Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: Part I

posted by Beret.

koolaid

I never really cared for the taste of Kool-Aid, but oh, how I have always loved the smell of it. That aroma smacks of childhood, warm days, and cheerfully destructive running pitchers:

From www.galleryhip.com
From http://www.galleryhip.com

I don’t really want my kids drinking Kool-Aid, either; luckily, there are plenty of other things to do with it. For the first installment of this two-part series, I hereby present the following projects: scented play dough, hair dye, tie-dye, and slime. Continue reading “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: Part I”

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Color Explosions

posted by Gina

Welcome back, everyone!

I bring to you one of those experiments that can be a brief moment-of-awesome or a longer predict-and-experiment-and-try-again hootennany. The amazing MILK COLOR EXPLOSION.

Continue reading “Color Explosions”

Too Cool for School (Supplies)

From Kojo-designs.com.
From Kojo-designs.com.

posted by Beret

Wait. What? It’s September?

My nine-year-old spent the last couple of days of summer vacation in bed, eyeballs glued to Youtube. I was pretty busy having an aneurysm about how to drop off and pick up my kids on opposite sides of town–simultaneously–so I had no clue what was going on up there. But while I tried unsuccessfully to tame my logistical beasts, she taught herself how to do absolutely everything else.

When she wandered downstairs to ask, “Can I make lip gloss out of Vaseline and crayons?” I just stared. “I don’t know if that will work,” I finally said, and she rolled her eyes. “Of course it works,” she responded. “Also, it’s completely non-toxic.” During the ensuing silence, I realized she meant “may I?” not “can I?” which made me feel a bit better. Perhaps she hasn’t completely eclipsed my knowledge base yet.

In all honesty, I had noticed it was September, but being aware and being prepared are not the same thing at all. So when the 11-year-old started complaining about her boring, clunky binders, it was Miss 9 who had all the answers, not me. “Just paint an ombre in a chevron pattern,” she said. “All you need is some acrylic paint and some tape.”

Voilà:

Miss 11's binder project. Whether this is really an ombre effect, or more of a gradient, is up for debate among word fiends.
Miss 11’s binder project. Whether this is really an ombre effect, or more of a gradient, is currently up for debate.

Miss 9 discovered the binder project during her Youtube binge. You can find directions for it about 3 minutes into this video. It was fun, easy, and made all the difference in the cruel world of middle school. We started rooting around, looking for other, cool school-related projects.

What follows are a few of the awesome things we discovered.

Metallic magnets for your locker:

From: http://kojo-designs.com/2013/11/diy-metallic-alphabet-magnets/
Soooo cool and so very simple. From kojo-designs.com.

Book covers with special bonus from the indefatiguable Martha Stewart:

Thanks, Martha!
Thanks, Martha! A way to keep the assignment notebook handy.
She's unstoppable!
Book jacket with pockets. Same link as above.
Got comics? or old calendars? or outdated maps? Slap some clear contact paper on that and go! Awesome.
Got comics? Old calendars? Or outdated maps? Slap some clear contact paper on that and go! Awesome.

Washi tape-covered pencils. Now that Target and Amazon and Walgreen’s are all peddling washi tape…might be time to try it!

Image and idea found on mashable.com. Directions here.
Image and idea found on mashable.com. No-brainer directions here.

Adorable bag for miscellaneous supplies:

Awesome lined bag tutorial from The Creative Place. Please note: I'd advise you to just buy satin cord to serve as the drawstring, unless you like impossible challenges. The rest is easy.
Awesome lined bag tutorial from The Creative Place. Please note: do yourself a favor and just buy satin cord to serve as the drawstring, unless you like impossible challenges. The rest is easy.

Also, I saw directions to make monster bookmarks that were waaaaaay too complicated. Here’s the super simple way I posted a while back:

The easy way.
The easy way.

They did it the hard way, though I love their accessorizing ideas:

From Tally's Treasury.
From Tally’s Treasury–obvi!

Oh and p.s. If you want to make the crayon lip gloss, click here for directions.

Feel free to post links to other interesting ideas in the comments!

Three Car Games for Carsick Kids

posted by Gina

As a kid, my family drove to Tahoe every summer. That’s a long drive from Southern California, and we stopped roughly three times each way for me to throw up. Oh, the magic that is carsickness. Family car trips were rough on me, since everything that might entertain me – books, crayons, notebooks – was out of the question.  Especially in the backseat.

My friend Aliza and I just drove from North Carolina to New York, closing out a delightful mountain vacation. The drive is both lovely and long, and since we both have the carsick issue, there was very little reading, facebooking, texting, or any kind of looking anywhere but straight ahead.

So, for those of you with kids that suffer similarly, I present to you: The Car Games Aliza and I Played While Driving to New York That Were Actually Kind of Fun.

photo
Gina and Aliza leave North Carolina, counting cows.

Continue reading “Three Car Games for Carsick Kids”

Soap Clouds

posted by Gina

Were you cloud-inspired by Beret’s DIY Clouds? Have you been wishing there were more sort-of-cloud-related activities to do with your kiddos? Have you ever wondered what happens when you put Ivory Soap in a microwave? I am here to help.

IMG_5347
This. This is what happens.

Continue reading “Soap Clouds”

Cryptology for kids

spy vs spy from www.strangehistory.net/
Mad Magazine’s spy vs spy from http://www.strangehistory.net/

posted by Beret

Ages:  Any, although kids 8-11 get particularly fired up about secret codes. That’s typically the age when kids decide that a little privacy would be great–especially if younger siblings are involved.

Many aspects of being a spy are, in reality, probably unappealing:  lying, hiding, sneaking–all while your life is in constant jeopardy–plus a boatload of observation, sales, and psychological manipulation, according to former C.I.A. operative Lindsay Moran. Still, the idea of secret messages never gets old, and I’m excited to show you a few simple codes to get kids started. Continue reading “Cryptology for kids”

Smartphone projector!

Check out the crappity lens we used. It still worked!
©2013 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Age range:  This project is appropriate for anyone who can safely wield a box cutter, and hold a smartphone without doing irreparable damage. At our house, that means 8 and up.

I’ve heard about the smartphone projector project, and I wanted to see if it could be as simple as it looked.

Good news:  it’s pretty darn simple. I even made it work without the help of my resident engineer.  Continue reading “Smartphone projector!”