DIY Clouds

Cloud in a Room, by Berndnaut Smilde image from http://alfalfastudio.com/a-cloud-inside-your-room-by-berndnaut-smilde/
Cloud in a Room, by artist Berndnaut Smilde. Image from http://alfalfastudio.com/a-cloud-inside-your-room-by-berndnaut-smilde/.

posted by Beret

Ages: 4 and up

For me, clouds recall lazy summer afternoons spent splayed in the cool grass, searching for sky sheep. Since I have moved to the FOG ZONE, however, summers are mostly frigid and gray. On rare clear days, the blue above is nearly always spotless. Sunsets are quick and unremarkable.

Imagine my excitement to discover that I could make my own clouds!

This experiment is fast and easy, but the science and dialogue can go as deep as you wish.   Continue reading “DIY Clouds”

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Get Outside!

The grip of winter has left New York.

Mostly. It was kind of chilly yesterday.

BUT! The flowers are blooming, the cats are sneezing, and I can leave the apartment without 20 layers of clothing. Bliss!

Which gets me thinking about spring time, and the start of summer, and how those of us living in the cities can get that desperate craving to reconnect with something green. As I was scouting about these internets, continuing to put off the massive, massive research paper I have due next week, I found this nifty website. And you should scope them out.

To get you started, here’s a page I particularly liked, especially in light of needing to commune with trees again. Have you ever hugged a tree? For real? I did it in a college science class, and I will tell you, it was actually kind of amazing. Go hug one. And then adopt it. Then do some of this other stuff.

Happy Spring!

ENVIRO KIDS Games & Activities

Kids living in urban centers, or even suburbs, are often disconnected from the nature. Here are some activities you can do with kids with nature and our environment:

Outdoor activities for kids and parents

Adopt a Tree

While taking a walk or hiking, have your child to pick out a favorite tree in a  park or forest and “adopt” it. Essentially, your child will take on the role of being   the tree’s caretaker. Do bark rubbings with crayons and paper; leaf collection and pressing in the fall; and look for flowers and fruit in the summer. Each year, take pictures of your child standing beside the tree. You can even bring   along measuring tape to track the tree’s growth. Kids can also research the tree on the internet: where the tree is commonly found, usual life span, height, etc.

Clean Up the Earth

A good way to teach our children about taking care of our…

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Smart Phone Macro Lens

posted by Gina

Who knew there were so many ways to hack your smartphone? If you missed Beret’s Smartphone Projector, you’ll want to go straight to that post and catch up.

Are you back? Great. So, you know what’s neat? Super close up stuff. Like this photo of a coffee bean:

IMG_4232

Continue reading “Smart Phone Macro Lens”

Penny Batteries Part II: A Wee Success

Wait! Is the bulb lighting? I can't tell!
Is the bulb lighting? Hard to tell. This shows a four-cell battery using pennies and zinc washers.

posted by Beret

Remember my penny battery debacle?

I decided to hunker back down in my laboratory (aka, basement) to see if I could get the darn thing to finally work. I approached the project with a new tool:  very, very low expectations. I am beginning to think that may be the secret to success in a variety of situations.      Continue reading “Penny Batteries Part II: A Wee Success”

Stupid Penny Batteries Part I: FAIL

©2014 Beret Olsen
©2014 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Ages:  Persons of most any age can do this project as unsuccessfully as I did.

I had such a good time making lemon batteries last year that I got VERY EXCITED when I discovered another way to make batteries out of ordinary, every day objects. Lemon batteries were awesome. Lemon batteries were easy. So why not try penny batteries? I’ll tell you.    Continue reading “Stupid Penny Batteries Part I: FAIL”

Pocket Flashlights!

©2014  Beret Olsen
©2014 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Weather systems appear to have gone haywire.

I won’t mention that it’s been unseasonably warm and sunny here, because people suffering in winter wonderland get a little huffy about that. They’ll have the last laugh when I sink into the ocean, though.

Whatever the weather, it never hurts to be prepared. Below are instructions for making an unbelievably simple flashlight that can live in your wallet/backpack/glove compartment/bedside table. You will be ready for any power outage, midnight snack emergency, or for when you drop a $20 bill in a dark movie theater. NEVER use this to illuminate the bottom of your theater seat, however. Nothing can prepare you for what lurks there.    Continue reading “Pocket Flashlights!”

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!”