Monday, December 6, 2010

Family Science Projects

For family get-togethers, I’ve become the maven of low-cost entertainment.  This year, the big hit at Thanksgiving was the plastic spoon catapult.

All you need are some wood scraps (easily available from my neighborhood carpenter’s trashcan) push pins, rubber bands, and plastic spoons, plus marshmalllows for catapulting and a waste basket to serve as the target.

This year my grand children and their cousins all wanted to play.  That’s two 7-year-old girls and two 5-year-old boys.  I had brought a long list of activity ideas, most of which involved origami or beginning juggling lessons, and of course a short magic show.  The catapult kept them busy. I don’t think I needed to bring anything else.

But when I offered origami storytelling which involved making hats and boats, I did get an audience. I hadn’t brought waxed paper, so the boats weren’t seaworthy, but they were enough to impress the children.  

I’m not sure what the friendly term is for other grandmother.  If her son is my son-in-law, is she my cousin-in-law?  Anyway, she helped with the magic show and remembered to embellish the ending of my Rapunzel, the 2nd story with “And she lived happily ever after.”  She also helped make paper helicopters that really fly.

And I got them started on geometry by taping two plastic mirrors together on one side so they hinge like book.  I gave the children paper protractors so they could measure the angles and encouraged them to see how many reflections of a marshmallow they could make by placing the mirrors at different angles. The highest count I heard was seven.

Bottom line, the kids like science and I don’t think they can tell the difference between science and magic. That’s fun.

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