harry Potter / Wizarding Activities are Up on Lemonade

The first phase of my wizarding activities updates can now be found here:
Along with the older activities, I've added quite a few new ones. I'm still playing around with the sorting of ideas, and will be adding more pictures as I go.

Harry Potter chocolate frog in box

The updates include instructions on the Honeydukes candy, extra recipes for butterbeer and pumpkin juice, a recipe for firewhiskey, and instructions for making waxen hands of glory (along with pics).

Honeydukes party assortment of Harry Potter candy

All the original games and activities are still there as well. I will be adding more games and educational activities over the next few weeks as I separate out the "party" and "educational" activities into their own pages.

Now to find that Puffskein knitting pattern...I don't think I made that one up and I would like to find the original source. Anyone happen to know it offhand? It's a great first-time knitter's project.

fire-breathing dragon cake that uses dry ice in a chamber to breathe smoke
pentagonal chocolate frog boxAlso on the page you can find links to crafts including shrunken house elf heads (apple doll heads),links to many recipes not found elsewhere on the internet, and a template for a chocolate frog box. There is lots more there too, including ideas for Hogwarts classes.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Rocket Science

Rocketry is a great way to explore Newton's laws of motion. It can be linked in with Canada Day fireworks, Chinese New Year, inventions, flight, and any space launches/missions of interest. You can spend a lot of time learning about various engines, fin designs, history of rocketry, escape velocity, etc. but the most popular part of exploring rockets is (of course) launching.

My son is interested in rocketry. We have found that there are lots of possibilities in terms of level of sophistication as far as model rocketry goes.

There are the simpler ones--stomp rockets, baking soda/vinegar rockets, and alka seltzer rockets. You can buy commercial kits for these, or make your own (much cheaper, more fun and easy to do).
When you have gain a little experience, you can work your way into dry ice, air rockets, water rockets and rockets that use explosive engines, such as Estes. The Estes rockets can be bought ready made, as kits you put together (with varying levels of building available), or you can make your own engine-ready paper model.

There are plans and links for all of these on the Lemonade Science Index page.

From experience comes knowledge. Here are some tips that may help you with your rocket launch:
- start small and work gradually to larger projects as you gain experience--even the smallest and "tamest" of rockets provide great entertainment
- check the wind, not only at ground level, but at altitude as well; wind can mess up launches by sending your rocket off course, sometimes to never be recovered again; it is also a safety hazard
- if it is windy, try some kite flying instead, and remember that there is usually less wind at dawn and dusk
- always launch in a safe open area, well away from people, pets, wildlife, airports, hydro wires, and any other hazards
- read and ensure you understand all instructions and safety precautions before you attempt a launch
- be sure to bring along extra batteries, alka seltzer tablets, water, baking soda/vinegar, etc. as appropriate to your rocket
- also bring along a camera and friends
- remember that any rocket, regardless of fuel system and complexity, brings with it the potential for serious injury if not used properly--prepare accordingly and always have a responsible adult supervising launches
- be sure to experiment-- try comparing baking soda/vinegar to alka seltzer to dry ice for fuels to see which gives the most thrust; try different fin designs, compare air rockets with water rockets, etc.
- for Estes rockets: try using different engines on your rocket to see how it changes the flight; make your own altimeter to measure the height (great way to explore Pythagoras and trigonometry too!), try adding payloads to your rocket, etc.
- carry an emergency repair kit with you to your launch

And most of all, have fun!