Monday, September 24, 2018
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Have You Ever Made Your Own Slingshot? I recently visited the neighborhood where my father grew up. Wooden slingshot with rubber made in Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) On an earlier trip I’d seen the street that was closed off for sledding and the one closed off for ice-skating where my father and his cousins went sledding. I would like to imagine many weekends in Schenectady, New York when children were allowed to skate and sled on closed streets. But, what did they do in the summer? Robert Paul Smith, author of How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, grew up in the 1920s, as... (Read More ...)

What Can You Do with Bubble Wrap? Did you play hopscotch at recess? Hopscotch courts used to be drawn in chalk on elementary school playgrounds. Court Design: Bubble Wrap (Photo credit: Wikipedia) There are 10 contiguous squares, each more than big enough to hop into on one foot. The squares typically alternate in a vertical row, with one, then two squares side-by-side, then one, numbered from 1 to 10. Alternate designs include all ten squares in a row, a turn-around semi-circle instead of a tenth square and a pattern of squares that is three singles, followed by a double, a single, a double and... (Read More ...)

How Do You Make a Catapult with a Wishbone? You can make a toy catapult from a wishbone, matchstick, rubber band and stick of gum. Materials: Chicken wishbone Rubber band Matchstick (might also work with a toothpick) Gum (might also work with Play-Dough, clay or silly putty) Instructions: Chew gum Turn wishbone so that curved part is up and wide part of connected end is down Stick gum under wide part of bone at the connected end Loop rubber band across the two unconnected ends of the wishbone Thread matchstick between the strands of the rubber band Wind rubberband up by turning matchstick Stick... (Read More ...)

Can You Make a Parachute with a Handkerchief? You can make your own toy parachute from a handkerchief, a piece of string and a rock. Linen handkerchief decorated with three rows of hemstitching. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My grandmother gave me beautiful, lace, embroidered handkerchiefs that I would never use for such an activity. They remain in a drawer, unused in 40 years. They are a reminder of her and a different time, when ladies carried lace handkerchiefs. I used one of my father-in-law’s handkerchiefs. He passed away in 2009. I don’t think he will mind. His birthday would have been June... (Read More ...)

How Do You Make a Helicopter from Paper? You can make something that spins when you drop it as though it were a helicopter, with its turning blades. (Photo credit: Wikipedia Materials: A piece of rectangular paper, like notebook paper Staples or paperclips Scissors. Instructions: Fold up the bottom third of the paper; crease; unfold Fold down the top half of the paper; crease; unfold Cut a notch on each side of the paper, cutting a wedge along the fold of the bottom third, with an angle above the fold one-third of the way into the... (Read More ...)

Paper Cup Flour. Tower. How Do You Make a Game with Two Pennies and a Cup of Flour Once again, a big thank you to the 4-H club of Prince William County, Virginia, who demonstrated this game at this summer’s 2011 County Fair. Supplies: 2 pennies (any coin will do) 1 cup of flour 2 spoons 2 small paper cups Cookie sheet, table top or counter Instructions: 1. Fill a small paper cup with flour. The kind of cups the dentist uses, or kid’s yoghurt containers both work well. Pat the flour down gently in the cup. 2. Turn the paper cup over gently onto the cookie sheet. You can also put a small... (Read More ...)

Old Maid Card Game Old Maid. Games for Life. My granddaughter and I discovered that you really need more than two people to play Old Maid, despite what the rules say. Or else, near the end, you’ll be able to figure out who has the Old Maid card and it stops being fun. If you are stuck with the Old Maid card, you lose. Crazy Eight, Gin Rummy, Concentration, even Canasta and some variations of Solitaire can all be played successfully with two. Lessons in Cards But, finding out about the long-forgotten rules of Old Maid was a reminder that playing cards with grandchildren is a relaxing, cross-generational... (Read More ...)

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert Muriel Fahrion, an illustrator for American Greetings, a greeting card company, designed the Strawberry Shortcake character in 1977. It became popular in the early 1980s, leading Fahrion to invent the Strawberry Shortcake doll. Sticker albums, clothing, a video game and television specials followed closely behind. If my granddaughter is any example, Strawberry Shortcake’s appeal has not faded. On a recent visit, she brought a copy of the Strawberry Shortcake book, The Sweet Treats Carnival. In this book, half a dozen of the Strawberry Shortcake characters put on... (Read More ...)

Playing Cards My grandfather used to drive from his home in Wisconsin, and, eventually, Florida, to see us every year, on his annual odyssey to visit his three children. One set of cousins was in Illinois. My other cousins were in New Mexico, then California. We were, variously, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Texas. I remember my Grandma Vera’s admonition to me that I could eat jellybeans, even if they had fallen on the ground – what we call today the “5-second rule.” But, about my grandfather, I remember that he taught us to play cards. Gin rummy. Crazy 8s. Canasta, Solitaire My parents... (Read More ...)

Ricky Nelson If you enjoy listening to the music of the 50s, 60s and 70s, there is an online radio station that plays these songs 24/7, for free. You can listen to music now by clicking here to go to Golden Hits Radio. Two retired disk jockeys (DJs), Bob Burton and Kurt Kilpatrick, better known as Burt and Kurt, have opened an online radio show. The show features music only, no commercials, for those who like to listen to music in the background when you are at your computer. Of course, you can buy and download your favorite songs. You can even sign up to broadcast their hits from your own web... (Read More ...)