April 13, 2007

Masterpiece Bookmarks

If you are like me, you want to keep every piece of artwork that your child has ever created. But that would take a warehouse to keep it all. So, I found a great way to preserve at least part of the great masterpieces my child makes.

Bookmarks! Not willing to part with everything, you can cut up pieces of the artwork in the shape of bookmarks and preserve it with contact paper or get it laminated.

Here's what you'll need:
- clear, self-adhesive contact paper
- old artwork
- scissors
- ruler
- pencil

Here's what you'll do:
- Measure and mark the back of the artwork into bookmark sizes (a good size is 1.5 by 5 inches long.)
- Cut out the bookmarks.
- Cut out 2 rectangles of the contact paper thaqt are 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer and wider than your bookmarks.
- Remove the backing from one of the pieces of contact paper and center the bookmark on the sticky side.
- Remove the backing from the other piece of contact paper and very carefully line up with the bottom piece of the contact paper and lay over the artwork. This makes a clear sandwich of the artwork and protects and strengthens it.
- Use a pencil or ruler to rub out any air bubbles.
- If the sides are uneven, simply trim them a little.

Voilá! Not only do you have a useful bookmark but it holds memories of you child's artwork for a long, long time.

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April 12, 2007

Paper University

For a variety of ideas on what you can do with paper, learn about paper and how it's made, visit this great website that the Tappi organization has made available to kids, parents and teachers.

Here's what you'll find:

- interesting facts about paper, recycling and the environment
- science activities using paper
- interactive games about paper
- links and resources about paper for students and teachers
- arts and crafts projects using (that's right!) paper!

Check it out at Paper University - a really fun website and very informative.

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April 11, 2007

Cool Paper Airplane Facts

I bet you didn't know there were so many things that people have done with paper airplanes in the past. Here's just a few of them...

The Smallest Paper Airplane
The smallest origami paper model of a Crane Bird was folded under a microscope using tweezers by Mr. Naito from Japan and was made from a piece of paper 2.9 mm square. It is displayed on top of a sewing needle. Wow! That’s small – only problem is, it didn’t fly!

Upside Down Paper Airplane Flying
Any kind of paper aircraft that is trimmed to fly on earth will, when thrown inside a spacecraft, fly up and not down, as would normally be expected. This is because there is no gravity in the spacecraft, but there is lift created by the wings, as they fly in the atmosphere inside the spacecraft.

Fly on Forever
In space where there is no atmosphere, if a paper aircraft were thrown it would not fly at all; it would float away in a straight line. With no gravity to pull it down, it would possibly fly on forever until it hit an object.

Most Expensive – One of NASA’s
One of the most expensive and lightest paper aircraft ever flown, was the paper aircraft thrown inside one of NASA’s space shuttles, during a routine space flight. The fuel alone used to carry it into space makes that paper aircraft one of the most expensive. It was the lightest because of the lack of gravity in space.

To read more interesting paper airplane facts, click here.

Thanks to Andy Chipling for these cool paper airplane facts.

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April 10, 2007

Paper Bead Necklace

Here's a great project that you can do with old scraps of colorful paper. Making these beads comes from Victorian times. The ladies back then would get together and sip tea and cut out triangles from old scraps of wallpaper and make beautiful colorful beads. They would string them and use the strings of paper beads in doorways to separate rooms.

You can make the same beads and use them to make necklaces, bracelets or garlands. Here's how you do it.

What you'll need:

- scraps of magazine pictures, wallpaper or colored paper
- ruler
- scissors
- pencil
- glue
- drinking straws
- heavy thread or yarn

Read these instructions first before you begin:

  1. With scissors, cut long triangles from the scraps of paper that you've collected. Make them about 1/2 inch wide and 2 1/2 inches long. It's easier if you draw out a template first.

  2. Cover one side of your triangle with glue making sure you put it on the side that's less colorful. You want the colorful side to be on the outside.

  3. Place the glued side of the bottom of the triangle on a straw and roll it up (see the illustrations below.)

  4. Once the triangle is completely rolled around your straw, cut the straw on both sides of the newly formed paper bead.

  5. You can make different shapes and sizes of beads. Simply make your triangles smaller or larger. Look at the different shapes you can use too (see below.)

  6. Let all your beautiful beads dry and then string them together with yarn or thread, knotting the thread together.
You won't believe how gorgeous these beads turn out and it's fun to make them too.

This project was adapted from Papercrafts Around the World, by Phyllis and Noel Fiarotta (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York)

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April 3, 2007

Easter Egg Games

With Easter just around the corner, here are a couple of games you can play with kids to enhance the classic Easter Egg Hunt.

Egg Rolling:

To have an egg roll, you'll need a hill or barring that, an incline of some kind. Egg Rolling is really another name for Egg Race. The eggs are rolled down the hill using only your hands when the egg occasionally gets caught on some obstacle. The first person with their egg to reach the bottom of the hill is the winner.

Steep hills make for hilarious races, but then remember, you have to climb back up! Great exercise for you and the kids!

Egg Bowling:
Color some hard-boiled eggs, but leave just one of them white and uncolored. Now it looks like an odd shaped Bacci Ball. Go outside to a flat grassy area, and put the white "Bacci Ball" in the center of the area. Next, have your players roll their eggs toward the white one. The person who gets their egg closest to the white egg without touching it or moving it is the winner.

Treats for winners can be small bags of jelly beans, chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, etc...

Have a Happy Easter!

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April 2, 2007

Fun and Funny Kids' Concoctions

Watch your kids' eyes get wide with delight and surprise as they watch what happens when they add certain ingredients together (with your supervision, of course!) Here are a couple of little projects to get started:

Invisible Messages

What you'll need:

- light colored construction paper or office paper

- crayons; same color as chosen paper
- watercolor paints
- sponge or paintbrush
- water

What to do:
Have your child draw a picture or write a message with the crayon that's the same color as the paper (example: green crayon on same or similar green-colored paper.) Once the drawing or message is completed, simply have your child brush a different color of watercolor paint over the paper to reveal the "secret" message or picture.

Magic Wishing Potion

What you'll need:
- tall glass (like a pilsner if you have one)
- bowl
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- food coloring
- white vinegar

What to do:
Put the glass inside the bowl. This will keep the spills going all over your table. Then, put the baking soda and few drops of food coloring into the glass. Have your child close his eyes, make a silent wish and then have him slowly add the vinegar. Watch as the liquid starts to bubble up and spill over like a magic wishing well.

For more great ideas for fun and funny concoctions, visit the DIY Network website.

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April 1, 2007

The ABCs of My MOM Book

Here's a great activity for a classroom project or for some kind of organized group like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. Have your group make a book all about MOM. You can also do this for Dads, too. It can be made for a gift for birthdays, Mother's/Father's Day, Christmas, or just because you love your Mom or Dad!

What you'll need:
- a blank notebook
- crayons, markers and/or colored pencils
- scissors
- magazine clippings, newspaper clipping or photos
- glue

What to do:
Decorate the outside of the blank notebook with cut out letters of the alphabet. The letters can be drawn, painted, or cut from pictures or magazines. Make sure you put the title on the cover too. It can be something like, "The ABCs Book of Mom," or "All About My Mom - From A-Z," etc...

Next, pick one attribute about your Mom starting with a letter in the alphabet. For example on the "C" page, the attribute or quality could be "Cook" and then put in pictures that show cooking or photos of your mom cooking,while writing a short sentence like, "My Mom is the BEST cook!"

Make the book with as much as the alphabet that you can and wrap up to give to her for a present.

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